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Waste Heat Recovery Power Generation

Systems for Cement Production Process
Article in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications January 2015
DOI: 10.1109/TIA.2014.2347196




2 authors, including:
Ali Amiri
North Dakota State University

All in-text references underlined in blue are linked to publications on ResearchGate,

letting you access and read them immediately.

Available from: Ali Amiri

Retrieved on: 02 November 2016



Waste Heat Recovery Power Generation Systems

for Cement Production Process
Ali Amiri and Mohammad Rahim Vaseghi

AbstractCement production process is highly energy intensive

with approximately 34-GJ energy consumption per ton of cement
produced. Moreover, energy costs are responsible for 25% of total
production costs, whereas 75% of primary energy usage is thermal
energy. However, the process is characterized by a significant
amount of heat loss mainly by the flue gases and the air stream
used for cooling down the clinker. Waste heat is generated by a
fuel combustion process or chemical reactions and then dumped
into the environment although it could still be reused for some
useful and economic purposes. Reducing the amount of wasted
heat as well as reusing it has been a matter of great concern for
the past couple of decades. A heat recovery system could increase
the efficiency of the cement plant as well as reduce the amount of
CO2 emissions to the environment by lowering the temperature
of the exhaust gases. This paper is an introduction to waste heat
recovery generation systems and their operations and feasibility
for the cement production process and is also a review of the
four common power generation cycles, i.e., steam Rankine cycle,
organic Rankine cycle, Kalina cycle, and supercritical CO2 cycle.
Index TermsCement industry, cement production, energy, energy conversion, energy resolution, energy storage, power generation, regeneration, waste heat, waste recovery.


EMENT production is an energy intensive process, consuming about 4 GJ per ton of cement product. Theoretically, producing one ton of clinker requires a minimum 1.6-GJ
heat. However, in fact, the average specific energy consumption
is about 2.95 GJ per ton of cement produced for well-equipped
advanced kilns, whereas in some countries, the consumption
exceeds 5 GJ/ton [1][3].
Thermal energy cost accounts for almost 25% of the total
production cost, whereas thermal energy is considered to be
75% of primary energy usage. The major use of thermal energy
is in the pyroprocess line, and diversity in fuels such as coal,
pet coke, gas, and oil apart from alternative fuels such as used
tires, incinerable harmful wastes, and agro residues are used to
provide thermal energy [4].

Manuscript received February 10, 2013; accepted January 14, 2014. Date
of publication August 13, 2014; date of current version January 16, 2015.
Paper 2013-CIC-093, presented at the 2013 IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry
Technical Conference, Orlando, FL, USA, April 1119, and approved for
the Cement Industry Committee of the IEEE Industry Applications Society.
A. Amiri is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, North Dakota
State University, Fargo, ND 58108 USA (e-mail:
M. R. Vaseghi is with the Department of Polymer Engineering, Islamic Azad
University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran.
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIA.2014.2347196

Fig. 1. Heat losses in industrial heating processes.

In recent years, energy audit has been introduced as one of

the most effective procedures to have a successful energy management [5]. Energy audits will provide an accurate account
of energy consumption and energy use analysis for different
components to gain valuable detailed information regarding
potential opportunities for energy conservation. Waste heat
recovery (WHR) from hot gases [6] and hot kiln surfaces [7] in
a kiln system are known as potential ways to improve overall
kiln efficiency. However, it is still fairly difficult to find a
detailed thermal analysis of rotary kiln systems in the open
Waste heat is heat generated by the fuel combustion process
or chemical reactions, and although it could still be reused
for some useful and economic purposes, it is released to the
environment. The environmental impacts that result from the
discharge of waste heat to the environment can be categorized
as follows:
impacts resulting from release of pollutants and various
chemicals in the waste heat stream;
impacts resulting from heat energy of waste heat stream.
Fig. 1 shows heat losses in industrial heating processes [8].
The environmental impacts resulting from the release of
pollutants varies based on the composition and volume of
each discharge. However, any action leading to increase in the
efficiency of energy utilization, whether it is accomplished by
WHR or general conservation measures, may be considered as
a pollution control alternative, as these actions will result in a
reduction in fuel consumption and, generally, will decrease in
the quantity of pollutants discharged.

