Energy Efficiency Opportunities in Compressed Air Systems

In order to outlast in a tough competitive environment, many companies are seeking for ways to make savings in their production which can often be found in their existing process utilities, which have generally been in place for years. It is difficult to imagine a factory without a compressor. In fact compressed air is one of the major utilities in manufacturing facilities.

Why evaluate energy usage?

The production of compressed air can be one of the most expensive processes in manufacturing facilities. The cost of electric power to operate an air compressor continuously for a year is usually greater than the initial price of the equipment. Annual operating costs of air compressors and supporting equipment can account for up to 70% of the total annual electric bill. Seen from this perspective, any efforts to reduce energy consumption pay for themselves immediately and produce ongoing savings

Measures can be adopted as a retrofit for existing facilities to identify energy and cost savings potentials, evaluate and quantify the energy losses associated with compressed-air systems, and their costs to manufacturers with simple payback periods.

Some of the measures are: Demand management, repairing air leaks, proper maintenance, & instant monitoring, installing high-efficiency motors(adjustable speed drives (ASDs), optimizing compressor to match its load, reducing the average air inlet temperature by using outside air, and reducing compressor air pressure.

By paying attention to the compressed-air system and practicing these simple conservation measures can result in considerable energy and cost savings for the industries.

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