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Title: Design of Refractory Linings for Balanced Energy Efficiency, Uptime, and Capacity in Lime Kilns

The rotary kilns used by the pulp and paper industry to regenerate lime in the Kraft process are very energy intensive. Throughout the 90 s, in response to increasing fuel prices, the industry used back up insulation in conjunction with the high alumina brick used to line the burning zones of their kilns. While this improved energy efficiency, the practice of installing insulating brick behind the working lining increased the inner wall temperatures. In the worst case, due to the increased temperatures, rapid brick failures occurred causing unscheduled outages and expensive repairs. Despite these issues, for the most part, the industry continued to use insulating refractory linings in that the energy savings were large enough to offset any increase in the cost of maintaining the refractory lining. Due to the dramatic decline in the price of natural gas in some areas combined with mounting pressures to increasing production of existing assets, over the last decade, many mills are focusing more on increasing the uptime of their kilns as opposed to energy savings. To this end, a growing number of mills are using basic (magnesia based) brick instead of high alumina brick to line the burning zone of the kiln sincemore » the lime mud does not react with these bricks at the operating temperatures of the burning zone of the kiln. In the extreme case, a few mills have chosen to install basic brick in the front end of the kiln running a length equivalent to 10 diameters. While the use of basic brick can increase the uptime of the kiln and reduce the cost to maintain the refractory lining, it does dramatically increase the heat losses resulting from the increased operating temperatures of the shell. Also, over long periods of time operating at these high temperatures, damage can occur in the shell. There are tradeoffs between energy efficiency, capacity and uptime. When fuel prices are very high, it makes sense to insulate the lining. When fuel prices are lower, trading some thermal efficiency for increased uptime and capacity seems reasonable. This paper considers a number of refractory linings in an effort to develop optimized operating strategies that balance these factors. In addition to considering a range of refractory materials, the paper examines other factors such as the chain area, discharge dams and other operating variables that impact the service life of the refractory lining. The paper provides recommendations that will help mill personnel develop a strategy to select a refractory lining that is optimized for their specific situation.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. ORNL
  2. Refratechnik North America, Inc.
  3. Australian Paper, Co.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2014 TAPPI PEERS Conference, Tacoma, WA, USA, 20140914, 20140917
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
EE USDOE - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Kilns; Kraft Pulping; Refractory Lining; High Alumina Bricks; Magnesia Rich Spinel Bricks; Fire Clay Bricks; Computational Modeling