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Fig. 3.

Three different configurations of recuperators.

Fig. 4.

Regenerator for storing thermal energy.

Fig. 2. Recuperator system for preheating combustion air losses.


In general, heat recovery methods in industry include using
the waste heat to preheat the boiler feedwater or preheating
the combustion air, using the waste heat to preheat the load
entering furnaces such as preheating a batch in glass furnaces,
generating mechanical or electrical power, and using waste heat
in a heat pump for heating or cooling facilities. Generally, there
are four widely used methods [9], [10] as follows.
In this method, direct heat will be in contact with incoming
cool material load, or air, and as heat will transfer from higher to
lower temperature, the material load or the combustion air will
be preheated. The result would be higher efficiency of furnace
or boiler or preheater. Moreover, the energy that will escape
with final exhaust will be much lower due to lower temperatures
of exhaust gases. This is one of the most efficient ways of
reusing waste heat.
A recuperator is shown in Fig. 2. A recuperator is a counterflow energy recovery heat exchanger positioned on exhaust
gas stream. A recuperator is a gas-to-gas heat exchanger, and
heat exchange takes place between the flue gases and the air
through metallic or ceramic walls. Duct or tubes carry the air
for combustion to be preheated. The other side contains the
waste heat stream. Recuperators are often used in association
with the burner portion of a heat engine, to increase the overall
efficiency of the recuperator. Recovering waste heat from the
flue gases is shown in Fig. 2.
There are three different major configurations of recuperators. Fig. 3 shows these three configurations.
These are basically rechargeable storage batteries for heat.
A regenerator is an insulated container filled with metal or ce-

ramic shapes that can absorb and store relatively large amounts
of thermal energy. During the operating cycle, fixed and rotary
regenerators are an alternative to recuperators. Use of fixed and
rotary regenerators is becoming increasingly common in the
United States. However, due to higher costs, rotary regenerators
have not been commercialized in the United States industries.
Use of recuperators and regenerators is the most common
method in glass industry (and blast furnaces), but they have not
been commercialized in cement industry in the United States
[11], [12]. A schematic of a regenerator for storing thermal
energy is shown in Fig. 4.
A waste heat boiler is one of the most common methods of
WHR in the United States cement industry. As shown in Fig. 5,
a waste heat boiler is a tube boiler that uses medium- to hightemperature exhaust gases to generate steam. It is similar to a
conventional boiler; however, instead of using a burner, it will
produce steam by taking energy from waste hot gas stream.
Their capacity can vary from 30 to 3000 M3 /min gas intake;
the produced steam can be used to process heating or power
generation. Use of a waste heat boiler to recover part of the
exhaust gas heat is an option for plants that need a source of
steam or hot water. Waste heat boilers can be a solution for
plants seeking additional steam capacity.


Fig. 5.

Waste heat boiler.


There are several factors affecting the feasibility of WHR
systems. By characterizing the waste heat sources and heat
stream, we are able to evaluate the feasibility of these systems.
These factors will allow analysis of the quality and efficiency of
the system and provide a better insight into design possibilities
and limitations. There are several factors involved as follows.
1) Heat temperature and quality: This is a key factor to
determine WHR feasibility. The temperature difference
between heat source and heat sink will determine the
amount of heat utility or quality of heat. The more
the magnitude of the temperature difference, the more
the amount of heat transfer per unit surface area of heat
exchanger, and, as a result, higher efficiency of heat
exchanger, and higher overall efficiency of the system.
Maximum efficiency of power generation can be given as
Carnot efficiency as


where TH is the temperature of waste heat, and TL is the

temperature of heat sink [13], [14].
2) Heat quantity: Heat quantity or heat content is the amount
of energy in a waste heat stream. It is both a function of
temperature and mass flow rate of the heat stream.
3) Composite of the waste heat stream: This factor will
affect the recovery process and material selection for heat
exchangers [15].
4) Minimum allowed temperature: Exhaust heat streams can
contain CO2 , water vapor, and NOX depending on the
point of capture and combustion fuel used. This factor will
affect the material corrosion design for exchangers [16].
WHR power generation (WHRPG) technology started in
the late 60s in Europe and the United States. It was put into


