AZTERLAN-IK4 takes part in the SusPIRE H2020 European project aimed to develop an advanced global system to recover lost energy from heat sources within industrial processes.
The project will be addressed in conjunction with a relevant international consortium, that includes the participation of companies as PRECICAST BILBAO S.A., TELUR Geotermia y Agua S.A., and different research centers like IK4-AZTERLAN and IK4-TEKNIKER.
The latest European policies have set the strategic goal to achieve a reduction of 20% energy consumption from the total demand in industrial processes, by those companies considered as main consumers. This group includes an outstanding part of the Basque Industry, linked to the steel, foundry, forging, hot stamping and heat treatment sectors, among others.
A clear change is required to these companies regarding their environmental impact and their energy consumption levels. First of all, in order to be socially accepted, and secondly, to maintain their competitiveness level in relation to low-cost countries, which directly threaten their future.
The main objective of the SusPIRE project is focused on the reduction of the energy consumption levels of the company Precicast Bilbao S.A. specialized in the lost wax casting process to manufacture aeronautical components in super-alloys, used in the engines of some of the world's leading aircraft companies.
The use of recovered energy as heat from this industrial process enables its use in different stages of the manufacturing plan, allowing likewise to provide an answer to some of the actual needs within the closer areas (as for example, covering some of the energy demands from Lasesarre sports center, located not far from the production plant). This new approach opens a promising future associated with sustainability and with the integration of industrial plants in populated areas where their environmental and social impacts question their feasibility.
The facility has many sources of residual energy, generated at different states (solid, liquid and gas), for which different solutions have been previously worked out with a very restricted final outcome (air exchanging fumes from the heat treatment furnaces and water preheating previous to the entry in the steam boilers). These technologies have clear limitations on the performance of heat gain, not coming to solve issues such as the mismatch between the energy recovered and the real just in time demands from the plant.
The SusPIRE Project is aimed to develop a global and integrated solution for the collection, storage and efficient use of the residual energy sources from this manufacturing facility.
The use of more efficient systems to capture energy from waste streams based in Phase Change Materials (PCM) along with new transfer requirements associated with heat-transfer fluids with improved acquisition and transmission properties, are part of the challenges within the project. Accumulation in different temperature ranges and physical locations of the plant will be as well one of the key parts of the project.
The main task for IK4-AZTERLAN researchers is directly linked to the implementation of smart manufacturing technologies. In this context, the Technical Centre has been developing several multivariate analyzes solutions with large data volumes within the different casting processes, enabling real-time decision making for the achievement of objectives related to key process indicators (KPI) set in advance. In this particular case, the working methodology will be based on the development of an integrated software to coordinate the work of the production process and the associated heat recovery to achieve the best ratios of total energy consumption.
SusPIRE Project encompasses the participation of some additional partners such as the Basque Energy Entity (EVE) that will analyze the final results obtained during the project, in order to strengthen and to establish future regulations for the consumption and use of recovered energy.