South African Journal of Industrial Engineering
On-line version ISSN 1012-277X
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of the ilmenite smelting process from which titania slag and pig iron are produced. Prior to this project, the CO at Tronox KZN Sands in South Africa was burnt to get rid of it, producing carbon dioxide (CO2). At this plant, unprocessed materials are pre-heated using methane gas from an external supplier. The price of methane gas has increased significantly; and so this research considers the possibility of recycling CO gas and using it as an energy source to reduce methane gas demand. It is not possible to eliminate the methane gas consumption completely due to the energy demand fluctuation, and sub-plants have been assigned either CO gas or methane gas over time. Switching the gas supply between CO and methane gas involves production downtime to purge supply lines. Minimising the loss of production time while maximising the use of CO arose as a multi-objective optimisation problem (MOP) with seven decision variables, and computer simulation was used to evaluate scenarios. We applied computer simulation and the multi-objective optimisation cross-entropy method (MOO CEM) to find good solutions while evaluating the minimum number of scenarios. The proposals in this paper, which are in the process of being implemented, could save the company operational expenditure while reducing the carbon footprint of the smelter.