Autopilot of Cement Plants for Reduction of Fuel Consumption and Emissions (Deployed Track)

Prabal Acharyya (Petuum Inc); Sean D Rosario (Petuum Inc); Roey Flor (Petuum Inc); Ritvik Joshi (Petuum Inc); Dian Li (Petuum Inc); Roberto Linares (Petuum Inc); Hongbao Zhang (Petuum Inc)

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The cement manufacturing industry is an essential component of the global economy and infrastructure. However, cement plants inevitably produce hazardous air pollutants, including greenhouse gases, and heavy metal emissions as byproducts of the process. Byproducts from cement manufacturing alone accounts for approximately 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We have developed "Autopilot" - a machine learning based Software as a Service (SaaS) to learn manufacturing process dynamics and optimize the operation of cement plants - in order to reduce the overall fuel consumption and emissions of cement production. Autopilot is able to increase the ratio of alternative fuels (including biowaste and tires) to Petroleum coke, while optimizing operation of pyro, the core process of cement production that includes the preheater, kiln and cooler. Emissions of gases such as NOx and SOx, and heavy metals such as mercury and lead which are generated through burning petroleum coke can be reduced through the use of Autopilot. Our system has been proven to work in real world deployments and an analysis of cement plant performance with Autopilot enabled shows energy consumption savings and a decrease of up to 28,000 metric tons of CO2 produced per year.