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Implementing ESPs For Efficient Pollution Control

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World Cement,

Bjarke Ove Andersen, FLSmidth, shows how an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) can outperform fabric filters (FF) in clinker cooler applications in terms of cost-effectiveness and environmental impact.

Some readers may not be aware that an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) could be a more cost-effective long-term option than fabric filters (FF) for clinker cooler applications whilst also offering a significantly lower CO2 footprint.

Many people in the cement industry have dismissed ESPs as outdated technology that has been surpassed by the superior performance of fabric filters – but this is no longer true. And with energy costs rising, ESPs developed with the latest cutting-edge technology actually present a more affordable option, with lower energy consumption, reduced maintenance, and a lot less work.

Evolving technology

Over the years, FLSmidth has continuously improved the design of its ESPs so that they can continue to meet increasingly stringent emission requirements and also keep the physical layout as compact as possible. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling helps to design the optimal gas and dust distribution, enabling 100% utilisation of the installed collection area. This, combined with extensive process know-how and specifically-developed technology, reduces the equipment footprint and thereby results in a more compact plant layout – which in turn – minimises installation costs. Despite the more compact design, FLSmidth still ensure sufficient safety in design to be able to handle increased loads and still operate under the original guarantee values.

As a result of these efforts, these ESPs can now achieve dust emissions well below 5 mg/Nm3.

The technology has been proven in more than 4000 installations for applications within cement, pulp and paper, iron and steel, and metallurgical production. These customers have benefitted from:

  • Reduced dust emissions
  • A compact footprint
  • Reliable dust emissions control
  • Low and simple maintenance demands

In some cases, these are new installations and in others they are upgrades, which we can perform on any ESP, regardless of the original supplier. In every instance, the ESP is configured to meet the specific needs of the application.

Energy consumption

It is easy to assume that equipment with ‘electro’ in its name is going to be power-hungry. But while it is true that ESPs do require energy for charging and capturing the dust particles, it is also true that they require less than fabric filters.

The ID fan must overcome the pressure drop through the filters. The pressure drop over a baghouse is around 1500 Pa, whereas with an ESP it is more like 150 Pa, resulting in a significantly lower energy consumption for the ID fan. Cleaning filter bags is an essential but abrasive and energy-dense process requiring compressed air. The ESP requires no compressed air at all. The FLSmidth ESP can operate continuously at up to 400°C, which eliminates the need for a heat exchanger (HEX) and the associated power consumption for cooling. All things considered, the energy consumption is typically 33 – 44% lower for an ESP solution depending on the emission limit. In times of high energy prices, there are big savings to be made with an ESP compared to fabric filters.

The numbers are based on a recent project in Spain and presented in relative terms.

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