Mineral wool, also known as rockwool or stone wool, is produced from natural rock materials, slags or glass which undergo melting and fiber formation to produce insulation and other fibrous materials. These materials are used for a variety of purposes, including insulation, fire resistance, and horticultural growing media. Mineral wool is frequently produced in a cupola furnace, but other electric or gas-fired furnace types are also used, for example cyclone, shaft, or chamber furnaces.
Cupolas typically use coke as a source of fuel and to provide spacing among the charge material, allowing for the upward flow of gas from the tuyeres. The addition of oxygen into a cupola operation has several beneficial effects; namely faster production, higher temperatures near the tuyeres, reduced airflow/emissions from the cupola and reduced coke usage, the cost of which has risen significantly in recent years. Air Products has developed several methods of introducing oxygen into cupolas, via general enrichment, oxygen lances through the tuyeres, and oxygen-natural gas burners with or without solid material injection such as coke breeze. So whether a cupola needs more production or is looking to reduce fuel costs, Air Products can customize a solution for your operation. Many of these same process capabilities can be applied to non-cupola-based operations. Our experienced engineers can implement the right oxygen-based technology to maximize mineral wool production and control energy distribution and melt temperature, all while reducing costs and emissions.