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Development of an Efficient Microwave System for Material Transformation in  energy INtensive processes for an improved Yield

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DESTINY (Development of an Efficient Microwave System for Material Transformation in  energy INtensive processes for an improved Yield)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-09-30

The DESTINY project aims to create a functional, green and energy saving, scalable and replicable solution, applying microwave energy for continuous processing in energy intensive industries. The target is to develop and demonstrate a new concept of firing granular feedstock for materials transformation using full microwave heating as alternative and complement to the existing conventional production.

The DESTINY system is conceived as cellular kilns system in mobile modular plant, with significant advantages in terms of resource and energy efficiency, flexibility, replicability and scalability with reduced environmental footprint.

The DESTINY concept will be proved in two demo sites located in Spain and Germany, covering high energy demanding sectors of strategic interest as Ceramic (Pigments), Cement (Calcined clay) and Steel (Sinter, Iron Pellets/ DRI, ZnO), to validate the critical parameters of the developed technology in relevant environment (TRL 6).. It will be implemented 2 feeding modules per demo site and 1 mobile microwave kiln module and product treatment.
It will introduce a new low carbon product as supplementary cementitious materials (microwave calcined clays) potential new tool for pigment formulations and new process for steel product recycling (Iron and Zn recycling)

Influence of the DESTINY solutions in terms of stability, process efficiency and quality of raw materials, intermediate/sub/final products will be investigated to improve performance of the industrial processes addressed and guarantee the required quality of products. Numerical simulation tools will be used to drive the design and support the testing activities.

The industrialization and sustainability of DESTINY high temperature microwave technology will be assessed through the evaluation of relevant KPIs, set using Life Cycle Methodologies. With the final aim of ensuring a large exploitation and market penetration for DESTINY, technology-based solutions business model, economic viability and replicability analysis will be conducted. For guaranteeing industrial transferability appropriate exploitation and dissemination activities have been defined during and even after the end of the project.
The DESTINY project, started in October 2018, and is fully completed its actions of the covered period. During the first 18 months of activities, very relevant advances on DESTINY project were made. The main developments that have been addressed focuses on three aspects: the new microwave-based technology, the selected products and raw materials, as well as the new processing of DESTINY.

The requirements of production were collected and summarized to the new DESTINY processing based on microwave technology. The wide campaign of analysis of dielectric properties, as well as the compositional characterization of the raw materials and products, allowed identify the main indicators of processing demand for the microwave treatment.

Progress has covered the detailed analysis of the reactions in all the feedstock, products and constructive materials under microwave conditions (dielectric properties, thermal analysis and compositional) that has been used in simulation tools for design of the process and microwave heating conditions. It has continuous with the design, development, construction and configuration of a microwave applicator, as well as the adaption in the conveying system to the feedstock, has been reached the target temperature for all the materials selected. The main parameters to be monitored and the control tools were also defined.

During the second 18-month period of the project, the preliminary work was translated into advances in the design and pre-commissioning of the microwave demonstrator. Extensive simulations and real product tests have been carried out, with the results continuously integrated into adjustments and refinements of the applicators and feeding systems. KPIs have been preliminarily selected and will be refined when data from the pilot plant is available. Materials, processes, and the raw materials to be transformed in the microwave kiln have been tested, selected, and adapted when necessary. Trial campaigns have been made in person, when possible, and using electronic means of collaboration between the partners. Data has been fed to improve simulations and virtual tools. Results at the laboratory level are very encouraging, and the project is almost ready to deploy the pilot plant at the industrial site, hindered though this has been by delays brought about not only by the pandemic, but also by the current logistics difficulties. Exploitation and dissemination activities have continued during the period, affected as they were by the on and off travel and meetings restrictions.
DESTINY aspires to introduce the “first-of-a-kind” high-temperature microwave processing system at industrial level, offering a variety of vital benefits to energy intensive sectors: reduced energy consumption, lower lifetime operating costs and enhanced sustainability profile. Furthermore, new products with improved qualities will be introduced. Substantial contributions are foreseen towards meeting critical contemporary global-scale challenges: (a) the EU Greenhouse Gas emission targets of the Paris Agreement (>40% reduction by 2030); (b) the EU vision on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and (c) one of the major topics of the Industry 4.0 initiative (Consistency of Engineering over the whole Lifecycle). Such an ambitious endeavour cannot be accomplished if not exceeding not only the State-of-the-Art, but also the State-of-the-Practice, in terms of securing the promising results already at hand and integrating them into industrial-scale systems.

Microwave heating is a well-established heating technology for many industrial sectors with low-temperature processes (i.e. drying) and low power demand. However, high-temperature microwave heating has not been implemented as full-scale industrial process technology for industrial application due to a number of drawbacks: limited knowledge about MW-material interaction at high temperatures on continuous process, process thermal runaways, changes in the material's behaviour that have to be managed, continuous process limitations.

The DESTINY project is fully in line with the expected impacts of the SPIRE-02-2018 call and is addressing clear and urgent needs towards:
• improving efficiency and competitiveness through a collaborative approach,
• establishing economically feasible environmental and social improvements, and
• developing synergies between innovative technologies and business models, in order to position the European industry ahead in the race for competitiveness and sustainability

These key objectives are the basis on which the DESTINY project builds to move firmly forward. Its novel, disruptive technology will increase energy efficiency in several industries (cement, ceramic, steel) and provide an opportunity to reduce the European external dependency on energy resources. The particular objectives of DESTINY’s project are:
• Allowing for a -30% to +30% energy input within RES fluctuations timeframes, without significant losses in specific energy efficiency,
• Improving energy efficiency by 30%,
• Improving resource efficiency by 30%,
• Decreasing CO2 emissions by 40%,
• Decreasing OPEX and CAPEX by 15%,
• Effective dissemination of major innovation outcomes.
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