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Title: Environmental performance improvement in the cement industry
Author: Summerbell, Daniel Leo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 268X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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This research investigates ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from the cement industry. Cement is one of the largest sources of man-made greenhouse gases, contributing ~5% of the global total. 40% of emissions from cement come from the fuel used in the process, while the electricity used contributes a further 5%. The focus of the research is to find operational changes that can reduce emissions without the need for large capital investment. Three cement plants in the UK were investigated using four different mathematical models based on real data from the plants. A new metric for assessing the environmental impact of the fuel mix of a plant was proposed, and evidence indicates that it may be a better predictor of environmental performance than the metrics currently used in industry. The research found that consistently improving this fuel metric to best-observed levels, as well as reducing the excess air ratio to industry-standard levels had the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 7%, and fuel derived CO2 emissions by up to 12%. Increasing use of biomass to best-observed levels had the potential to reduce the net fuel derived CO2 emissions by up to 20%. Comparing the proposed improvements to the historic range of plant performance showed that this level of performance is within the normal operating range of the plants. A reduction of 2-4% in electricity costs and electricity derived emissions was also possible from operational changes. These savings would reduce operating costs as well as emissions, and require little to no capital investment, meaning they could be implemented directly. If successfully implemented in the near future the total savings by 2050 would be on a similar scale to those expected from much more expensive technology changes, such as upgrading to new cement plants, or installing carbon capture and storage technology.
Supervisor: Claire, Barlow Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Peformance Improvement ; Operational Improvement ; Cement ; Manufacturing ; Environmental Improvement ; Industrial Engineering ; Performance Variation ; Environmental Performance Improvement ; CO2 Emissions ; Demand Side Management