Artificial intelligence helps cut emissions and costs in cement plants

AI can help optimize energy consumption and throughput of cement kilns and mills by improving equipment productivity in view of rising environmental concerns and CO2 costs.

Worldwide, more than 2,200 cement plants consume enormous amounts of fuel and electric energy—and produce approximately 5 percent of all global CO₂ emissions. Cement plant owners are under intensifying pressure to curb emissions and benefit from more efficient and profitable plants. Still, they have a long way to go.

Significant fluctuations and performance volatility in throughput, energy usage, and other operating parameters of up to 50 percent from average or more remain. Such situations persist largely because conventional automation and control systems have reached their limits for handling inherently unstable chemical process–type operations.

Our research shows that applying artificial intelligence (AI) to heavy manufacturing holds great promise (exhibit). In fact, one plant’s application of AI in its autonomous mode resulted in throughput and energy efficiency improvement rates of up to 10 percent. As a result, profits increased from additional revenues and reduced energy, as well as reduced CO2 emissions.

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