practical utility in the mid-70s, and the application of this

technology reached a peak in the early 80s and has become
popular since then.
Japan has been a pioneer in the research and development
of this technology. Japan is a resource-shortage country. Since
the world oil crisis in 1973, the government has paid closer
attention to energy conservation and began to promote waste
heat power generation systems. In February 1981, a cement
plant in Japan put a set of two 1320-KW heat generators,
which were the first sets of heat-generating units in Japan, into
operation. Until 1989, 16 cement plants have been installed
the waste heat generators among the 46 cement plants on the
national scale, and the recovered energy power covered 30% of
national cement industry power consumption [17].
A cement plant in the United States built five sets of lowtemperature WHR generators between 1973 and 1978. The
capacity of these systems was 500012 500 KW. The capacity
of cement plant waste heat power generation reached 40 billion
KWh per year until December of 1980 in the United States.
The technology of WHRPG is generating electricity by
running a specially designed low-parameter steam turbine.
Low-pressure low-temperature industrial waste heat with temperature ranging from 120 C to 400 C is utilized to run
the mentioned generator. The generated steam will be used to
create mechanical energy to produce electricity. Although new
technologies such as thermoelectric and piezoelectric have been
developed to produce electricity directly from heat, they are not
widely used by industries due to higher capital costs.
As mentioned before, efficiency of the power generation
significantly depends on the temperature of the waste heat
source. To have a highly efficient process, it is vital to identify
the sources of waste heat in the process. Two main sources of
heat in the cement production process are as follows [18].
Exhaust gases from the rotary kiln: The temperature range
for gases after going through a preheater is around 380 C.
Hot air waste from clinker cooler: The average temperature range for hot air from grate cooler is about 360 C.
Power generation is limited to medium- to high-temperature
waste heat sources. These waste heat sources can be efficiently
used in a WHR system to produce electricity. Usually, a WHR
boiler is used to produce steam, which drives a steam turbine to
generate electric power. [18].
Fig. 6 shows a proposed heat recovery system. As mentioned
before, one of the heat sources in the cement production process
is the exhaust gases after preheating and precalcining (point 1 in
Fig. 6). The temperature of the exhaust gases will depend on the
number of stages of a preheater. For a four-staged preheater, the
range is 300 C380 C, whereas for a five-staged preheater, the
temperature is lower and at the range of 200 C300 C [19].
Exhaust gases pass through a settling chamber to remove the
dust and then enter boiler 1 where superheated steam is produced. Another source of heat to recover is from clinker cooler
(point 2). Hot air from clinker cooler can be captured at different spots at different temperatures. The average temperature of



Fig. 7.

Typical steam Rankine cycle.

Finally, the system efficiency can be calculated as

system = HEx th .


Fig. 6. Typical heat recovery system in a cement plant.

exhaust gases at clinker cooler is about 360 C. The temperature

of point A is 500 C, and that of point B is about 300 C.
Capturing hot air from different spots will provide better system efficiency and a number of advantages. Higher temperature
stream can be mixed with low-temperature steam to produce
superheated steam. By this means, a higher final temperature
and an overall higher efficiency of the process can be reached.
In order to design an efficient process, it is very important how
to pick the hot air capture points as well as mass flow rate of the
Air stream from point C is used as a bypass when the heat
recovery system is not operating. It is going through an electrostatic precipitator before being dumped into the atmosphere.
Karellas et al. [18] analyzed a typical system introduced in
Fig. 6. Mass flow rate and temperature of the exhaust gas at
point 1 is 96.7 Kg/s and 380 C, respectively. Mass flow rate
and temperature of the hot air exiting clinker cooler is 43 Kg/s
and 360 C, respectively. To analyze this system, they defined
thermal efficiency as
th =

Q uid


where Pel is the electric power produced by the generator, and

Quid is the heat that the working fluid absorbs from the heat
The efficiency of the heat-exchanger system is defined by the
following equation:
HEx =

Q uid


where QHS is the heat source energy.

The heat source consists of the exhaust gas and of the hot air
and is calculated as the maximum energy that the heat source
can give to the working fluid. This is the sum of the available
heat from the exhaust gas and the hot air assuming that both
streams in the exit are at ambient temperature.
QHS is calculated as
Q HS = Q gas + m
air (hin hambient ).


