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The ORC option

WASTE HEAT RECOVERY

87

Steam turbine technology has been favoured over organic Rankine cycle (ORC) modules technology for waste heat recovery (WHR) at cement plants. However, improvements in cement production offer scope for the increased uptake of WHR through the ORC process.

n by AQYLON, France

AQYLON’s ATM-1000H ORC solution
AQYLON’s ATM-1000H ORC solution

electricity price increases

increasing plant reliability

improving margins and market competitiveness

reducing CO 2 emissions and decreasing a factory’s environmental footprint. According to the IFC, the market potential for WHR in the cement industry is estimated at US$5bn or 2GWe for just

11 countries – with India alone accounting

for US$1.4bn. Energy efficiency in the

Indian cement industry is already high,

but the roadmap guided by the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) is very ambitious with an emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by

2050.

Issues with steam turbine heat recovery

As previously mentioned, the most commonly used Rankine cycle system for WHR is the traditional water steam cycle. Today it represents 96.5 per cent of worldwide WHR systems in the cement industry. Despite wide availability from various suppliers (resulting in a relatively low cost basis in US$/W terms), steam turbines were never designed for low-grade heat and today face a number of issues:

Because of continuous improvements in cement production technology and major improvements in grate cooler technology, the exhaust gas temperature, both at preheater and cooler levels, has dropped dramatically in the past decade. At the same time, the potential efficiencies of the conventional steam cycles have dropped significantly:

- to operate optimally, the steam turbines need at least 280˚C (536˚F) - lower pressure and lower temperature steam conditions result in steam condensation in the turbine, causing blade erosion.

To compensate for the low temperature of the exhaust gas, the temperature has been raised in some cases by additional fuel burning, increasing the fuel cost to dramatic levels.

To increase the waste gas temperature, the recovery point is set at the middle of the air cooler exhaust, resulting in WHR of only 50 per cent of the available power.

One of the main issues for the steam turbine is the varying temperature of the exhaust gas, ranging, for example, from 265-500°C (509-932°F) for a Jordanian cement factory.

At partial load, the small steam

I n terms of heat generated in industrial processes, approximately 50 per cent of the fuel used to produce power in conventional plants and 60 per cent of the energy used in industrial processes

is wasted, according to the International

Energy Agency (IEA). Typically, a cement process absorbs around 53 per cent of the energy produced. Out of the 47 per

cent of wasted heat, some 34 per cent could be recovered to generate up to 30

per cent of the plant’s electrical needs. Although waste heat recovery (WHR) is

a proven technology, until now it has

not been widely implemented except in China. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), around 850 WHR installations exist worldwide (mainly in China), with 739 mainly using steam turbine technology. For the cement industry, WHR is an important tool as it can reduce operating costs and increase EBITDA by 10-15 per cent. Electrical power expenses usually account for around 25 per cent of total operating costs. WHR advantages include:

reducing energy costs of a plant

reducing reliance on grid power

mitigating the impact of future

reliance on grid power • mitigating the impact of future Figure 1: estimated realised and remaining

Figure 1: estimated realised and remaining technical potential and investment in WHR deployment (source: IFC)

©Copyright Tradeship Publications Ltd 2017

MAY 2017 INTERNATIONAL CEMENT REVIEW

88 WASTE HEAT RECOVERY

turbines are both inefficient and unstable as most steam turbines under 10MW are not designed to overcome flow fluctuations.

Condensing pressure is below atmospheric pressure, resulting in the need for complex and expensive vacuum and purging equipment.

Maintenance costs are increased by

the need to have two operators in many cases.

The steam turbine’s necessity to use a cooling water tower is also an issue:

– there is always a risk of blowdown

– the cooling tower needs chemical

pre-treatment as well as make- up water, leading to increased maintenance costs.

In case of shutdown, the risk of freezing is high in some countries.

In case of failure, the complete system needs to shut down.

The AQYLON ORC solution

The AQYLON ORC solution is to use this untapped potential by valorising waste heat into electricity. In addition, AQYLON ORC solutions allow industries to meet energy transition regulations requirements

by producing and using green electricity. AQYLON proposes a range of solutions for up to 10MWe. The system recovers exhaust heat from the preheater and/or

clinker coolers. The process is kept safe as a bypass is intalled on the stack and equipment complies with a producer’s process. Electricity can be produced from 3MWth and 180°C with AQYLON’s ATM-1000H system. High electrical efficency of up to

23.6 per cent can be achieved. In addition, the system has a low footprint as it is fully

containerised. For its ORC solution, AQYLON proposes:

complete turnkey solutions

standard high temperature ORC modules in containers offering easier transportation (ISO standard containers), easier and faster on-site installation (everything is pre-piped and pre-connected), and avoidance of heavy civil works (only some concrete plots are needed to put the containers on)

complete financed solutions, where the end-user does not need to invest. In terms of technical flexibility, all equipment is mounted in standard 20ft or 40ft containers at the company’s France-

based factory. These compact and scalable units allow for rapid implementation and low erection costs. Bypasses on the thermal oil loop as well as on the organic fluid closed loop prevent any interference with normal cement plant operations. Low pressure design and low revolution speed of the turbine offer simplicity in operation, reliability and minimal maintenance requirements. Advantages of the design include:

high availability (above 97 per cent),

high efficiency of the cycle with typical isentropic efficiency of the turbine (above 85 per cent)

retention of efficiency at partial load, even at very low partial load

a fully automated design with no overnight operator.

Untapping potential

The market potential for WHR at a cement

factory is huge. AQYLON is well positioned with its containerised products to

implement the benefits of ORC solutions worldwide. To date, AQYLON’s heat recovery projects worldwide total about 30MW and

demand is growing.

n

projects worldwide total about 30MW and demand is growing. n INTERNATIONL CEMENT REVIEW MAY 2017 ©Copyright

INTERNATIONL CEMENT REVIEW MAY 2017

©Copyright Tradeship Publications Ltd 2017