The Flagship Projects for Reducing CO₂ Emissions in the Industrial Sector programme run by the German Energy Agency (dena) aims to promote exemplary initiatives and activities in a variety of industrial sectors, including the castings industry. Companies such as ACO Guss and Harz Guss Zorge have been involved in this effort.
The flagship projects in question span a wide range of different approaches around to how to implement investments to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner. These were hand-picked by dena from around 70 projects in Germany on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) in collaboration with industry associations such as the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI), the German Plastics Packaging Industry Association (IK), the Federal Association of the German Glass Industry (BV Glas) and the German Foundry Association (BDG). In total, the flagship projects selected contribute to saving around 90,000 tonnes of CO₂ a year.
Since the end of 2022, ACO Guss has also been involved in the flagship projects. The castings company plans to increase energy efficiency in its business by changing the processes for waste heat utilisation. This allows it to reduce energy consumption, distribute heat internally and integrate additional sources of waste heat. The excess heat generated during the process is supplied to a neighbouring residential area.
Specifically, the waste heat from the induction melting furnaces is decoupled by retrofitting heat exchangers. This provides around 2.5 MW in waste heat output, which is used for environmentally friendly heating by the newly built residential area. This requires decoupling the transformer cooling system from the cooling circuit for the melting furnaces, which increases the usable waste heat temperature to 65°C. In addition, the company is planning to completely convert its internal heating network to waste heat in the medium term, which will reduce natural gas consumption.
In September, Harz Guss Zorge also joined the ranks of those operating the flagship projects. The company has set an ambitious target of reducing its CO₂ emissions by 50% by 2030. This journey began with replacing existing compressed air generators with high-efficiency models featuring heat recovery and replacing standard pumps with high-efficiency pumps. In addition, implementing a camera system to improve dosing accuracy led to a reduction in the amount of molten metal used.
Energy savings were also achieved by using a more efficient oxy-fuel burner for ladle heating and optimising the electric drives in the core shop’s hydraulic system. The business also plans to use waste heat from its cupola furnace to create an environmentally friendly core drying process. Additional optimisation efforts are focusing on the company’s burner technology and its transition to the use of biogenic coke. To increase energy efficiency, it also intends to have a PV system installed so that it can generate its own electricity. All in all, these measures are expected to yield energy savings to the tune of at least 6,000 MWh and a reduction of over 3,000 t of CO₂ per year.