Technical Brief

Energy- and Exergy-Based Analysis for Reducing Energy Demand in Heat Processes for Aluminum Casting

[+] Author and Article Information
Manuela Neri

Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Brescia,
Brescia 25121, Italy
e-mail: manuela.neri@unibs.it

Adriano M. Lezzi

Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Brescia,
Brescia 25121, Italy
e-mail: adriano.lezzi@unibs.it

Gian P. Beretta

Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Brescia,
Brescia 25121, Italy
e-mail: gianpaolo.beretta@unibs.it

Mariagrazia Pilotelli

Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Brescia,
Brescia 25121, Italy
e-mail: mariagrazia.pilotelli@unibs.it

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received November 9, 2018; final manuscript received April 1, 2019; published online April 17, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(10), 104501 (Apr 17, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1829; doi: 10.1115/1.4043389 History: Received November 09, 2018; Accepted April 02, 2019

In this paper, energy- and exergy-based analysis is used to analyze a factory with high energy demand for the production of aluminum discs. The analysis is focused on heat processes that take place in a melting furnace, a casting machine, a heat treatment oven, and a drying oven. Energy and exergy efficiencies are computed to assess the room for the improvement of the energy efficiency processes. The analysis shows that a large amount of energy is lost due to heat losses to the environment, and solutions for reducing energy demand and emissions have been identified. Instead of changing the equipment of a factory, significant improvements and consequent reduction of fossil fuels consumption can be obtained by increasing the thermal insulation of some components and by means of waste heat recovery performed by heat exchangers, with a consequent energy demand reduction of 15%.

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Fig. 1

Illustration of the factory: according to Ref. [8], the rectangles represent the facilities or areas, and for each of them one or more utilities are shown

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Fig. 2

Factory energy consumption

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Fig. 3

Illustration of the utilities analyzed: (a) melting furnace, (b) casting machine, (c) heat treatment oven, and (d) drying oven

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Fig. 4

Energy consumption distribution for the melting furnace

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Fig. 5

The oven of the casting machine: (a) scheme of the oven where dimensions are in centimeters and (b) temperatures measured on the oven surface

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Fig. 6

Energy use distribution for the casting machine oven in the current configuration and in the new configuration with an additional insulating layer

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Fig. 7

Details of the heat treatment oven: (a), (b), and (c) layers of the heat treatment oven wall in the current configuration; (d), (e), and (f) new configuration with the additional insulating layer

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Fig. 8

Comparison between the energy use in the actual configuration and with an additional layer of insulating material for the heat treatment oven

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Fig. 9

Comparison between the energy use in the actual configuration and with heat recovery for the drying oven in the painting department

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Fig. 10

Comparison between consumption of current and modified configurations



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