Energy Efficiency for Compressed Air Systems

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

#energyengineering #industrialsystems #compressedair #energyefficiency

Air compressors are a crucial component to industrial system operations. Whether it’s used for powering pneumatic tools, transferring materials, or industrial heating and cooling, compressed air makes up about 10 percent of all industrial electricity consumption. According to the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, over the average compressor’s lifespan, energy typically costs several times more than the purchase price of the compressor itself. Luckily there are ways to reduce the energy consumption of your compressed air systems through regular maintenance and equipment retrofits. Check out our compressed air energy saving tips below.

High Efficiency Air Nozzles: Air nozzles are an easy way to enhance the efficiency of your compressed air system. The nozzles convert a low-pressure volume of air into a concentrated high-pressure stream. Air nozzles, which are generally used for drying and cooling, offer a significant reduction in your compressors air consumption. Equipping your compressors with high-efficiency air nozzles will not only improve the safety of your work area but can also improve the efficiency of your operations and reduce the overall noise level of your system.

Variable Frequency Drives: While we’ve discussed the importance of variable frequency drives on your HVAC fans or pumps, the same is true for air compressors. A variable frequency drive allows for a “soft start” to provide more motor control or functionality of your systems. Rather than having your compressor operate at full speed for the duration of the day, a variable frequency drive allows your system to match air supply with the current demand. In doing so, your systems can operate at partial-load to cut down on energy intake.

No-loss Condensate Drains: Removing condensate from your air compressor is an important maintenance measure that ensures optimal air quality and lower operating expenses. When collected without a no-loss drain, air tends to escape when valves are open. A no-loss drain consistently monitors the amount of condensate present in the system and dispenses the condensate into reservoir below. The reservoir can easily be emptied without wasting any air.

Repair Air Leaks: Air leaks in any system will result in a loss of savings, this is especially true in compressed air systems. According to the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, just a quarter inch air leak at a rate of 100 pounds per square inch would cost you over $2,500 a year. In monitoring and maintaining your systems, you can catch and repair leaks before they become an issue.

Reduce Pressure: Similar to how lowering your thermostat can help you save on your energy bill, so can lowering the pressure setpoint on your compressed air system. Every two pounds per square inch reduced, cuts your energy consumption by one percent. Evaluate your systems to see if you have room to scale back pressure.

With air compressors being one of the leading industrial energy consumers, it pays to enhance your system’s performance. Let 360 Energy Group determine where your system needs improving to increase the energy efficiency of your industrial operations. Contact us at or 312-265-3971 to start saving.