Karellas et al. examined water-steam and organic Rankine

cycles (ORCs). In the latter, they examined four different
organic fluids to pick the most efficient one regarding the
thermodynamic performances. Furthermore, they did an exergy
analysis of the system. By the help of an exergy analysis, they
were able to find the components in which exergy losses occur,
and by minimizing those losses, they were able to maximize
the energy of the process. They found that the water system
had the efficiency of 23.5%, producing 6.26-MW electricity,
whereas the ORC had the efficiency of 17.5% with capability
of producing 4.66 MW of electric power.
A. Steam Rankine Cycle
Fig. 7 shows a typical steam Rankine cycle. A traditional
steam Rankine cycle is the most efficient option for WHR from
exhaust heat about 340 C370 C [20]. If the temperature is
lower than the aforementioned temperature, the steam Rankine
cycle would be less cost efficient. For lower temperature heat
recovery, an ORC or a Kalina cycle will be a better option, since
they use fluids with lower boiling temperatures.
The ORC is similar to the steam Rankine cycle, but instead
of steam, it uses an organic fluid such as silicon oil, propane,
haloalkanes (e.g., freons), iso-propane, or iso-butane. These
fluids have lower boiling temperature and a higher vapor pressure than water. The working temperature of ORC depends on
the running fluid, but in general, it will operate with lower
waste heat temperatures as low as 70 C. In addition to lower
boiling temperature and higher vapor pressure, ORC fluids have
a higher molecular mass, which enables higher mass flow and
higher turbine efficiency [21]. Among all its applications, ORC
is the most efficient for WHR [22], [23]. In 2008, a cement
plant in the United States installed an ORC to recover waste
heat from clinker cooler with exhaust stream temperature of
500 C. The ORC provides 12% of the plants electricity and
has lowered the CO2 emissions by 7000 tons per year.




C. Kalina Cycle
The Kalina cycle was first developed by Aleksander Kalina
in the late 1970s and early 1980s [24]. The main difference
between the Kalina cycle and the ORC or the steam Rankine
cycle is that the Kalina cycle uses a mixture of ammonia and
water as working fluid. As a binary fluid cycle, the temperature profile during boiling and condensation is different. In
the steam Rankine cycle and the ORC, temperature remains
constant during evaporation. While the Kalina cycle because
of the boiling temperature difference of water and ammonia,
temperature will increase during evaporation. In the Kalina
cycle, due to nonisothermal boiling, the use of a mixture
results in good thermal matching with the waste heat source
and cooling medium in condenser. Results from a second law
analysis showed that by using a binary fluid, the Kalina cycle
irreversibility reduced in the boiler. As a result, the total efficiency of the cycle was significantly improved [25]. Moreover,
as mentioned in several studies, it is strongly believed that the
Kalina cycles performance is significantly better than that of
the steam Rankine cycle and the ORC [26][30]. The main
application of the Kalina cycle is in power generation from
geothermal and waste heat.
All three aforementioned cycles can be utilized by cement
plants to produce power. The selection of the heat recovery
method will depend on factors such as temperature of waste
heat, composition of exhaust gases, and cost. The United States
cement industry has great potential for using WHR systems and
turn waste heat into power. Although WHR has been getting
increasing attention over the past decade, about 90 MJ/yr of
waste heat is still uncovered in the United States cement industry. Table I shows uncovered waste heat and work potential
from exhaust gases in cement kilns.
D. Supercritical CO2 Power Generation Cycle
Supercritical carbon dioxide (ScCO2 ) power cycle is considered to be an advanced power cycle using ScCO2 as the
working fluid. ScCO2 is environmentally nontoxic, benign, and
with desirable heat and mass transfer properties [31], [32].
In general, ScCO2 power cycles offer a better overall plant
economics because of higher efficiency over a moderate range
of heat source temperatures. A huge advantage of the ScCO2
cycle includes having a compact size, fewer components, and
smaller turbo machinery. When temperature and pressure reach
their critical points (31 C and 73 atm), Carbon dioxide is at
its supercritical fluid state, where it has both gas and liquid
qualities (see Fig. 8). Theoretically, any heat source above this
temperature can sustain a ScCO2 power generation cycle.

Fig. 8. Phase diagram for CO2 .

