15 July, 2024

Compressed air system control for energy savings

28 September, 2022

BCAS executive director Vanda Jones looks at how improving compressor control can help lower energy consumption.

Controlling your compressed air system effectively can really pay dividends when it comes to cutting your electricity usage. There are many simple, cost-efficient steps you can take to help reduce your energy consumption from compressed air.

If your air demand fluctuates, variablespeed drive technology can help you to match supply with demand, enabling the compressed air system to come on and off load as required, with the potential to save a large amount of energy.

In addition, don’t forget that a compressed air system is exactly that – a system, and every component plays its part. From accurate air receiver sizing to the specification of air treatment and dryer equipment, to condensate drains, to the pipework. Make sure you are controlling every aspect of the system and not just the compressor.

Benefits of improved control

Optimise compressed air system efficiency

Use compressors intelligently and only when needed, helping to reduce running hours and maintenance

Manage and optimise every part of the compressed air supply – from compressed air generation, through air treatment, to storage?

Our top tips

Conduct a compressed air energy audit to identify potential energy savings across the entire system

Check compressor parameters are optimised for your application

Monitoring and control go hand in hand. Make sure you act on data and continually review your system

The 10% Taskforce

Join our campaign to cut compressed air energy wastage and take the equivalent of 317 thousand cars off the road, saving UK business over £147.5 million. Visit www.taskforce10.bcas.org.uk and share your energy saving tips. Working together, we can cut our carbon footprint from compressed air for a brighter future.

Your guide to better compressor control

1. Invest in high-efficiency equipment The small additional price premium for higher efficiency components usually pays for itself in less than two years.

Ask your supplier to conduct an air audit and data logging. This will help identify if a variable speed compressor, or a combination of fixed and speedregulated drive technology could lower your electricity consumption The compressor is just the start.

Ensure your supplier audits your air treatment and downstream equipment and advises on the best course of action to optimise performance

Assess your usage.

If your compressor operates for long hours, specify best in class efficiency motors (at least IE3)

2. Consider intelligent sequencing When two or more compressors are installed together, it is likely that the combined capacity of the system will be greater than the actual site demand.

Investigate electronic sequencing and control systems. These predict and select the best combination of compressors to meet the demand, such as using a combination of fixed and variable speed machines

They also maintain the pressure to a much narrower range – to within 0.2 bar

3. Consider ease of use

To help ensure your compressed air system operates at maximum efficiency, it needs to be easy to operate. Consider the
setup of any control system, prioritising a simple user interface and accurate reporting.

Specify control systems that can report on the complete installation, including ancillary equipment such as dryers and filters – to give you a comprehensive overview of your energy performance

Consider remote monitoring. Does the control system have sufficient capacity to transfer data, and can operators check
the system status, energy consumption and performance remotely?

For more compressed air energy savings tips and advice, visit www.taskforce10.bcas.org.uk Insist on BCAS – Be Compliant and Safe www.taskforce10.bcas.org

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



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