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Innovative and efficient solution, based on modular, versatile, smart process units for energy and resource flexibility in highly energy intensive processes

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CIRMET (Innovative and efficient solution, based on modular, versatile, smart process units for energy and resource flexibility in highly energy intensive processes)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-09-30

CIRMET project addresses one of the main problems that is facing nowadays the process industry. This industry, in which different industrial sectors can be included (chemical, engineering, minerals and ore, non-ferrous metals, steel and water) contributes over half of European industrial production and is responsible of huge amounts of electricity consumption, GHG emissions and waste generation.
An increase of the energy and resource efficiency of these processes are then critical for the competitiveness of this industry, but also for the environmental sustainability. This is why technologies to improve the waste management, increase the heat recovery and reuse and reduce emissions are being developed in the project.
The main objective of the project is to design, develop and validate the CIRMET solution, an innovative solution to provide energy and resource efficiency and flexibility to Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs).
The work carried out during the first 3 years of the project (M1-M36) has been focused in the definition of the specifications for the 3 demonstrators that compose the CIRMET solution, their design and manufacturing in order to be able to validate the complete solution at operational environment. For the EFFIMELT system (metallurgical furnace for industrial metallic waste valorisation), the main furnace has been designed and it is being assembled, and the main auxiliary equipment (including the briquetting machine) is already working. The optimum biochar to substitute conventional coke as reducing agent in the metallurgical valorisation process has been selected. An optimized system of refractory lining with a higher durability and refractoriness has also been developed for the furnace to increase the efficiency of the valorisation process. For the RECUWASTE demonstrator (heat recovery unit), all the components are already designed, and most of them are already manufactured and have been validated in stand-alone testing (CVT, ORC and Energy Storage Systems). And for the third demonstrator (AAF4.0 digital platform), all the tools that integrate this platform (physical modules, virtual modules and data fusion layer) have been developed.
An updated communication and dissemination plan is available as a public deliverable. Different communication channels are active since the beginning of the project and periodically updated: the project website (https://www.spire2030.eu/cirmet) and social media. Communication materials (brochure and poster) have been released and a promotional video is close to be launched. An online course divided in six modules has been developed and one of the modules has been already tested with a reduced number of students.
The consortium defined a list of exploitable results as well as a pre-exploitation plan in month 18. Over the following months to month 36, the list has been updated and some results have been incorporated to it. Besides, a technology watch system to monitor news, publications and patents related to the KERs of the projects has been implemented and two versions have been released.
The complete CIRMET solution represents an innovative and flexible solution that can be implemented in different industrial sectors with high consumption of resources, raw materials and energy. It is capable of revalorizing industrial metallic wastes and recovering and transforming waste heat in an efficient way using monitoring, control and data analytic tools to improve process plant competitiveness.
The main market drivers that positively affect the commercial exploitation of the EFFIMELT furnace are the lack of supply and speculative raw material prices of the current economic situation and the technical and economic feasibility to treat low volumes of wastes where big installations are not required.
For the RECUWASTE system, no products for the generation of compressed air from exhaust gases have been found. The solutions found (within CIRMET’s power range) are focused on the recovery of heat for electric energy generation. The competitive advantage of CIRMET’s solution is the direct production of compressed air, avoiding the previous generation of electric energy and, thus, avoiding the investment cost and the losses associated with two machines. This leads to an increase of the system efficiency.
The gradual increase in the cost of energy and the energy efficiency directives promoted from the EU are market drivers that positively affect the commercialization of the RECUWASTE system. However, the technology has to deal with some technological risks that are being researched in the project, such as the fouling in the heat exchanging components.
Concerning the AAF4.0 platform, many similar products or competing developments exist. However, these developments tend to provide particular or too general solutions with expert knowledge requirements in Artificial Intelligence. The main competitive advantage of this solution is that it has a general and flexible vision in which data-based optimization is carried out in a friendly way. In addition, it gives agnostic flexibility and is suitable for any process.
The individual demonstrators and the global CIRMET solution will be validated at TRL7 at the end of the project and their industrialization will have a direct impact in the sustainability of different industrial processes. According to some first estimations that will be checked during the validation trials, thank to the implementation of the CIRMET solution in a specific process unit the following impacts could be: 25% of reduction in CO2 emissions, 15% of reduction in landfilled waste, 15% of increase in energy efficiency and 10% of reduction in process cost.
Moreover, the knowledge generated will reach students, policy makers and industry experts through the development of an education plan based in online modules.
CIRMET brochure_pg1
CIRMET infographic
CIRMET infographic
CIRMET Exploitable results
CIRMET LCA results
CIRMET poster
CIRMET brochure_pg2