Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Standards

For an organization to prove that it meets the standard it has to undergo a management system audit, either internal or external. The question, therefore, is how can those utilizing compressed air effectively evaluate their assets’ performance as part of an ISO 50001 energy management system and, in doing so, grow their bottom line and minimize their negative environmental footprint.

ISO and CAGI

Many astute air compressor users have noticed the Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) air compressor data sheets, dated after June 2020, have a new term listed; isentropic efficiency. Isentropic Efficiency will be the new standard of reference for a true comparison of the overall efficiency of air compressors at any rated discharge pressure. Now users can see which company produces the most efficient product with an easy reference percentage number. The compressed air industry, in conjunction with CAGI, has been trying to make fair comparisons between air compressors for years. 

NFPA 99 Medical Air

Compressed air and gases are vital to numerous healthcare facility operations. Commonly used for breathing, sedation, and the operation of medical instruments, healthcare facilities must rely on these utilities for lifesaving and therapeutic benefits. The quality of the air and gas produced by the facility’s compressed air systems is paramount to their efficacy in promoting positive outcomes for patients.

Energy Management

ANSI /ISA–7.0.0–1996 is the globally-recognized quality standard for instrument air as defined by the Instrument Society of America. In this article, we’ll go through the Standard’s four elements of instrument air quality for use in pneumatic instruments.

Food Grade Air

Micro-aerosolized droplets are how many members of the microbial world become cross-contaminants via the air mode of transmission.  Food borne viral pathogen Hepatitis A and the ubiquitous Norwalk are very often transported via micro- aerosols. It is well known that many viral or bacterial pathogens or spoilers are transmitted via respiratory bursts [coughs/ sneezes] from people or air handling system, condensate, and splash back from floors. Strict cGMPs  can limit  and control transmission in terms of personal & environmental  hygiene.
Over the years, analyzing compressed air system operation and efficiency has gone under various names and taken many different shapes and forms. You may know these as; Assessments, Audits, Studies, and Surveys, but in all cases the compressed systems are analyzed using techniques, such as metering and measuring, to assess the system’s performance and identify opportunities for improvement. The problem is that the results of these activities have varied widely; leaving the end-user to try and determine what is usable, credible and implementable. This has led to a lot of “no actions“, resulting in assessments, audits, studies, and surveys being put on the shelf to collect dust.
Large hospitals often use compressed air for important operational related end uses. The systems that produce this air need to supply clean and dry compressed air with a high level of reliability. These systems are not immune to efficiency problems as is the case for any compressed air system.
This article will examine in detail four of the five acceptable WAGD implementations under NFPA 99, along with some alternative ways they may be implemented. This article will not deal with passive implementations.
BSA LifeStructures is a full service architectural and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, higher education and technology facilities. We employ close to 260 associates and are established in two locations; Indianapolis and Chicago. Our strongest focus is on hospitals and university facilities.
A good-size hospital with 200 beds and ten operating rooms can have a medical air system, a laboratory air system, and pneumatic air systems. The medical air systems must all follow the NFPA 99 guidelines. We follow these guidelines, from the beginning, when we assess the demand for air in a hospital.
The most abundant contaminant in any compressed air system is water. This can be in either liquid or vapour form. Atmospheric air is already very wet, and becomes saturated when compressed. This water vapour will condense when the temperature drops, after the compressor, and will damage air receivers, pipework and equipment. For this reason coalescing filters and then dryers are used to remove the bulk of this water.  
Hazardous breathing conditions exist in routine industrial operations, such as hospitals, abrasive blasting, paint spraying, industrial cleaning, and arc welding. In these and other operations that introduce contaminants into the workplace, supplied-air respirators are frequently used for worker protection.
In the U.S. as an example, the NFPA has taken the view that if your compressor draws in good clean ambient air, the air stays clean through the compressor, is then dried and filtered, when you deliver it to the patient it will be entirely satisfactory. After all, when you went into the hospital that’s what you were breathing and when you leave you will breathe it again!
The next time you sit down for dinner, take a good look at your food. There’s a very good chance compressed air played an essential role in preparing your meal for consumption.
If you have ever looked at the small print of a compressor brochure or a CAGI Data Sheet or a compressor technical information page, you have probably seen some reference to one of the above standards.  At one time or another, US compressor manufacturers have used these standards to test and report compressor performance.  These are referred to as “Acceptance Test” codes.