Greener furnaces for energy intensive industries

Jun 11, 2014

Energy-intensive industries play a crucial role in boosting Europe's growth and employment, but strong climate-related policies can undermine their competitiveness. New, cleaner technologies are needed, and an EU project recently managed to achieve just that.

'Carbon leakage' is a well documented phenomenon in Europe, which sees businesses transfer their production to other regions in order to face competition from third countries without restrictions on . Since the EU cannot compromise on its sustainability targets for the sake of , all hopes lie in new, affordable technologies enabling more sustainable production at a competitive cost.

The EDEFU , which was partly funded under the EU's 7th Framework Programme to the tune of EUR 8.5 million, has recently announced a major step forward in this regard. The team, which held its final workshop on 22 May in Brussels, announced the successful design of a new type of ecological furnace bossting by 35% and reducing CO2 emissions by 27% compared to traditional equipment.

The new technology integrates various heating systems such as plasma heating, high resistivity heating, radiant heat-microwave and biomass. It was developed for the aluminium, glass, cement and ceramic sectors, where industrial furnaces are used to provide heat in production processes. However, the team says it could be used by other related sectors as well.

Other results from the project include waste heat reuse technologies, and new type of refractories (materials that retain their strenght at high temperatures) with improved insulation characteristics thanks to the use of nanotechnology. The project discussed commercialisation potential of these technologies at its workshop, saying there was a 'high commercial potential expressed by end users, furnace manufacturers and auxilary industry firms.'

Manufacturing industries are currently responsible for nearly one third of the world's energy consumption and 36% of its CO2 emissions. The project team expects its findings to contribute to reduce production costs and products' carbon footprint.

Explore further: Mechanism for aprotic sodium-air batteries

Related Stories

Enabling environmental decision making on energy sources

May 21, 2014

The EU is getting serious about tackling transport emissions, which are responsible for some 25 % of all greenhouse gases. For example, mandatory EU emission reduction targets for new cars have been put in ...

Oil seed can slash CO2 emissions in farming by 13%

Mar 25, 2014

According to the initial results of EU-funded research the use of rapeseed cake in the production of livestock feed can cut methane and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 13%. This is the preliminary finding ...

Recommended for you

Mechanism for aprotic sodium-air batteries

May 29, 2015

The automobile industry has been interested in finding batteries that allow electric cars to travel at a comparable distance to gas-powered cars. Currently, electric cars use a lithium ion battery, but there ...

Recycling nuclear waste via advanced reactor design

May 28, 2015

An advanced nuclear reactor under development by Hitachi could help solve the nuclear waste problem, and University of Michigan researchers were involved in verifying its safe performance through computer ...

A super cool roof solution to being hot in the city

May 28, 2015

Sydney materials scientists are claiming a breakthrough in cool roof technology with a surface they've developed that will stay cooler than the ambient air temperature, even under the mid-summer Australian ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.