Minerals Engineering, Vol.100, 144-154, 2017
Specific energy consumption of cake dewatering with vacuum filters
The energy consumption of vacuum filtration operations in cake filtration depends on the properties of the cake, the filtration conditions applied, and the progress of the cake dewatering process. Operating a vacuum filter at a high pressure difference requires a high air flow rate and thus has high energy consumption. By taking the filtered solids content into consideration together with the power demand and energy consumed at a certain pressure difference level, it is possible to investigate the specific power demand and energy consumption relative to the filtered cake solids content. When the mother liquor in the void space of the filter cake is replaced by air, the flow rate of air through the cake increases, which has a dramatic influence on the specific energy consumption. In this study, dewatering of calcite mine tailings is investigated with respect to the specific power demand and energy consumption of vacuum generation calculated using the assumption of an ideal isentropic process. The results of this study demonstrate clearly that both the air flow rate and the specific energy consumption in dewatering increase sharply after a certain solid content of the cake is reached. The results suggest that pumping costs in vacuum filtration can be reduced substantially by allowing a slight increase in the residual moisture content of the filter cake. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.