As industry actively embarks on initiatives to extenuate the environmental impacts of their operations, many industrial furnace operators across the region are intentionally reviewing their entire production processes.
Searching for proven solutions that can allow them to use energy more efficiently and reduce CO2 emissions in all their operations. This is coupled with the fact that industrial furnace operators need to be internationally competitive; hence to the need to constantly benchmark themselves against international costs of production.
This article briefly discusses a highly effective tool that can be used in pursuit of the aforementioned goals for smelters; flue gas Waste Heat Recovery (WHR). This is not a new tool; in fact WHR has been widely adopted in different industries, however there remains some level of residual potential. Mainly because technological advancements have made it possible to recover energy from even what was once regarded as unusable low grade waste heat. Viabilities of some projects has also significantly improved in line with the current electricity costs and carbon tax implications.
Waste heat recovery entails capturing and reusing the waste heat in industrial processes for heating, cooling or for generating mechanical or electrical work. The waste heat streams would otherwise be exhausted into the atmosphere, sometimes incurring costs to cool them down to prescribed temperatures. In the case of industrial furnaces, efficiency improvements resulting from waste heat recovery can be quite significant. Captured and reused waste heat is considered an emission-free substitute for costly purchased fuels or electricity. WHR can benefit a wide range of industrial furnace operators including smelters, pulp & paper, glass, steel industry and cement manufacturers.
To further enhance the viability of WHR projects, various solutions have been packaged in highly plausible business Models; including turnkey Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC), Build Operate & Transfer (BOT) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). This has introduced a lot of flexibility in the implementation of WHR projects.