In [32], Dostal et al. examined a basic supercritical recompression carbon dioxide Brayton cycle with ScCO2 with
a second high-temperature recuperator, a dual ScCO2 cycle,
combined ScCO2 and ORC with four different types of running
fluids. The summary of efficiencies they reached for each cycle
is presented in Table II.
As seen, they observed efficiency of 43.31%, which is close
to the thermal efficiency found for a supercritical Rankine cycle
in [33]. Table III shows a cost comparison between different
mechanical methods to generate power [23], [34][36].
About 90 MJ/yr of waste heat is uncovered in the United
States cement industry. These wastes can be avoided by increasing the process efficiency and use in cogenerating processes.
WHR is feasible for a cement industry, and it can offer about
6 MW of electric power for a typical cement plant. Moreover,
by reusing the waste heat and lowering the temperature of exhaust gases, the amount of CO2 emissions will be significantly
lowered. It is estimated that 280 000 MW could be generated
from recyclable waste heat savings of $70 billion to $150 billion
per year.
The preheater and clinker cooler exhaust gases are the two
main sources of heat recovery systems, whereas capturing heat
from clinker cooler will provide more options to increase the
efficiency. There are several methods to utilize the waste heat
and generate power. There are several factors affecting the
feasibility of heat recovery such as heat quantity, heat quality,
composition of the stream, and minimum allowable temperature. These factors have a significant effect of design criteria
and efficiency of WHR systems.
Four methods for transferring mechanical work into electrical power were discussed in this paper, namely, steam,





organic Rankine, and Kalina cycles. Based on the work of

Karellas et al., water-steam cycles have higher efficiency compared with ORC systems and are capable of producing more
electricity. Other studies showed that because of the binary fluid
nature of the Kalina cycle, it has significantly higher efficiency
than the steam cycle and the ORC. The devices that have been
designed for the ScCO2 power cycle are much smaller than
those for other cycles. Moreover, as the critical point of CO2 is
very low compared with other fluids, these cycles can run with
relatively lower ranges of temperature. The advantages of the
ScCO2 power cycle compared with other methods have given
the idea of green leading to new solutions for energy addition
and extraction [37], [38].

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Ali Amiri received the Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran,
and the M.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering,
with a thesis on carbon-fiber-reinforced composites
and their fatigue behavior, from the University of
North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA, in 2012. He is
currently working toward the Ph.D. degree at North
Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA, conducting research on the characterization and development
of bio-based reinforced composites.
He is currently a Research Assistant with North
Dakota State University. He has served a total of seven years in the cement
industry. Throughout his career, he has been part of different design teams such
as five international cement projects, five turn-key projects, and ten upgrade
projects. He has also executed more than 45 Kiln Laser Alignment Projects
along with roller and gear adjustments as the team leader. Some other fields
of experience include working as a Technical Office Manager, a Machinery
Installation Supervisor, a Manufacturing Supervisor, and a Project Lead Engineer. During his career and graduate studies, he has published multiple papers
and presented several technical papers at different conferences.


Mohammad Rahim Vaseghi was born in Shiraz,

Iran, in 1966. He received the Bachelors degree in
polymer engineering from Amirkabir University of
Technology, Tehran, Iran, the M.Sc. degree from
Loughborough University, Loughborough, U.K., and
the Ph.D. degree from Bournemouth University,
Poole, U.K. His thesis involved the new termination
for heavy-duty man-made fiber ropes in marine applications and oil platforms.
In 2002, he joined F&K Cement Engineering Services in international affairs. He is also the General
Manager of Denax Trading Company (UAE) and works as an Analyst and an
Advisor for the Iranian Ministry of Industry. He has been recently appointed as
a Member of the Board of Ehdasse Sanat Corporation, Iran. He is also the Vice
President for Research and Technology with Islamic Azad University of Shiraz,
Shiraz, as an Associate Professor. He applied for two international patents and
published various technical papers during his studies.
Dr. Vaseghi has attended several seminars and conferences and presented a
number of technical papers about the Iranian and regional cement industry and
its outlook during a four-year period. He has chaired a few conferences such as
the 4th Asian Cement Conference 2006 and the 3rd Middle East and Africa
Cement Markets 2008. He is also an English Editor of the Iranian Cement