How you can improve compressed air efficiency.
Practical tips to help save energy and costs for your compressed air system:
- Ease the pressure - reducing system pressure by 10% can lead to 5% savings in energy. In practice pressure can be reduced incrementally to make sure that there are no adverse effects on valves or actuators1.
- Seek out leaks – the gentle hiss coming from the compressed air system indicates a massive waste. A hole in a system equivalent to 3 mm will cost as much as £700 a year in increased compressor usage. Simple leak detection and maintenance will stop this2.
- If it’s not being used, switch it off – compressed air is often thought of as a constantly available service – like electricity or water, and so compressors are often never switched off. Any leaks or pressure drops are constantly fed, irrespective of demand. So switch off the compressor when air is not needed and use a time switch to switch it off out of hours.
- Spot the dead legs – if you have a network of compressed air pipes, isolate the sections which aren’t being used. This will reduce potential leaks in the dead legs.
- Check and maintain equipment – change oil filters, air filters, and check condensate drains and drive belts regularly. Check for leaks at least every 3 months. Compressor rooms should be well ventilated and kept cool.
- Recover heat – as over 80% of the energy used for compressing air is wasted as heat, you can recover this for room or water heating. Between 50 and 90% of the heat is recoverable3.
1 Figures taken from the Carbon Trust: Compressed Air.
2 Figures taken from the Carbon Trust: Compressed Air.
3 Figures taken from the Carbon Trust: How to recover heat from a compressed air system.