Thermal analysis and energy efficiency improvements in tunnel kiln for sustainable environment

Syed Ali Hussnain, Muhammad Farooq*, Muhammad Amjad, Fahid Riaz, Zia Ur Rehman Tahir, Muhammad Sultan, Ijaz Hussain, Muhammad Ali Shakir, Muhammad Abdul Qyyum*, Ning Han*, Awais Bokhari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Kiln is a prime need in the ceramics industry, where energy loss is a major part which consumes about 60% production cost through thermal energy for different applications. Higher density of fired and tunnel kiln refractory material lowers the thermal diffusivity and the proper selection of fired material minimizes the energy loss along the kiln. In particular, this research analysed the results of a heat recovery system comprised of a metallic recuperator which gives around 8% energy savings in natural gas consumption. In this work, detailed power quality analysis of low-power factor motors of a tunnel kiln was carried out and a power factor improvement solution was suggested to save electrical energy with payback period of 0.8 y. The motor operating at a lowpower factor consumes more reactive power which does not produce beneficial work. A low-power factor around 0.4 causes network power loss, increases in transformer loss and voltage drops. The solution with accumulative capacitance power of 148.05 uF was installed to achieve the power factor to 0.9. Flu gas analyzer was installed to monitor the range of O2 in pre-heating, oxidation, and firing zones of the kiln which should be ≥8% and 3%, respectively. Regression analysis for thermal energy consumption of a tunnel kiln is done to find the forecast thermal energy consumption. This analysis can be used to find operational efficiency, supporting decisions regarding dependent variable of thermal energy consumption and independent variable of production. This research is very helpful for the ceramics industry to mitigate the energy loss at SMEs as well as in mass production level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1629
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Energy efficiency
  • Power quality analysis
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Thermal analysis
  • Tunnel kiln

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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