Compressed Air Load Reduction Approaches and InnovationsMark D’Antonio with Gary Epstein, Satyen Moray, and Chris Schmidt for Zondits, November 3, 2013
The use of compressed air is widespread throughout every sector of industry, and it acts as a primary energy source for many industrial applications. Compressed air systems are as essential a utility as electricity, gas, or oil, and they can account for a significant percent of a manufacturing facility’s electricity bill. Although the development of compressed air is very expensive, this energy cost is rarely evaluated within the plant operation; in fact, it is commonly overlooked when energy reduction opportunities are assessed. It is a common practice in facilities to simply add compressor capacity when faced with supply pressure or volume deficiencies, increasing the energy consumption associated with compressed air systems in industry. Additionally, in recent years, compressor plant installations and enhancements have trended toward minimizing the first cost of installation at the expense of increased operating costs. This can be seen in the rise of packaged rotary screw system purchases that require no foundations in lieu of the larger, more efficient reciprocating compressors that require more involved site work. With such a trend in the supply side of compressed air systems, it becomes increasingly important to improve the efficiency of the demand side, or end-use side, of compressed air systems. This presentation focuses on addressing compressed air end-use inefficiencies and alternatives for inappropriate uses with the goal of reducing the demand placed on the compressor plant.