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AB | Case History





COGENER IN BRICK-MAN COMPANIE A SYSTEM THAT IMPLEMENTS AN ENERGY SAVING AND ECO-COMATIBLE PRODUCTION. Wienerberger, world-wide leader in the research, designing and production of bricks, has been orientating its company philosophy towards ecosustainability for years, putting itself at the service of the most advanced bioindustry. An ethic also imposed by the Italian branches of the company in view of the requirement to give consistency to these principles, not only with regard to product characteristics, but also in production methods. A need to which Wienerberger in the establishment of Bubano (BO) has answered with the installation of a cogeneration system. A solution processed after careful research by the company for a partner able to supply suitable consultancy and services, resolved by choosing AB for the designing, installing and assistance service. Cogeneration is the energy optimisation system that allows minimising costs and reducing CO2 emissions, without giving up the large amount of energy power the brick companies require for their production factory. AB technology allows Wienerberger to give concreteness to the environmental aims to which it dedicates commitment and image from time, giving continuity to the high realisation and drying of bricks, protecting their quality.

The Wienerberger managers are aware of the fact that the economical and environmental saving determined by the use of a cogeneration system are factors able to make a difference in economical terms, as well as in the public opinion: two strategical aspects for a modern and advantageous industrial policy. “The production of bricks in Italy uses, almost in full (95%), natural gas as energy source for the drying and firing of the material: over one million m³ of gas, approximately 40,000 tonnes of fuel oil and 10.000 of carbon. Approximately 1.33 TWh is the electric energy used, of which only 3% (40 million kWh) is self-produced: there are twenty furnaces per brick where a cogeneration system is present. Furthermore, an always greater attention is given to the certification of the quality and environment management systems. 36.3% of the systems, with a production of approximately 8.9 million tonnes, is handled in quality (43.1% of production is ISO UNI EN 9001 certified) and 14.8%, with a production of approximately 3.65 million tonnes, follows an environmental managing system (17.6% of production is ISO UNI EN 14001 certified).”




Wienerberger The Austrian Group Wienerberger has been producing high quality bricks for functionality and performance since 1819. First in Europe and second in the United States in the production of facing bricks and thermal brick blocks, today the company has acquired great international value, becoming part of the economical realities quoted on the stock exchange. With a turnover of over 2,225 billions of euros a year, the Wienerberger Group is still in continuous development, with the presence of over 200 establishments distributed in 26 nations in three continents: Europe,


berger: Group

EVOLVED BUILDING, CONSTRUCTIVE RESEARCH AND NEW TECHNIQUES FOR QUALITY LIFE. ≤ America and Asia. The introduction of the Group in Italy happened in 1995 with the purchase of the furnace La Feltrina in the province of Belluno. Since then, Wienerberger has developed in three establishments, as well as the one in Bubano (BO): in Villabruna di Feltre (BL), in Gattinara (VC) and in Terni. With a production that reaches 900 thousand tonnes of bricks a year, Wienerberger confirms its international position in Italy: at the top of the market sector, with specialisation in the building production for energy saving.




The Wienerberger establishment in Bubano, near Imola, has important production systems and it is also the registered office of the Italian company: it extends on a land surface equal to 206,000 m2, of which 38,600 covered, subdivided in two production systems and one clay extraction mine. There was already a 1MWe turbogas cogeneration system in the establishment, technologically obsolete (not realised by AB), which has been dismissed. The new system designed, realised and installed by AB supplies electric energy for the production systems and thermal energy specifically destined to drying the bricks. The exhaust gas flue are directly conveyed in the drying tunnel and the hot water preheats the mixing air through the use of two large air/water coils, structurally similar to those used in the automobile sector. The Wienerberger technicians had expressly requested a system with electric power of approximately 2,500 KWe. In particular, the applications for the dryers requested the use of hot flues. This explains why the original thought was a turbogas system. The AB specialises have realised a system able to do a lot more: to use hot water produced by the endothermic motor through the installation of air/water coils. It was particularly interesting that the Wienerberger technicians welcomed the proposal of AB that consists in a solution with external container instead of in the control unit.



