Low carbon refractories for the future

Jafar Daji, Technical Manager at Parkinson-Spencer Refractories, discusses a project to reduce energy consumption in the refractory manufacturing process. This was featured in an exclusive supplement done with Glass International in the run-up to Glasstec.

Low carbon refractory manufacturing process - SHU

PSR has been successful in its application for support for a Small Scale R&D project to as part of the ‘Transforming Foundation Industries’ (TFI) Challenge fund from the UK Government’s ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’ (ISCF). This project will focus on looking to reduce the length of firing cycles in the refractory manufacturing process.

As a manufacturer of refractories for the container glass industry, PSR falls within multiple energy intensive foundation industries (ceramics and glass).

Current refractory manufacturing methods include long firing cycles where substantial energy savings and corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions could be achieved by reducing the lengths of firing cycles.

This project, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC), aims to find a cost-effective solution to reduce energy consumption in the refractory manufacturing process. The addition of dopants to densify the material will be investigated to enable firing at lower temperatures or for shorter times, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Based on a literature review we believe that >10% savings are achievable in the refractory manufacturing process.

Simon Parkinson, Managing Director at Parkinson-Spencer Refractories said:

“We’re delighted that this project has been given the go ahead and look forward to work ing with Sheffield Hallam University and the British Ceramic Confederation to research low carbon refractories. Whilst we always strive to optimise production and minimise CO2  emissions, this exciting and ambitious project aims to make a step change in energy efficiency in the refractories industry.”

The project will benefit PSR through knowledge transfer with partners, and opportunities to co-create new concepts; transfer best practice through industry and academia partnerships; and improve the energy efficiency of the refractory manufacturing processes.

There are potential savings across the UK and global refractories industries if this technology were licensed and applied more widely. A 10% energy and CO2 saving across the relevant products within the global refractories industry would save up to an estimated 5 MT / year.

Jon Flitney, Energy & Innovation Manager at BCC, commented:

“BCC is delighted to be supporting PSR and Sheffield Hallam University with their project to develop novel additive technologies to enable faster and / or lower temperature firing of refractories. We look forward to supporting the dissemination about both the project and wider learning about the funding landscape to the UK ceramics sector.”

Paul Bingham, Professor of Glasses and Ceramics at SHU, said:

“SHU is pleased to be supporting this project designed to enable our foundation industries to achieve their important decarbonisation goals, via new and novel technologies for more rapid, lower-energy firing cycle.”

Click here to find out more about refractory manufacturing at PSR.