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Top 7 Compressed Air Energy Saving Tips
Do you want to reduce the electrical costs associated with your compressed air system? More than likely – you can do it. Start by determining your annual compressed air electrical costs using this formula:
Brake Horse Power X 0.746 X Annual Hours of Operation X KWH (kilowatt-hour) Cost (divided) Motor Efficiency
Note: 1 CFM (Cubit Feet Per Minute) @ 100 PSIG (Pound-Force Per Square Inch Gauge) costs $110.00 per year in electrical costs for 8760 hours.
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 leak. Air leakage is the industry’s “biggest loser”!
An 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 repair these leaks is well worth it. Note (a 1/4 inch orifice will flow 103 cfm @ 100 psig)
2. Change to synthetic lubricants
If you are using petroleum based lubricants, you can experience energy savings of up to 8% by switching to compressor synthetic lubricants. It also extends equipment life and saves on oil change and disposal costs.
3. Reduce plant operating pressure
If possible – reduce overall plant pressure. Less pressure > less CFM used > less energy used.
Note: Reduce plant pressure 2 pounds at a time, then test run for at least 24 hours. If any equipment has a problem… increase the pressure by 2 pounds until it runs smoothly again. For every 2 pounds of pressure drop – you save 1% in electricity costs to run the air compressor.
4. Check the differential pressure on the air compressor filter.
Start with the compressor cabinet filter then check the compressor inlet filter.
Note: A dirty inlet filter can cost you 1% to 3% in additional electrical costs. why This is because reduced air flow to the compressor inlet valve increases the compression ratio resulting in longer runtime.
Next check the air/oil separator differential pressure under full load. The new separator results in a differential pressure drop of approximately 2-3 psig. When your pressure drop reaches 8-10 psig, it’s time to replace your separator element. Dirty separator components can cost up to 5% in additional electrical costs.
Next replace the control air filter element. This often overlooked, but still important filter is where the controls receive their air signal. Here the pressure drop causes the controls to receive low pressure signals and the compressor becomes more loaded and consumes more power.
5. Reduce compressor inlet temperature
By lowering the inlet air temperature 10°F below 70°F, you save 2% on electrical consumption. Your gain increases to 8% on a 30°F degree day. But increasing the inlet temperature by 10°F at 70°F will cost 2% in additional power consumption for every 10°F, up to 10% at 120°F. (Inlet temperature has very little effect on a lubricated screw compressor)
6. Check differential pressure on compressed air line filters.
Compressed air filters will be sized twice (2x) your compressor CFM flow rate. This will reduce your pressure by approximately 2-3 psig and save 1% on energy costs. Components will last twice (2x) longer and you will save on maintenance costs.
7. Know the quality of compressed air your plant needs.
The cleaner and dryer the compressed air, the more energy will be used.
Contact your appliance manufacturer to determine air quality.
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