Awareness and interest in leak detection only continues to grow thanks to a number of factors. What we have seen over the last 20 years is a more sustainable way of thinking, established international energy efficiency standards, reliable leak detection technology, and best practices to implement leak detection.
One of the best ways to reduce compressed air costs is to look for ways to reduce leakage flow, an unnecessary load that is a constant demand on the compressed air system. This flow is never-ending and occurs during production periods, and during quiet times at night or on weekends. Reducing the flow in a well-controlled compressed air system will result in the reduction of compressor energy consumption, usually by about \$1,750 per every 10 cfm, and often reduces pressure loss, allowing your machines to run better. This article discusses some recent experiences in using an acoustical imaging leak detector.
Challenging teams of employees to generate energy savings while having a good time in the process is the idea behind Saint-Gobain’s “Compress It,” which is the name given to the company’s competition and ongoing effort to reduce compressed air energy and costs. The initiative, which Saint-Gobain rolled out to manufacturing plants throughout North America in 2018, has been met with success. Compress It identified potential energy savings amounting to 26 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and \$2.5 million.
This article discusses leak assessments and the barriers to effective leak management. Some best practices will be discussed as suggested tips to help you get the most of your leakage reduction efforts. We all hear it time and time again, leakage reduction is one of the first things we can do to reduce compressed air system electrical costs. Yet almost every industrial compressed air system assessment finds high levels of leakage, and too often plant maintenance staff are fully aware they have a problem but fail to act.
“A single ¼-inch leak in a compressed air line can cost a facility from \$2,500 to more than \$8,000 per year. Locating and fixing leaks will result in significant savings depending on pressure requirements and energy costs.”
A food processor was having compressed air problems, so they invited a compressed air auditor into their plant for an assessment and to help them size future permanent air compressors. The plant was experiencing low air pressure and detecting water in the compressed air lines despite having a desiccant air dryer. The auditor thoroughly analyzed the compressed air system production equipment and did end-use assessment and leakage detection. This article discusses the findings leading to a potential cost savings of 52% of the current level.
There are many reasons why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Energy Treasure Hunts have proven successful in helping companies save energy and natural resources, but one that rises to the top is their ability to build a culture of energy efficiency throughout an organization.
As part of an energy reduction effort, a Canadian technical college hired a compressed air auditor to do a leakage audit of their large campus, which houses over 30 mixed use buildings, including laboratories, research facilities, shops and classrooms. The audit found very few leaks, the reduction of which would achieve minimal savings; however, a few surprising items of interest were noticed during the study that showed very good potential for operating cost savings of 64% with an estimated \$45,000 per year in reduced energy and water costs. This article discusses some of the findings and how savings can be achieved on lightly loaded compressed air systems.
Launched in 2006, the TTU-IAC program provides manufacturers in the state with free energy, productivity, and waste assessments – including best practices for compressed air systems, and blowers and vacuum, as well as cooling towers and chillers. The assessments to date have provided manufacturers in the program with \$27.48 million in recommended cost savings, equaling 3.82 trillion British thermal units of energy savings.
In terms of compressed air systems, it’s not unusual to see a plant with 10 to 15 air compressors, each of which is rated to provide 3,000 to 4,000 scfm of air. The air is used for everything from moving product, to powering pneumatic tools, pumps, and fans, to cleaning. There are easily 1,500 pneumatic control valves at a single plant.
Annual plant electric costs for compressed air production, as operating today, are \$147,469 per year. If the electric costs of \$750 associated with operating ancillary equipment such as dryers are included, the total electric costs for operating the air system are \$148,219 per year. These estimates are based upon a blended electric rate of \$0.087 /kWh. The air system operates 8,760 hours per year. The load profile or air demand of this system is relatively stable during all shifts. Overall system flow ranges from 800- 1,000 acfm during production. The system pressure runs from 95 to 80 psig in the headers during production.