ABB helps CEMEX improve cement plant sulfur dioxide emission control


Building a greener world from the ground up

Cement is literally the foundation on which the world is built. As a global leader in building materials, CEMEX knows that the construction industry demands that cement also help create a foundation for a greener planet by being manufactured in environmentally friendly ways. With its plant in Rüdersdorf, CEMEX seeks to lead the way in sustainable cement processing. 

According to CEMEX, limestone has been mined and processed into building materials in Germany’s Rüdersdorf region for more than 750 years. The first lime kilns were built there as early as the 16th century, while cement production began in 1885. 

A rock-solid commitment to sustainability

Raw material preparation, milling and kiln operations can be significant producers of sulfur dioxide. Increased regulations means that producers are on the hook for major fines for every emissions violation. In order to meet their operating targets and reduce the risk of violations, CEMEX worked with ABB to reduce deviations around its daily SO2 emission targets for its Rüdersdorf plant.

ABB Ability Expert Optimizer is an advanced process control application that uses model predictive control, fuzzy logic and neural networks to optimize cement plant operations. CEMEX uses ABB Ability Expert Optimizer at its Rüdersdorf plant to minimize the effects of variability in its feed and fuel sources, making it simple to establish the advanced process control techniques required to reduce SO2 emission variability.
CEMEX uses ABB Ability Expert Optimizer to automatically optimize the short-term exhaust SO2 target based on the current daily average. Two optimization modes allow the operator to select either normal or aggressive optimization based on whether to target the daily average below the limit at the end of the day or within the next 30 minutes. ABB Ability Expert Optimizer automatically adjusts the multiple feeder points of lime hydrate to ensure the SO2 and HCL targets are stringently met.

Success set in stone

Thanks to ABB Ability Expert Optimizer, CEMEX minimized standard deviation while reducing deviation around the operating target for daily SO2 emission. In addition, it helped reduce overall hydrate consumption in the plant by 11%, optimizing its use of materials.

“Previously, we found it difficult juggling all the hydrate injection points with other pressing plant distractions. Now it is all handled by Expert Optimizer.”

Wolfgang Schulz, Plant Operator at CEMEX

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