The cost and energy consumption of compressed air generation are significant factors that impact the overall expenses of a company. Allan Dolby, Managing Director at Direct Air, sheds light on how companies can enhance their sustainability while reducing energy consumption from compressed air systems.

Compressed air generation accounts for around 30% of an average company’s overall electricity bill. In the UK, it accounts for about 12 terawatt hours of energy consumption, which translates to one and a half billion pounds of costs for companies. It is a very large consumer of energy.”

How can companies improve their sustainability and reduce energy consumption from compressed air systems?

Conduct a Compressed Air Audit and Visual Inspection: A compressed air audit involves fitting data loggers to compressors for seven days to gather necessary information and analyse the compressor system’s efficiency. A visual inspection of the site can also provide valuable insights.

System Upgrades and Energy-Efficient Equipment: System upgrades and investing in more energy-efficient equipment, such as variable speed drives and control systems, can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Leakage Control: All compressed air systems leak air, and even a 1.5mm hole can cost about  £2,000 per year. Conducting a compressor leak detection survey and repairing leaks can lead to substantial cost savings.

Optimising Compressor Usage: Automating the start and stop times of compressors and zoning systems to supply air only to the required machines can be more cost and energy effective.

Pressure Optimisation: Most systems run at a higher pressure than needed. Reducing the pressure by half a bar can improve efficiency by about 4%.

Heat Recovery: Approximately 10% of all electricity used in industry is accounted for by compressed air systems. It’s a thermodynamic fact that around 94% of this energy gets converted to heat. That means up to 94% of the heat energy supplied to the compressor can be recovered. This heat can be repurposed and used to help in other areas of your facility such as heating water or radiators in the building, which can result in significant savings.

Regular Maintenance: Regular air compressor maintenance ensures they run efficiently, reducing energy consumption and costs in the long run.

In conclusion, by conducting audits, upgrading systems, controlling leakage, optimising compressor usage, pressure, and heat recovery, and maintaining equipment regularly, companies can significantly enhance their sustainability and reduce energy consumption and costs associated with compressed air systems. If you require assistance with your compressed air system, feel free to reach out to Direct Air, and we will be happy to help.

“Price is important, but it shouldn’t be the number one driving factor. Not all compressors and systems are the same. Compressed air is a very high user of electricity, and there are not many systems that we get involved with where we can’t provide recommendations and advice to assist a company in saving money.” – Allan Dolby.