VNCI shares best practices on compressed air
04 Aug 2017

“The energy efficiency of a typical compressed air system can be improved 20% or more” says VNCI, the Dutch Chemical Industry Association. In their best practice note on compressed air, VNCI has identified 14 areas and potential saving measures to look at to improve the energy consumption of these processes.


Air leaks: a key area

One of these areas is air leakage which can lead to up to 50% waste energy. There are three key ways to find compressed air leaks:

  • The simplest way is to listen to the leakages. However, it must be noted that listening for leaks is unreliable especially in a noisy environment,
  • Another method is to brush soapy water over areas suspected of leaking and look for bubbling. This method is cheap and simple, but it is a very time-consuming process.
  • The third is ultrasonic leak detection. Ultrasonic detectors can pinpoint leaks very accurately and quickly by detecting the signature ultrasound signals of high pressure leaks.

Indications on air leakage based on the hole's diameter are available in VNCI's document.

A list of 14 saving measures

This synthetic document guides the reader through 14 saving measures identified by VNCI to improve the energy efficiency of compressed air systems:

  1. Avoid leakage
  2. Reduce set pressure
  3. Reduce pressure drop
  4. Reduce intake air temperature
  5. Check Air quantity
  6. Check Air quality
  7. Do not use compressed air when it is not necessary
  8. Isolate areas or equipment
  9. Maintain the compressed air system
  10. Select efficient compressor
  11. Review the compressor control systems
  12. Peak shaving
  13. Use multi-stage compressors
  14. Combine compressed air systems

For a plant with an average air consumption of 1000 m3/hr throughout the year, energy costs is approximately 120000 Euro/year. For instance, 24000 Euro can be saved when 20% saving is achieved in the energy usage when above listed methods are applied.

More details and other advices are available within the best practice brief note. Learn more by reading: VNCI, Best Practice Compressed Air

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