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VULKANO Report Summary

Project ID: 723803
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VULKANO (Novel integrated refurbishment solution as a key path towards creating eco-efficient and competitive furnaces)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Currently, intensive industries are continuously facing new challenges in order to increase the efficiency, reliability and flexibility of their processes. In particular, due to being one of the most energy intensive processes, industrial furnaces have been the focus of multiple researches in order to address radical improvements in the competitiveness and energy, environmental and cost performance at system level. For that purpose, the development of improved designs based on new materials, alternative feedstocks, equipment and the integration of permanent monitoring and control systems into new and existing furnaces seem to be essential instrument to meet those demands.

In that sense, the overall objective of VULKANO project is to design, implement and validate an advanced retrofitting integrated solution to increase the energy and environmental efficiency in existing preheating and melting industrial furnaces currently fed with natural gas; through implementing combined new solutions based on high-temperature phase change materials (PCMs) for energy recovery systems, new refractories, optimized co-firing strategies and burners, advanced monitoring and control systems and a realistic and powerful tool able to optimize the integration of the solution with upstream and downstream processes, following a life cycle and cost thinking, along the value chain. Therefore, VULKANO project will contribute not only to update the mainly old-aged European furnaces but also to create a path to follow in order to ensure a successful design in case of new furnaces and replicable sectors.

In conclusion, VULKANO project aims to increase the overall energy efficiency in the intensive industry, to reduce the fossil fuel consumption and the pollutant emissions released, to reduce also CAPEX and OPEX cost, to develop a comprehensive methodology taking into account the life cycle thinking and assure a successful exploitation strategy for the VULKANO solution able to enhance also the promotion of eco-innovative solutions and improve the employability in sustainable markets.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the 18 months of the project, the main objective has been to set the basis for the development of the retrofitting solution and further implementation at the selected demo sites. The first tasks were focused on the alignment of the various expertise involved in the consortium, the collection of all the technical data from the demo sites, and the definition of the final design of the retrofitting solution. In order to develop this final design, VULKANO consortium worked in parallel on the different technology solutions:

- Phase Change materials (PCM) at high temperature to recover waste thermal energy. The suitable PCM has been developed. Besides, the set of operating conditions and equipment are established. The basic engineering of the system is nearly finished, and the detail engineering is ongoing.
- New refractories. Firstly, the main characteristics for withstanding the operating conditions of the industrial sectors were identified, defining the compositions of innovative refractory solutions able to improve their performances in respect to the currently used materials. Secondly, at least one industrial by-product for its reuse in the production of new refractories was identified. Finally, the first set of prototypes were produced at laboratory scale.
- Co-firing burners for gas substitution. Feasibility of the natural gas substitution by the different syngas sources; development and validation of the combustion model by CFD simulations; analysis of the co-firing in the existing burners and potential burners´ adaptation related to high thermal share of syngas fuels in the combustion mixture.
- Monitoring and Control System (M&CS). Firstly, the user requirements for future M&CS were developed, based on the experience from the industry partners. Secondly, the functional design specifications and the proper additional instrumentation needed were defined. After that, the applicability of metaheuristic-algorithms as optimization technique was analysed. Finally, the development of suitable software modules to satisfy the specifications given are initiated.
- Holistic In-House Predictive Tool. The following items in the design of such tool have been addressed: mass and energy balances for the baseline of each sector; modelling of the technology solutions by mathematical equations; selection of key parameters for these solutions; definition of the most suitable LCA/LCC/TA methodology; Life Cycle Inventory for the reference conditions; selection of environmental and economic target indicators for the baseline conditions; selection of most relevant KPIs per sector.

Preparatory works for the implementation of the steel demo case has begun, including the engineering documentation, collection of materials and equipment, and adaptation of the premises (foundations, etc.). Regarding the exploitation and dissemination activities, a preliminary market analysis is available. Besides, the first set of tools and materials to promote the project among the identified stakeholders within the corresponding sectors are available.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

VULKANO project aims to demonstrate an advanced and integrated retrofitting solution based on the combination of different strategies to increase the energy and environmental efficiency of industrial furnaces (melting and preheating furnaces) and their upstream and downstream processes and also demonstrate the replication in other sectors through a virtual demonstrator. The use of advanced energy recovery system for better upstream and downstream integration, improved refractory materials, co-firing, advanced monitoring and control system and a predictive tool covering a life cycle perspective to manage the existing industrial furnaces are essential strategies to enhance energy conservation, efficiency, productivity and reduced pollutant emissions.
In this sense, VULKANO project contributes to the 5 levels of expected impacts leaded by SPIRE04: (i) Reduce the energy consumption by at least 15%, (ii) Reduce the operating costs by at least 15%, (iii) Reduce NOx, SOx and CO emission by at least 25%, (iv) Reduce CAPEX and OPX costs of the furnaces by at least 15% and (v) Clear business cases for the deployment of the solutions in industry.

Specifically, the direct impact expected by VULKANO project can be estimated into two different timelines which are at the end of the project and beyond the project. The expected results for both cases including can be summarized as: (i) at least 7970 MWh of NG saved, 226k€ saved in VULKANO demo sites (the ceramic and steel sector) and 1953 tons CO2eq reduced considering around 5600 potential users and 130TWh NG/year consumer in a 1 year frame at the end of the project; (ii) at least 9TWh of NG saved, 250M€/year saved by end users and 2.2 millions of tons CO2eq/year reduced considering that VULKANO solution will be implemented in 15% of the potential user after 20 years beyond the project.

As indirect impacts, VULKANO project aims to enhance the promotion of eco-innovation solutions in global markets making easier the replicability process, to increase the commitment with future needs and trends in the industry from environmental and technical views, to contribute to Best Available Techniques (BAT) for Energy and Environmental Efficiency, to decrease the external dependence on fuels, and to improve the employability.

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