Ecomax® 24 HE Fuel consumption



Introduced power



Electric power



Electric efficiency


Hot water Return hot water

°C °C kW

Direct recovery exhaust gas at 365°C

kg/h kW

Thermal efficiency



Total efficiency



44 90 71 1,231 14,401 1,442




AB SYSTEM FOR WIENERBERGER. SOME TECHNOLOGICAL AND OPERATIONAL FOCUSES. Among the most interesting and complex aspects with regard to the used technological solution, a specific focus goes to the designing of the connection with the dryer, both in terms of process and in terms of realisation. In fact, the dryer represents the only thermal utility of the system; it receives heat from the engine cooling circuit, through the pre-heating of inlet air through air/water coils, and through the engine flues circuit, in that the latter are injected directly in the drying duct. In view of the large amount of air handled by the dryer and the delicate thermal adjustment requested by the product (bricks), it was necessary to work with the designer of the dryer, as well the process designing and mechanical interface phase. Amendments to the same dryer have been conceived and realised, to establish the new exercise asset with the thermal recovery from the cogenerator. The system was also conceived to function on its own, following any black-outs.

Co2 emissions saved to the atmosphere per year (2,827 ton)

Petrol consumption avoided per year (1,285 tep)


The need to implement an energy saving and ecocompatible production, pushed Wienerberger to search for consultancy orientated at offering the best “turn key” solution, advantageous in terms of long term economical savings, but also for the ability to answer all expectations. The AB consultancy efficiently answered the specific requirements, up to the improvement of the important agreement for the realisation of a cogeneration system with modular solution Ecomax® 24HE with a working capacity of 7,800 hours/year, with high energy efficiency, seven days a week. The system had to be conceived to also perform the thermal energy supply function for the drying of the bricks, fundamental operation in the Wienerberger production process. Expressly requested by the client were the maximum performances of the system and an all inclusive assistance and maintenance service. The system was designed to develop a power equal to that requested, recovering thermal energy both through the conveying of output flues at approximately 360°C directly into the drying tunnel, and through the use of hot water recovered by the cooling circuit of the motor at approximately 90°C and destined to pre-heat the mixing air. The application of flues, instead of burners, allows a total efficiency well above the average. The system, equipped with a Jenbacher natural gas motor, guarantees an electric efficiency equal to 44% and an even higher thermo-electric efficiency, around 90%.









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THE SYSTEMS’ EFFICIENCY STATED BY THOSE USING IT. Interview to Sandro Stofella (Managing Director of Wienerberger).

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Why have you chosen cogeneration? What is the real benefit of a cogeneration system in the bricks industry? “We have always been committed in the total quality of our productions, which has pushed us to use the more rigorous control systems proposed by the Standards in force, certifying and protecting the reliability and safety of the Wienerberger brick. This quality would partially lack if we had not worried about the energy savings and the respect for the environment of our working processes. The cogeneration has allowed us, in the current price context and availability of the energy resources, to optimise the energy costs and, at the same time, integrate the system in our production cycle with further benefits in terms of functionality and economy. Furthermore, it has made the establishment potentially independent from the supply of driving force”. How has the AB system integrated with your engineering scenario and the energy dynamics already in your facility? “Wienerberger searched the market for a partner able to supply systems and services suitable for reaching and sharing the objectives of the energy saving and environmental protection, strategic for a correct company policy. We found this partner in AB that supplied us a feasibility plan consistent with our expectations and clarified important aspects to obtain the best efficiency from the system. This is particularly valid for the solutions adopted for the use of heat to be destined to our production process, in particular to the dryer”. How did you reach the decision to entrust the realisation of the system to AB? “We evaluated the reference market with great attention, identifying AB as the most valid subject from every point of view. We were very impressed by the fact that today, on the Italian market, AB is able to efficiently, effectively and directly follow at 360° the designing, building, installing and maintaining of this type of system. Wienerberger considers collaborations and every type of entrepreneurial dialogue, well beyond the traditional relationship

