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Top 7 Compressed Air Energy Saving Tips
Do you want to reduce the electricity costs associated with your compressed air system? More than likely – you can. Start by determining your annual compressed air electricity costs using this formula:
Brake Horse Power X 0.746 X Annual Operating Hours X KWH (kilowatt-hour) Cost (divided by) Motor Efficiency
Note: 1 CFM (Cubit Feet Per Minute) @ 100 PSIG (Pound-Force Per Square Inch Gauge) for 8760 hours at an electrical cost of $110.00 per year
Next…follow these top 7 compressed air energy saving tips:
1. Fix your air leaks
If you do nothing else – follow this one tip: Find and fix your compressed air leaks. Air leaks are the industries “biggest loser”!
The average plant loses 20% to 30% of its compressed air through many small air leaks. The money spent on manpower and parts to find and fix these leaks is well worth it. Note (a 1/4 inch hole will flow 103 cfm @ 100 psig)
2. Change to a synthetic lubricant
If you are using petroleum based lubricants, you can experience energy savings of up to 8% by switching to compressor synthetic lubricants. Plus extending equipment life and saving oil change and disposal costs.
3. Reduce plant operating pressure
If possible – reduce overall plant pressure. Low pressure > Low CFM usage > Low energy consumption.
Tip: Reduce plant pressure 2 pounds at a time, then test run for a minimum of 24 hours. If there is a problem with an appliance… then increase the pressure by 2 lbs until it runs smoothly again. For every 2 pounds of pressure drop – you save 1% of the electrical cost to run the air compressor.
4. Check the differential pressure on the air compressor filters.
Start at the compressor cabinet filter then check the compressor inlet filter.
Note: A dirty inlet filter can add up to 1% to 3% in additional electricity costs. Why? Because less air flow to the compressor inlet valve increases the compression ratio resulting in longer running time.
Next check the air/oil separator differential pressure under full load. The new separator reduces the differential pressure by about 2-3 psig. When your pressure drop reaches 8-10 psig, it’s time to change your separator elements. A waste separator element can cost you up to 5% in additional electrical costs.
Next change the control air filter element. This is an often overlooked, but still important filter where controls receive their air signal. A pressure drop here causes the controls to receive a lower pressure signal, overloading the compressor and using more electricity.
5. Reduce compressor inlet temperature
By lowering the inlet air temperature 10°F below 70°F, you save 2% on electricity usage. Your profit increases by up to 8% on a 30°F degree day. But increasing the inlet temperature 10°F above 70°F costs you 2% in additional electrical usage for every 10°F up to 10% at 120°F. (Inlet temperature has very little effect on lubricated screw compressors)
6. Check differential pressure on compressed air line filters.
Size the compressed air filter to twice (2x) your compressor CFM flow rate. This will reduce your pressure by about 2-3 psig and save 1% on energy costs. Elements will last twice (2x) longer and you will save on maintenance costs.
7. Know what quality of compressed air your plant needs.
Compressed air uses more energy than cleaners and dryers.
Check with the manufacturer of your equipment to determine the required air quality.
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