Sustainability - March 2020

More efficient kilns

Saving energy with new burner technology

The manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances is one of the most energy-intensive production processes at Geberit. In recent years, significant savings were made in this area thanks to the use of a new technology.

A total of ten kilns in seven ceramics plants have been fitted with the energy-saving Enervit burner technology of the Keramischer Ofenbau GmbH. By retrofitting the kilns, Geberit was able to achieve energy savings of more than 20% per plant.

Energy consumption reduced by one-fifth
In total, this corresponds to some 27,500 MWh of natural gas and 6,500 tonnes of CO2 every year. For better understanding, around 1,500 four-person households with a living space of 120 sqm could be heated and supplied with hot water for one year using this energy.

«The Enervit technology has completely impressed me. In Ekenäs, we live directly on the sea. Awareness of nature and the environment is high here. It is great when we can contribute something specific and useful to environmental protection in our plant.»
Karl-Eric Wikström, Technical Manager Operations at the plant in Ekenäs (FI)

Saving energy and preventing CO2
The process is as follows: the ceramic sanitary appliances are fired and given their final shape and strength in the tunnel kilns. A temperature of around 1,200 °C is required here. A ceramic sanitary appliance passes through the kiln in 15 hours on average. What is special about these tunnel kilns is that they are in operation 24 hours a day throughout the year, apart from certain days required for maintenance. The firing process contributes to around two-thirds of the entire energy consumption in the ceramics plants. The firing procedure in the kiln involves different temperature zones, with the hottest temperatures seen in the middle. In order to optimise the energy consumption, the kilns were fitted with new burners that have a significantly higher level of efficiency. Moreover, part of the warm air that is channelled off during the cooling process is reused in the pre-heating zone and in the firing process in the centre of the kiln.

This is an exemplary project in demonstrating how energy can be saved and CO2 emissions prevented.