Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Furno

Transforming cement production with cleaner kilns

Property & Construction

The novel system is designed for rapid deployment and use with a range of raw materials

Spotted: The International Energy Agency (IEA) identifies “energy and material efficiency” and “low-emissions fuels” as key short-term measures to cut carbon emissions from cement production processes. One company putting those suggestions into practice is California-based Furno.

The company has created a modular, carbon-neutral, and scalable cement production plant. Rather than spend 10 years raising money to build a huge new plant, Furno’s kiln and combustion technology makes local, smaller-scale cement production possible in the near term. And the modularity of the system enables producers and other businesses to scale production on demand, rather than years from now.

Furno’s system works with recycled concrete and any number of new and traditional materials. An X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer analyses the composition of the materials and therefore their suitability for cement production. Depending on the elements present in the mix, the Furno team adds small amounts of additional materials to optimise the clinker.

After being ground, the material undergoes four stages of chemical reactions inside the kiln, with an algorithm applying intense heat at precisely the moment it is needed. Part of the reason traditional cement production is so environmentally costly is the amount of fuel the processes use to maintain the required high temperatures. With Furno’s system, the heat is maximised at the most effective stage, helping to reduce production’s overall emissions.

And to further increase efficiencies in the system, the kiln’s design enables direct use or storage of carbon emissions without needing additional machinery or carbon capture add-ons. The system also completely eliminates the production of environmentally damaging sulfur and nitrogen oxides and runs on a variety of different fuels. The ability to use a range of different sources of power is a deliberate design decision as it enables flexibility, helping to future-proof the system.

The clinker produced in Furno’s kiln is performance-certified to global standards, and the company recently introduced its Furno Brick for businesses wanting a finished product. Furno’s oversubscribed seed funding round that raised $6.5 million (around €7.6 million) will help the company continue to refine its processes and adapt to new materials and power sources.

Other innovations in Springwise’s library that are contributing to the clean-up of heavy industry include greener lubricants for machinery and a new method of storing and releasing power.

Written By: Keely Khoury



Download PDF