The cement industry includes energy-intensive processes, e.g., clinker rotary kilns and clinker grate coolers. Clinker is obtained through chemical and physical reactions in a rotary kiln from raw meal; these reactions also involve combustion processes. The grate cooler is located downstream of the clinker rotary kiln with the purpose of suitably cooling the clinker. The clinker is cooled through the action of multiple cold air fan units as it is transported within the grate cooler. The present work describes a project where Advanced Process Control techniques are applied to a clinker rotary kiln and a clinker grate cooler. Model Predictive Control was selected as the main control strategy. Linear models with delays are obtained through ad hoc plant experiments and suitably included in the controllers' formulation. A cooperation and coordination policy is introduced between the kiln and the cooler controllers. The main objectives of the controllers are to control the rotary kiln and grate cooler critical process variables while minimizing the fuel/coal specific consumption of the kiln and the electric energy consumption of the cold air fan units within the cooler. The overall control system was installed on the real plant, obtaining significant results in terms of service factor and control and energy-saving performances.
Advanced Process Control for Clinker Rotary Kiln and Grate Cooler / Zanoli, Silvia Maria; Pepe, Crescenzo; Astolfi, Giacomo. - In: SENSORS. - ISSN 1424-8220. - 23:5(2023), p. 2805. [10.3390/s23052805]