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The Harsh Reality: Replacing Coal with Biofuels in Lime Kilns

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Kumar Wagri recently highlighted the need for internal shells to withstand high temperatures in industrial furnaces, boilers, and incinerators. These linings, often made of ceramic materials, protect against chemical attacks and high temperatures. The industries utilizing these refractory liners range from metallurgy to energy sectors.

In some industrial processes, the degradation of refractory materials due to high temperatures and chemical interactions poses a significant problem. Corrosion occurs if molten fuel ash infiltrates the refractories through pores and cracks. Such wear and tear necessitate shutdowns for lining replacements, causing production losses and costly maintenance.

With limestone burned to lime at over 1,000°C in lime kilns, Kumar Wagri studied how the shift to biofuels impacts lining materials. The aim was to understand the effects of replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives in lime kilns.

Biofuels sourced from bio-based waste streams or specific cultivation present challenges due to their problematic ash content and properties from an ash chemistry perspective. Therefore, it’s crucial to investigate potential effects on furnace lining materials before integrating a new fuel source.

Wagri’s research revealed that ash slag infiltration into lining materials leads to microstructure alterations and subsequent degradation. Notably, the problem is more prevalent when using biofuels due to their varying chemistry.

“The next step could include the examination of other biomass fuels and diverse refractory qualities,” shared the researcher.


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