Project Proves Feasibility of Fossil Fuel Replacement

27 Sept 2012

This project addressed industrial carbon abatement through evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of using algal biomass as a partial replacement for fossil fuels in a rotary kiln, used for the production of dolomitic lime.

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An energy profile of the site was undertaken, opportunities for energy recovery identified and a combined economic model developed; taking into account current and future UK financial incentives.

This systematic study showed the viability of using algal biomass as a partial replacement for coal (pulverised fuel). In terms of energy is placement, this can be achieved without significantly changing the flame structure that exists within the kiln. Technical limitations with respect to percentage substitution are primarily governed by the trace elements found within the algal biomass.

Development of an energy recovery system (specifically targeting low grade heat) represents a significant opportunity for the plant. A comprehensive financial model was developed and used to assess and compare the technical options identified. It also illustrates that carbon abatement solutions are essential to ensure the long term viability of dololime, lime, cement and brick manufacture in the EU.

The project has demonstrated that the partial replacement of fossil fuel through co-firing with algal biomass is theoretically feasible but has highlighted the R&D aspects that need to be addressed prior to commercial implementation. Assuming future commercialisation, the potential benefits to the market include the reduction of CO2 footprint, positive environmental and financial impact, future business competitiveness, securing UK and EU manufacturing and job creation.

The lime, cement, power generation and brick manufacturing across the EU represent a market opportunity for any technology designed to maximise energy efficient and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

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