HPHE and emission reductions: Insertec collaborates in a case study of the ETEKINA project

In the framework of the ETEKINA project, INSERTEC collaborates in a case study on the reduction of emissions in secondary aluminium production plants through the technology: Greener furnaces + HPHE.

Funded by the European Union, the ETEKINA project is focused on testing a new range of HPHE. This is a technology of very high interest for sectors such as steel, ceramics or aluminium production where up to 70% of the waste heat flow could be recovered.

In most of the plants currently in operation, the hot fumes go into a baghouse system and into the atmosphere, which means that all that heat is lost. It is estimated that furnaces account for more than 70% of the energy consumption of secondary aluminium production plants: they lose around 30% of the heat they produce.

We have a collaboration with ETEKINA that involves adapting one of our customers' systems to integrate HPHE into a furnace that we built about 10 years ago. The installation consists of two main chambers that need to reach 500 (dissolution heat treatment) and 200°C (ageing) respectively. The objective: to use part of the heat from the first unit to heat the second using HPHE.

In order to dimension the full potential of HPHEs, we know that, to a greater or lesser extent, every time a burner is on, it releases emissions: limiting its use in part of the installation means a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the plant as a whole. It also results in a substantial reduction in natural gas consumption.

The first studies on HPHEs offer very encouraging results. However, its application only makes sense if we combine it with more efficient and intelligent furnaces and with the support of an expert team that knows the process as a whole.

In the case of our customer, for example, one of the main challenges we face is the need to maintain a stable temperature. The plant produces safety parts whose quality depends on very strict temperature control (+/- 5ºC). ETEKINA is looking for this know-how in Insertec to make the enormous potential technological advance that HPHEs represent a practical reality.

If you would like to know more about this subject and our contributions to the ETEKINA project, we recommend the following article:
HPHE and greener furnaces: a combo that can make emissions plunge in the aluminium industry