How to Reduce Compressed Air Costs in Your Facility for Free: ESCO Contracting, Constant Monitoring
Air Compressors account for up to 30% of the energy costs of manufacturing. Read the article to know how you can reduce it.
With India stating they will meet net zero emissions by 2070, there is a continued increase of pressure being felt across industries to operate in energy-efficient and sustainable ways. On one hand, companies now have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which include sustainability targets, and on the other hand, SEBI, the regulatory body that oversees the functioning of the capital market in India, has made it mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies to submit their sustainability reports. As the compliances around sustainability norms grow stricter, so has the requirement for industries to become energy efficient.
Energy efficiency is a crucial tool that will not only help you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainability, and combat climate change but also reduce energy consumption and associated costs.
The high upfront investment needed to implement energy efficiency measures is usually a concern for Industries.
In this scenario partnering with an Energy Services Company - ESCO - is highly recommended.
An ESCO, like Energeia, is a one-stop shop executing an energy efficiency project. This includes identifying, quantifying, financing, implementing, monitoring, and verifying energy-efficient solutions. The project will generate enough savings that will cover the cost of the equipment and services provided by the ESCO while still unlocking cost savings for the facility. To read more about what an ESCO is, click here.
Air Compressors account for up to 30% of the energy costs of manufacturing. This can be reduced by implementing various Energy Conservation Methods (ECMs).
How is compressed air optimization done?
An Air Compressor System in which the demand is accurately matched by the supply is considered to be the most energy-efficient system. However, plants usually have varying demand patterns, pressure requirements, and complex piping systems, which drags the efficiency down.
The optimisation process involves analyzing the energy consumption data of the compressed air system which must be done at a high frequency. Power consumption, flow, and pressure would need to be monitored at a very high frequency. At Energeia, we monitor this down to every second via our Energy Monitoring System (EMS).
After data analysis, areas of improvement for ECMs are identified. This can involve, identifying and repairing leaks, compressed air pressure optimisation and compressor room or Airnet design improvement, retrofitting, and replacement of equipment.
These measures play a vital role to reduce the hidden costs of maintenance by up to 20% and overcome the unplanned downtime of compressors. ECMs help improve the life cycle cost of the compressor thereby improving the overall efficiency of the system.
What are the Energy Conservation Methods for Air Compressor Optimisation?
To achieve an energy efficient Air Compressor System, one has to work on the demand and supply side.
Demand Side: Understanding the varying requirement of pressure and flow in different processes is important to make the entire system efficient. On the demand side, the following measures could be implemented:
i) Identifying and repairing leaks: A significant portion of the cost of an air compressor is unnecessary since nearly one-third to one-fourth of industrial compressed air consumption is wasted due to leaks. This could be due to improper maintenance of valves, piping, and other components. At the stage of conducting audits, we use leak detectors which help us detect the location of the leaks in a timely manner. These smart devices come with advanced sensor technology that can detect the smallest leaks. Along with this, they tell us the leak size, the loss to the unit, and the cost estimates for remedial action.
ii) Eliminating Artificial Demand: Artificial Demand is present in a lot of Industries, especially in facilities that have varying end pressure requirements. Supplying equipment air at the right pressure makes the overall system efficient.
iii) Improper Usage: Not all applications that require air require compressed air. Certain low-pressure applications like blowing can be done with the help of blowers, which have a much lower energy cost.
Supply Side: The Air Compressors and Air Treatment equipment themselves have to be efficient. On the supply side, the following could be the efficiency measures:
i) Using energy-efficient Air Compressors: Several OEMs have been manufacturing energy-efficient Air Compressors with specific power consumption going as low as 0.15 for 6 bar applications. Replacing old Air Compressors with energy-efficient ones is an obvious solution.
ii) Reducing Pressure Drop across equipment: Equipment would need to be maintained properly in order to ensure that there is minimal pressure drop across them. This would enable the Air Compressors to run at pressures closer to demand pressures, lowering the energy consumption of these Air Compressors.
iii) Reduce unload power consumption: Screw Air Compressors generate no air while running unloaded, drastically reducing the kW/CFM of individual Air Compressors. Air Compressors which are unloading frequently should be retrofitted with VFDs to save unload power consumption.
iv) Continuous Energy Monitoring: Air Demand continuously changes within facilities. Monitoring power consumption, flow, and pressure continuously and electronically helps in ensuring that Air Compressor Plants are running optimally in all scenarios.
Energeia undertakes long-term ESCO contracts with their clients, helping them optimise their air compressor plant, without investing any capital.
We monitor and baseline the present Air Compressor Plant efficiency after which we identify, finance, and implement the ECMs to improve the plant’s efficiency. Energeia gets a share of the savings for a fixed tenure, whereas clients enjoy savings at 0 costs.
Reach out to us to learn more about E-Air and how Energeia can help make your Air Compressors Plants more efficient!