As compressed air is one of the largest consumers of energy, any savings made along the production line can have a significant impact on both energy costs and the environment.
Compressed air energy recovery is a great way to not only utilise environmentally friendly processes and save energy, but also to save company costs too. But how does it work and what other benefits are there?
How Does Compressed Air Energy Recovery Work?
The compression of air generates a large amount of heat which is commonly left to dissipate into the ambient air and through ventilation. Unfortunately, this means that over 90% of the electrical energy air compressors uses is converted into compression heat.
Compressed air energy recovery methods depend on whether your compressor is air-cooled or water-cooled. Although the process is quite simple for air-cooled systems, it is slightly more complicated for water-cooled ones; additional components, such as pumps, a heat exchanger and control valves, are commonly required. In doing so, the compressed heat can transfer to generate hot water with a temperature of up to 90°C.
How Can Recovered Heat Be Used?
This hot water can be used for a variety of processes including:
- Sanitary purposes
- Process applications, such as:
- Automotive production processes
- Drying & Sterilising in the Pharmaceutical Industry
- Pasteurisation, drying and cleaning in the Food & Beverage Industry
- Colouring in the Textiles Industry
- Various refinery processes in the Chemicals Industry
- Clean Room Sterilisation in the Electronics Industry
By using this recovered hot water as boiler pre-feed or directly in these processes, you will be able to save on other energy sources e.g., natural gas and heating oil. This means, you can reduce the number of boilers or equipment that generates heat/steam required, therefore reducing other costs like installations, maintenance, energy and carbon emissions.
Recovered hot air can be used for space heating, to heat a production hall or another building.
How Much Energy is Recoverable?
Up to 94% of the compression heat can be recovered and some energy recovery systems pay for themselves after just one year. However, the specific savings depends on your compressor installation, air system and heat recovery applications.
Compressed Air Energy Recovery from Air Power East
At Air Power East, we can help and advise on the best way to recover the energy from your compressed air system. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, it needs to be tailored to your specific system, so by getting in touch with us directly, we can guide you in the right direction.
Contact us today to discuss your needs.
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