New technology replaces fossil fuel burning in key heating processes in the iron and steel, cement, and chemical industries
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Spotted: The bulk of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions from industry are caused by just three sectors: petrochemicals and chemicals, iron and steel, and cement production. The reason these industries are so emissions-intensive is that they involve processes that require extremely high temperatures. Until recently, burning fossil fuels was the only way to achieve such levels of heat. But this is set to change.
Finnish engineering company Colbrook has developed ‘Roto Dynamic Heater’ (RDH) technology that uses electricity generated from renewable sources in place of fossil fuels in the highest-emitting industrial processes. The new technology can achieve process temperatures of up to 1700 degrees Celsius thanks to its high levels of energy efficiency. Such temperatures are sufficient to replace fossil fuel burning in processes where electrification was previously impossible.
The RDH technology is extremely compact, which means it can be retrofitted into existing facilities. And Colbrook estimates that if the technology was widely adopted, it could cut up to 30 per cent of industrial CO2 emissions.
“Today marks the beginning of a new industrial era,” Ilpo Kuokkanen, Executive Chairman of Coolbrook said when the RDH Technology was launched earlier this month. “We can roll out this revolutionary technology and achieve significant emission reductions in the most energy and CO2 intensive industrial processes,” he added.
The RDH technology Coolbrook is leveraging was developed over a decade by aerospace engineering and turbomachinery academics at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, and the University of Ghent in Belgium. The technology recently completed a successful pilot project, and global building materials company CEMEX has announced that it aims to be the first commercial enterprise to incorporate it into its processes.
Other recent industrial emissions innovations spotted by Springwise include a nanonfiltration technology that reduces emissions from industrial chemical separation, solar-powered cement production, and the world’s first fossil-fuel-free steel.
Written by Matthew Hempstead