Whether we want to admit it or not, the industry is facing challenges. From reducing CO2 emissions to finding reliable raw material suppliers, even with cement remaining a vital substance for modern housing and infrastructure needs, it’s more important than ever to cut costs where we can. That’s where grinding comes in.
As it stands, comminution processes currently account for about 55 percent of electrical energy in cement production.1 Improving grinding efficiency for both cement and raw material will produce cost-effective results for years to come. As with most methods, these three come with pros as well as cons.
Professionals in the industry often turn to their mixture recipes first for ways to reduce energy use. Adding appropriate materials during the grinding process can help reduce energy use; however, changing up your recipes is never easy. You risk concrete performance with early-age strength and questionable longevity.
High pressure grinding rolls
Research suggests that impact velocity improves energy efficiency in comminution processes.2 High pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) are ideal for keeping energy demands low for many cement grinding systems because these systems take advantage of impact velocity metrics. HPGR require multiple tests and measurements to achieve workable results. If other variables are introduced into the cement mixture, tests will have to begin again. Further, realizing high velocities isn’t easy and energy savings may not be obvious.
Many accept the energy-saving value associated with grinding cement separately before binding. This allows for the most control of the final product. The issue here is the extra time and equipment required. While the up-front investment may seem greater, the long-term savings seem to be well documented. Additionally, this method doesn’t appear to have any negative impact on concrete performance.
Whatever method you choose, you’re sure to see a reduction in energy consumption. Research continues for comminution processes, and we’re still figuring the ins and outs of this 2,000-year-old material as technology improves.
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- M. Schneider, M. Romer, M. Tschudin, H. Bolio, Sustainable cement production—present and future, Cement and Concrete Research 41 (7) (2011) 642-650
- S. Sadrai, J. Meech, D. Tromans, F. Sassani, Energy efficient comminution under high velocity impact fragmentation, Minerals Engineering 24 (10) (2011) 1053-1061