11 August, 2022

Change behaviours – Reduce compressed air energy wastage

28 June, 2022

At the Air-Tech 2022 exhibition, the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) launched its 10% Taskforce campaign. BCAS’s executive director Vanda Jones explains how the society is helping to educate end users on simple ways to lower their energy consumption from compressed air.

Users are often not aware of the significant and positive impact they can make on reducing wastage and cutting energy costs from compressed air generation. Leaks can go ignored and air can be used indiscriminately, because wasteful practices have become the norm. One of the best places to start is by involving staff in energy-saving initiatives and explaining the role they can play in identifying and minimising wastage. Substantial energy improvements can be made by implementing new processes and setting simple goals to change inefficient practices.

Target the right areas

In a typical production plant, the main areas of wasted usage to target include air leaks from inefficient or ageing pipework and leaving air-consuming equipment running unnecessarily, for example during breaks. It is also common to see teams using compressed air lines for cleaning down benches and equipment when a simple brush or vacuum could suffice.

Create a usage policy

Appoint someone with overall responsibility to ensure coordination across the production facility. An action plan can then be implemented which should seek to raise awareness of the potential inefficient practices with employees, to establish compressed air costs and to set targets for reducing avoidable waste.

Use compressed air efficiently

A simple way to realise significant energy savings is to switch off compressors when there is no demand for air. For example, compressors left switched on overnight unnecessarily, will consume electricity to feed any leaks in the system. Even when off-load, compressors can consume up to 70% of their full load power, so operators should check that compressors are also not switched on earlier than needed as well as checking time switch settings regularly.

Consider alternatives to compressed air

Compressed air is used for many applications because of its safety, flexibility and convenience. But sometimes compressed air is used just because it is there, not because it is necessarily the best solution for the job. For example, in ventilation applications, fans or blowers can offer a lower energy alternative and for liquid agitation, a mechanical stirrer or blower can deliver the same results. Where there is a risk of explosion, electrical interference, or extreme temperatures then compressed air remains the best option, however.

The 10% Taskforce

The 10% Taskforce is a campaign from the British Compressed Air Society to cut compressed air energy wastage and take the equivalent of 317 thousand cars off the road, saving UK business over £147.5 million. There are lots of simple steps that endusers can take, without significant investment – which soon add up to significant cost savings. Visit https://taskforce10.bcas.org.uk/simplesteps/ for further energy-saving tips or email taskforce10@bcas.org.uk

Contact BCAS at Tel: 020 7935 2464 e-mail: info@bcas.org.uk website: www.bcas.org.uk



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