Improving Energy Efficiency in Ceramic Manufacturing Industry

For ceramics manufacturers, there are many existing recovery technologies already well-developed and technically proven that provide significant opportunities for improving industrial energy efficiency through waste heat.

But before beginning a waste heat recovery project, it is essential to identify all potential sources of accessible waste heat, type of recovery technologies available for these sources, and, most importantly, how the recovered waste heat energy can be utilized.

After conducting a survey of plant equipment utilizing large quantities of electricity and/or natural gas, a preliminary plan for capture of waste heat energy should be developed.  That way, the essential heat transfer projects can be identified and a cost analysis performed to identify the feasibility of potential projects.

Reused or transferred heat

Captured industrial waste can either be “reused” within the same process or transferred to another process.  For example, thermal oxidizers, ovens, and furnaces all exhaust hot products as a result of combustion. The hot exhausts products can then be fed to air-to-air heat exchangers to provide preheated air to combustion equipment such as boilers, furnaces and ovens, or used for space heating and drying/curing room heating.

Alternately, regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO) can also be used by air-to-liquid heat exchangers to heat water, oil or other process fluids. Improving equipment efficiency through preventive maintenance and tuning must also be considered.

Next, steam boiler and hot water boiler efficiency can be improved by capturing waste heat through the use of economizers, condensing economizers and blowdown heat exchangers. By preheating the boiler feed water, the amount of energy required to heat the water to operating temperature can be reduced significantly.

Finally, heat exchangers can also be used to transfer “heat of combustion” from thermal oxidizers and furnaces to drying ovens, curing rooms and for space heating.

By doing this, the recovered heat can replace fossil fuel energy that would have otherwise been used. Such methods for recovering waste heat can help facilities significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce associated operating costs.