Compressed air accounts for about 5% of total electricity consumption in industry. Most plants use compressed air for at least some functions; for many, compressor energy is a substantial portion of the electric bill. Many compressor systems are often poorly designed, have leaking fixtures, and motor/compressor systems are frequently mismatched to loads. Suggestions for curbing energy waste in air compressor systems include the following:
- Use properly-sized, energy-efficient compressors driven by energy-efficient motors and associated storage tanks that are matched to loads.
- Ensure that systems can operate efficiently at part loads. Use electronic controls on individual compressors to optimize pressure and output.
- Consider installing a smaller, high pressure compressor to meet a specific need in order to allow the main compressor to operate at a lower pressure.
- Meter energy, flow, and other parameters to assess performance.
- Maintain the system to minimize air leakage.
Technical resources and a compressed air assessment tool (Airmaster+) are available here.