5 Optimistic Ways to make a compressor installation energy efficient
Compressed air accounts for a significant part of total energy costs for industrial manufacturers - typically from about 12% and sometimes high as 40% in some facilities. Any compressed air energy savings that are achieved will have a big impact on a factory's total energy and CO2 emissions.
1.Reduce unloaded running hours
- Air demand in an industrial compressed air system typically fluctuates. Using these patterns to reduce unloaded running hours is a first step to optimize energy efficiency. Compressor controllers offer user-friendly ways to reduce unloaded running hours.
2.Eliminate air leaks
- Leakages are the most significant source of energy waste in older compressed air systems, with a leakage point as small as 3mm in wasted energy. It is estimated that up to 20% of total compressed air consumption may be lost through leaks.
3.Reduce the pressure band
- As a rule of thumb for most compressors, a reduction of 1 bar in pressure could lead to a 7% saving in electricity consumption. The pressure settings of the compressor should be adjusted until the lowest pressure can be reached, and the pressure band reduced without affecting the applications.
4.Turn compression heat into useful energy with heat recovery
- One area that offers manufacturers a significant opportunity for savings is to recover the waste heat from air compressors. Without energy recovery, this heat is lost into the atmosphere via the cooling system and radiation. The amount of electrical energy that can be recovered depends on the size of the compressor and the running hours. Typical recoveries are between 70-94%. It is estimated that 90% of all industrial air compressors used could be equipped with heat recovery systems.
5.Ensure the correct size of compressor is installed
- Choosing the wrong size air compressor for a facility can lead to problems with production and or increased costs due to wasted energy. When selecting a compressor, manufacturers should ask themselves some questions such as: How much air flow does their facility/workshop use? / What is the minimum pressure needed within the facility? / Do they need clean/dry air (use of dryer and filters)? /
How many hours per year does their compressor operate?
Once you have answered those questions, you should select the compressor not based solely on the initial purchase price but based on the one with the lowest total lifecycle costs. Since 70% of the total LCC of a compressor is spent on energy, the right choice will add up to a significantly reduced bottom line for the factory.