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The energy costs related to compressed air represent between 10 to 15% of the electricity bill of the average industrial consumer. This application guide gives an overview of technical and organizational solutions that will maximize the energetic efficiency of the system. Implementation of these measures can save up to 25% of the systems’ energy consumption.
A first important question to ask is whether compressed air is the best available technique for the required solutions. In many cases other, more energy efficient technologies are available.
If compressed air is the best available technique, several actions can improve the energy efficiency of the system:
• Any design of a new system or the assessment of an existing system should start with an analysis of the needs. If the air demand is variable, an energy efficient control system for dealing with those load variations should be chosen.
• The compressed air distribution network should be carefully designed and maintained. In particular, reducing air leaks can have a significant positive influence on the energy efficiency of the system.
• For thermodynamic reasons, reducing the inlet air temperature and the outlet air pressure has an important influence on the systems’ energy efficiency.
• If air dryers are required for avoiding equipment degradation, they should be carefully selected, based on their energy efficiency.
• In some cases, the heat losses of a compressed air system can be recovered for heating applications.
Finally, maximizing the energy efficiency of a compressed air system is not a one-time action. Continuous monitoring of key parts, and adjusting them when necessary, is indispensable.