Refractory Materials: Foundations for High-Temperature Industries

Home » Refractory Materials: Foundations for High-Temperature Industries

Refractory materials are applied in various sectors of the national economy, including steel, non-ferrous metals, glass, cement, ceramics, petrochemicals, machinery, boilers, light industry, and power generation. They are essential basic materials for ensuring the production and technological development of the aforementioned industries and play an irreplaceable role in the development of high-temperature industrial production.

Since 2001, driven by the rapid development of high-temperature industries such as steel, non-ferrous metals, petrochemicals, and building materials, the refractory materials industry has maintained a strong growth trend and has become a major producer and exporter of refractory materials in the world.

In 2011, China’s refractory materials production accounted for approximately 65% of the global total, and its production and sales volume remained at the forefront of the world. From 2001 to 2010, the production of refractory raw materials and products steadily increased, with the output at the end of the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” period approximately doubling that of 2001.

In 2010, the national production of refractory products reached 28.08 million tons, about three times that of the end of the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” period. By the end of 2011, the refractory materials industry in China had a total of 1,917 enterprises above a certain scale, with more than 300,000 employees, achieving sales revenue of 337.679 billion yuan and a product sales profit of 47.737 billion yuan. However, due to disorderly mining, low processing technology, low level of comprehensive resource utilization, and serious waste, the mineral resources, especially high-grade refractory raw material resources, have become increasingly scarce. Therefore, resource conservation and comprehensive resource utilization have become urgent priorities.

all refractory product

Song Zhenyu believes that the refractory materials industry must guide scientific mining in raw material mines, optimize and comprehensively utilize resources, especially by homogenizing the treatment of different grade deposits, eliminating excessive mining and unregulated excavation, gradually promoting more rational resource utilization, maximizing the limited resources’ role, and achieving sustainable development. The development of the refractory materials industry is closely related to the domestic mineral resources reserves. Bauxite, magnesite, and graphite are the three major refractory raw materials.

China is one of the world’s three largest bauxite exporters, has abundant magnesite reserves, and is a major exporter of graphite. The abundant resources have supported the rapid development of refractory materials in China over the past decade. At the same time, there are numerous refractory materials enterprises in China, with varying sizes, process technologies, control technologies, and equipment levels. Advanced production methods coexist with backward ones, and the overall level of clean production in the industry is not high, making the task of energy conservation and emission reduction challenging. During the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” period, China accelerated the elimination of outdated and high-energy-consuming capacity, focusing on the development and promotion of new energy-saving kilns, the development of comprehensive energy-saving technologies, energy management, emission control and recycling of “three wastes.” The industry is committed to the resource utilization and reuse of post-use refractory materials, reducing solid waste emissions, improving the comprehensive utilization of resources, and promoting energy conservation and emission reduction comprehensively. The “Development Policy for the Refractory Materials Industry” points out that the specific consumption of refractory materials in the steel industry in China is about 25 kilograms per ton of steel and is expected to be reduced to below 15 kilograms by 2020. In 2020, China witnessed significant improvements in the longevity, energy efficiency, pollution-free nature, and functionality of refractory materials. These enhanced products effectively catered to the development needs of the national economy in sectors such as metallurgy, construction materials, chemicals, and emerging industries. Moreover, they contributed to elevating the technological content of exported products.

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