Two thirds of the energy used in industry is consumed by process heat. With an annual consumption of several thousand megawatt hours and high CO2 emissions, a large part of this is attributable to the manufacture of metal products. Due to a high energy loss in induction heaters resulting from the creation of a magnetic field by copper coils and alternating current, the heating methods used today can only achieve a maximum energy efficiency of 50%.
The RoWaMag project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), employs superconducting magnetic heaters to achieve efficiencies of 70%. The robust and low-maintenance magnetic heater RoWaMag will in future be put into service in a billet furnace used for the production of extruded profiles. There it heats the metal using a built-in, high-temperature superconductor (HTS) magnet and second-generation HTS conductors. The magnetic heater will feature a compact design and a stable cooling system for trouble-free operation in the event of cooler failure. The objective is to achieve a significant increase in production efficiency and to substantially reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
If RoWaMag is successfully implemented, the 160 German extrusion plants alone could save up to 55,000 MWh of electricity annually, which would correspond to a 30% increase in efficiency. In addition, CO2 emissions in this sector could be reduced by more than 30,000 tons per year.
In addition to the company THEVA, which is responsible for manufacturing the HTS and developing the magnetic coil, Bültmann GmbH, Beck Maschinenfabrik GmbH and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will also be involved in developing the heater over the next three years.