Energy Optimization in Industrial Kilns with Nutec Bickley Energy Recovery Systems

Nutec Bickley’s industrial kilns are specially designed to optimize energy efficiency by various means, one of the main opportunities being the recuperation of heat normally lost through the exhaust flue during the combustion process.

With the goal of taking this a step further – increasing the potential for the use and transfer of process heat – the company has developed new technologies for its energy recovery systems (ERS). These system enhancements allow users to recover waste heat and reuse it both in the kiln and in other plant processes, instead of simply exhausting it to atmosphere.

Nutec Bickley

How do Nutec Bickley’s kiln ERS systems work?

The energy that is introduced into the kiln via the burners is typically used to heat the kiln walls, the product, the kiln furniture and the kiln cars. The remaining energy is usually lost in what is known as ‘loss to atmosphere’.

Nutec Bickley’s heat recuperation systems seek to achieve the reuse of the energy carried by the gases that normally exit through the flue, in order to reduce gas consumption in a typical industrial heating process.


The temperature of the kiln’s discharge gases is 1,000°C (1,830°F); when heat recuperation takes place, the temperature reduces to 400°C (750°F), demonstrating that in reducing losses to atmosphere, more heat is being retained in the product/process, thereby achieving a more efficient operation.

This is extremely valuable for customers, since an ERS can generate 25-30% savings in energy consumption.

Heat recovery systems

At Nutec Bickley offers three types of kiln ERS, each with different capacities and costs, tailored to the individual customer’s requirements:

1. Heat exchangers

Typically, Nutec Bickley installs these in the kiln flues where, via an indirect heat exchange, the kiln combustion air can be preheated to temperatures up to 500°C (930°F).

A couple of advantages offered by this system are that the preheated air that is injected into the kiln is clean and can be used for the combustion process; and the system can be used with all Nutec Bickley combustion systems, including IMPS®.

2. Self-recuperative burners

This system achieves higher temperatures than preheated air produced via the heat exchanger method, reaching up to 750°C (1,380°F).

Each self-recuperative burner has its own heat exchanger, leading to 10-30% energy savings over a system using a central heat exchanger.

Self-recuperative burners are compatible with Nutec Bickley’s IMPS® system.

3. Regenerative burners

These represent the most efficient form of energy recovery in industrial kilns, as they can preheat combustion air to temperatures ranging from 900-1,000°C (1,650-1,830°F).

The burners need to be installed in pairs. However, a limitation on these burners is that they can only be used in applications characterized by high temperature and heat capacity.


Benefits offered by Nutec Bickley’s ERS technology

Nutec Bickley ERS prevents wasted energy and returns large quantities of energy back into the system, offering major advantages to customers, such as:

  • Systems compatible with all types of continuous and shuttle kilns
  • Easy maintenance
  • No adverse effects on product quality
  • Operation with all Nutec Bickley combustion systems
  • Dramatic reduction in energy costs
  • Not only for use in new kilns, but also suitable for refurbishments
  • Nutec Bickley’s high-level expertise and reliable performance, plus the company’s wide-ranging experience in kiln construction

Nutec Bickley will be exhibiting at Ceramics Expo 2020 in Booth 438.