05. March 2021

RECENDT, LKR: Key Technologies for Energy-efficient Industry

Increased energy efficiency in drying processes and the “green foundry of the future” – research centres from the UAR Innovation Network are playing a leading role in these two new projects being carried out within the framework of the “New Energy for Industry (NEFI)” innovation network.

Industrial production without fossil fuels is the ambitious aim pursued by the NEFI (New Energy for Industry) initiative which includes significant contributions from Upper Austria. Key technologies from the province are to be used to enable decarbonization of the industrial energy system. Upper Austria’s prominent role is underlined by its lead management of a total of five NEFI projects that were approved in the most recent nationwide call for grant applications. Two of the projects are lead managed by research centres from the UAR Innovation Network.

The project EDDY focuses on increasing energy efficiency in drying processes. In industry, drying processes are widespread and energy-intensive: in EU countries they account for 10–25% of industrial energy consumption. To make drying as efficient as possible it is important to know how damp the material to be dried is so that the final point can be determined. On this project the Upper Austrian research institution RECENDT is developing innovative, low-cost sensors which will be implemented in two processes in the food industry. With the aid of numerical simulation methods provided by the AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) that show the drying process in detail, the energy budget of the processes can be optimized and appropriate operating strategies developed and implemented. This makes considerable reductions in power consumption and emissions possible.

On the project envIoTcast the “green foundry of the future” is being developed in which fossil energy sources are completely replaced. A demo factory is under construction on the premises of the Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen (LKR) in which a new energy concept for aluminium diecasting will be demonstrated. Energy efficiency is increased considerably by means of high-temperature insulation, conformal cooling and a completely new concept for using waste heat with PCMs and high-temperature heat pumps. This makes it possible to replace the fossil fuel natural gas entirely with renewables such as green electricity, biomass and green hydrogen as primary energy sources. A modern process guidance system based on augmented reality opens up a completely new way of controlling the entire green foundry and of displaying its data. The demo factory is available to the entire metalworking industry for tests.

(c) Upper Austrian Research GmbH