Energy Saving and Fuel Switching Opportunities in Tabor Ceramic Products Share Company

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Addis Ababa University


Ceramics is defined as inorganic, non-metallic materials those are consolidated and acquire their desired properties under the application of heat. This application of heat in practice takes place inside high-temperature kilns, usually for long period of time making ceramics energy intensive industry. Tabor Ceramic Products Share Company is traditional ceramic manufacturing and energy intensive industry as it produces tiles, sanitary ware and tableware products. It is the only ceramics producing company in Ethiopia located in southern part of the country in Hawasa town. Due to high energy cost from total production cost and using highly inefficient kilns and other energy using equipments the company is in financial crisis. The growing need for ceramic products due to development of the country, increasing fuel cost from time to time and well known energy saving practices in European and Asian ceramic industries which can be easily adapted to our countries ceramic plant as well as the fact that the company is in real need of ways which can reduce its energy cost have necessitated this study. Several energy saving opportunities in the tabor ceramics factory are obtained by this research and can be directly implemented in the factory. It is tried to classify some of energy saving options based on cost of implementing them and this is done by estimating the capital cost and annual cost of operation as well as saving that could be achieved by implementing the saving option and by calculating the payback period of the measures. The result of the current research has showed that more saving can be achieved by investing more on identified energy saving opportunities. Actually it is not to deny that there are no cost energy saving options that can increase the profitability of the company if implemented and priority should be given to these saving measures. Energy saving measures identified by the current research like reducing thermal mass of existing kiln cars, installing new modern low thermal mass kiln cars, recovering waste heat from cooling zone of tunnel kilns especially from glost kiln, installing high speed burners in kilns, avoiding dummy firing in tunnel kilns, reducing loss of products at each step of production, applying monitoring and targeting system etc can be implemented with low cost there by resulting in huge energy saving which can pay back the investment cost in less than two years time, for most of them the payback period being below one year. But above all the energy saving opportunity that can make tabor ceramics factory competent in local as well as in world market by greatly reducing its specific energy consumption i.e. energy consumed to produce one ton of ceramic products, is introducing the technology of single fast firing by installing roller kiln for tiles production. This measure will require substantial investment cost and change in process and the reward will be very high; saving of about 50% with payback period of below three years. Finally by considering the technology and trained man power availability of the country it is discovered that it is possible to save energy equivalent to at least 424,429liters of kerosene or about 6million birr [kerosene cost 14birr per liter when this research is done] annually. The major fuel switching opportunities identified by current research and to be applied in Tabor Ceramics Factory are mainly focused on switching to cheaper fuels that can be obtained within Ethiopia thereby saving the foreign currency the country expends to import petroleum fuels. According to the researcher this can be achieved by using Ethiopian coal as fuel in spry drier which currently uses gasoil, effectively recovering heat from cooling zones of kilns to supply heat required for drying sanitary wares to save fuel used in boilers to produce hot water for mentioned purpose, and as there is plan that Ethiopia will be commercially producing natural gas in coming six years it is wise decision to switch fuel of kilns from current kerosene to natural gas. This will have multi-benefit as experiences from developed countries shows that they have already done this measure because natural gas is environmentally friendly fuel than other solid and liquid fuels and in our case it will save foreign currency for fuel of kilns when produced in Ethiopia.



Tabor Ceramic, Energy Saving, Fuel Switching