between customer and supplier, no matter how competent and prepared. We want to have a real partner more than a supplier. This means consultancy, suggestions, indications, know-how at maximum level and availability to a proposing dialogue. The cogeneration system realised by AB is a very significant example: in our initial supply programmes we requested a system with electric power of 2500kWe. Through dialogue with the AB specialists, we have understood that we could have better performance levels, using hot water produced by the endothermic motor through the installation of air/water coils. Then there is the “timing” aspect: we had to keep within definite times, avoiding suspending the production for long when integrating the system with out energy system. AB superbly answered these two requirements also, supplying us the system perfectly functioning in extremely short times, limiting the activity stop to a minimum when it was time to place the cogeneration system in synergy with our system. In this regard, also to be remembered, is the fact that AB technicians were able to supply us a practically made-to-measure system that was able to integrate excellently with the exiting one”. Have been able to ascertain the efficiency compared to the awaited benefit? “We are fully satisfied of the functioning of the system, of which we have concretely verified the efficiency and reliability. The energy efficiency has always confirmed the projects’ particularly high values envisioned, and the system works following our production cycle that is continuous. Furthermore, we are satisfied to be able to use an assistance and maintenance service all inclusive”.

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AB SETS THE COGENERATION STANDARDS GLOBALLY been operating for over 30 years in the sector of cogeneration and promotion of energy from renewable sources.

AB is currently made up of 24 companies and over 500 employees and is a single entity able to manage the entire manufacturing cycle of a cogeneration plant: consultancy, design, production, installation and start-up with a comprehensive service. This has enabled AB to acquire unparalleled know-how, to become acquainted with every product detail and to provide a top-quality and highly-effective aftersales service. The success of AB which has already designed and built more than 900 plants - stems from ongoing investments in cutting-edge technologies, from the constant training and professional specialisation of all operators and from the development of an absolutely unique engineering

ita ly SALES

Foreign Branches


AB industrial Group has

department: a team of over 110 engineers engaged in developing the industry towards the production of increasingly more reliable and higher performance plants. AB cogeneration plants are distinguished by modularity, compactness and ease of transport and cater to the energy requirements of a number of different companies. Outright leader in Italy, AB is also expanding globally: in Spain (2007), in Romania (2009), in Poland (2010), and again with the opening of subsidiaries in Croatia and Serbia (2011). From 2012 AB is in Czech Republic, from 2013 also in the Netherlands, Austria, Brazil, Francia and Canada. From 2014 AB in UK, Germany, USA and Israel and from 2015 in Russia and Turkey too.

AB Energy SpA

AB Energy International GmbH

AB Energy EspaĂąa S.L.

AB Energy Romania Srl

KWE Technika Energetyczna Sp. z.o.o.

AB Energy Hrvatska d.o.o.

AB Energy Srbija d.o.o.

AB Energy CeskĂĄ s.r.o.

AB Energy do Brasil Ltda

Green House Power Netherlands BV

EPS AB Energy Canada Ltd.

AB Energy (UK) Ltd.

AB Energy Deutschland GmbH

AB Energy Russia

AB Energy Israel Ltd.

AB Energy USA Lcc

AB Energy France

AB Energy Turkey


AB Impianti Srl

AB Power Srl


AB Service Srl


AB Fin-solution SpA


AB Ambiente Srl

Cogeneration has proven to be a winning choice, also in other industrial and non-industrial fields, such as food chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, plastic, paper, brick, etc. 700 customers, some of them are: Amadori, Benetton, BNL, Buitoni, Cartiere Saci, Coca - Cola, Cotonificio Albini, Eridania, Esselunga, Fatro, Ferrero, Felli Color, Galbani, Garda Plast, Granarolo, Gruppo Cremonini, Gruppo Mapei, kraft, Lafarge, Lilly, Martini & Rossi, Nestlè, Orogel, Pastificio Garofalo, Pastificio Rummo, Peroni, Pfizer, Polynt, Spumador, Wienerberger, etc.

AB Energy SpA Via Caduti del Lavoro, 13 25034 Orzinuovi BS - Italy T. +39 030 94 00 100

AB Casehistory Wienerberger EN  
AB Casehistory Wienerberger EN