Energy Efficient Compressors Making Compressed Air System Energy Efficient
In this era of energy efficiency, there is huge scope for saving energy through compressed air systems. New as well as existing systems can give better results with the help of few energy conserving steps. Here are some ways to save energy and ultimately cost, through these systems.
Compressed air, is widely acknowledged as the ‘4th Utility’ after electricity, natural gas and water. However, it is one of the major energy consuming utilities in any industry. Estimates indicate that compressed air accounts for 10–30 per cent of the total power consumed in different industries. As a result, it proves to be a very expensive source of energy with the actual output being only 10 to 15 per cent of the input power. This makes compressed air systems an important cost center for improving the productivity of the overall plant.
Even in a compressed air system in which the owner does not see any energy efficiency issues, there is a great opportunity for saving and reducing operating cost. Such a compressed air system can significantly be overpowered with a more energy efficient system.
85% Costs for Compressors are Energy–Related
For an average 10-year life cycle cost of any compressor, more than 85 per cent is incurred towards energy and only 10–15 per cent towards initial investment and maintenance. The target thus, should be a bigger pie i.e. greater energy cost. An optimistic 10–20 per cent reduction in energy osts could have a major positive impact in an organization’s operating margin and can significantly increase return on investment.
All over the world, majority of compressed air systems are not energy efficient. As a system owner, one has a great opportunity to improve operating margins and reduce costs. As such, any productivity enhancement project in the organization must consider compressed air systems as one of its key constituents.
Normally in a compressed air system, saving opportunities can include:
- A. Supply side – 10–2 per cent
- B. Distribution side – 6–8 per cent
- C. Demand side – 4–6 per cent
These figures increase depending on the type of the industry as well as on the condition of the existing compressed air system.