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David Burton, general manager at Boge, identifies the key areas within a compressed-air system where investment can, in most cases, pay for itself through sustainable reductions in energy costs.

Energy is the most costly part of running a compressed air system, accounting for 75 per cent of the lifecycle costs of the compressed-air system.

However, compressed air is one technology where most businesses can improve efficiency reduce their associated energy costs.

Compressed-air demand fluctuates depending on shift and production patterns, and may be greater in the current economic climate.

Producing more air than is required creates unnecessary cost.

Where appropriate, investing in a frequency-controlled compressor can exactly adapt to demand fluctuations, producing the required volume at a constant pressure and reducing energy costs.

The Boge SF series of frequency-controlled screw compressors can help to produce savings up to 40 per cent.

Frequency control minimises idling time and evens out air-demand fluctuations by working strictly in accordance with the compressed-air demand and producing the exact volume of compressed air at the pressure required.

A correctly sized frequency compressor will virtually eliminate off-load running costs and stop-starting current peaks, resulting in energy savings.

It is worth consulting with a compressed-air energy expert.

Choosing to upgrade to a frequency-controlled screw compressor will not be the right option in every application.

Introducing a control system that monitors and optimises the compressed-air system can assist in reducing energy costs.

Boge has recently launched the Airtelligence Provis, which provides the advantages of implementing an intelligent and comprehensive energy-management system.

Designed to continuously adapt to the consumer’s momentary demands, Airtelligence Provis ensures the most efficient compressor combination is working at all times.

A permanent consumption calculation continuously underpins efficient operation of all the interconnected compressors.

With Airtelligence Provis, crucial efficiency-related parameters are visually displayed.

This provides a transparent log of the behaviour of the compressor station and its ongoing efficiency.

All relevant parameters are downloadable onto a PC to keep the user updated 24/7 and prevent energy costs going off course.

According to the Carbon Trust, the leak rate on an unmanaged compressed-air distribution can be as much as 40 per cent of the output.

Just one 3mm leaking hole costing roughly 3kW can equate to roughly GBP2,000 a year.

Unmanaged air leaks heighten the maintenance required on the associated equipment, as unnecessary compressed air is produced.

Significant cost savings can be made by simply identifying and repairing leaks.

It is even possible to identify air leaks while also assessing the efficiency of the compressed-air system.

At the end of a working day, record the pressure on the air receiver before you turn the compressor off.

By timing how quickly the pressure drops in the receiver, you can determine the rate of air leakage in your compressed-air system.

If your system is efficient, the pressure will remain the same once the compressor has been switched off and, in an ideal world, it should still be the same when you come to switch on the compressor the next day.

However, if the pressure has dropped it is a sure sign that the system is inefficient and that you have air leaks.

Of course, the most comprehensive method is leak detection.

By using an ultrasonic leak detector, a compressed-air professional can detect and locate the air leaks precisely.

Leak detection will often form part of a wider compressed-air audit, such as the Boge Aireport energy-efficiency check-up service.

Up to 12 compressors, along with associated equipment such as compressed air dryer dewpoint, can be logged simultaneously with the Boge Aireport.

The logged data accumulates into a report that highlights the current cost of any system inefficiencies.

Immediate action can then be taken to eliminate unnecessary costs, which in most cases start with low- and no-cost methods, such as repairing air leaks.

You may also want to assess the airline distribution system.

Traditional screwed steel pipe can develop an average leakage rate of 10-15 per cent in old compressed air systems.

Opting for modern aluminium piping can improve flow rates, reduce pipe diameter and eliminate leakage.

Almost the entire energy consumption from the supply net of a standard compressor is converted into heat.

Taking the example of an oil-lubricated screw compressor, up to 94 per cent of the input electrical energy is available for heat recovery.

Heat recovery provides another energy-saving opportunity for many compressed air users.

The waste heat generated by the compressor can be redirected into heating spaces, such as workshops, or for pre-heating domestic water.

The associated energy costs can therefore be reduced.

The Boge Duotherm heat-recovery system can reclaim up to 75 per cent of the electrical power taken into the compressor.

This is taken in the form of heat recovered from the compressor oil.

Developed for oil injected screw compressors, these heat exchangers operate independently from the cooling system in a highly efficient manner.

Installed directly into the compressors oil circuit, the Boge Duotherm heat exchangers are able to efficiently use the waste heat.

Even the lubricant can have an effect on the energy efficiency of the compressed-air system.

Opting for a quality, long-life synthetic lubricant such as Boge Syprem 8000S can yield energy savings of up to five per cent.

With virtually no residual carbon or lacquer deposits and a stable viscosity, low-oil carryover with corrosion, as well as wear protection, this a highly efficient energy-saving lubricant option.

Following the recommended maintenance schedule additionally contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the compressed-air system.

Eliminating or even reducing service visits will affect the quality of the air produced, the lifetime of wearing parts and the associated energy costs.

It is a fact that a poorly maintained compressor will not be working energy efficiently.

A compressor that is running inefficiently will use more energy, which will increase compressed-air-related electricity bills.

Although a number of efficiency remedies can be made at no or low cost, most of the opportunities will require investment, although most will be self financing in terms of the energy savings they will create.

Where investment into low-carbon technologies is recommended, a compressed-air expert will be able to identify the likely payback period.

If the initial investment becomes a stumbling block in upgrading the system then there are finance options to consider, such as the Carbon Trust’s energy-efficiency loan.

Interest-free loans from GBP3,000 up to GBP500,000 are available to eligible private-sector SMEs funding low-carbon and energy-saving technologies.

Boge Compressors

Quality: Made in Germany

BOGE manufactures a comprehensive range of oil lubricated and oil free screw and piston compressors from 1 to 480 HP which are used by all sectors of industry to supply compressed air for a wide range of manufacturing processes. BOGE also supplies a complementary range of filters, dryers and condensate management equipment.

24/7 Service Support

We provide nationwide, 24/7 service support through two direct sales and service centres and a nationwide network of dedicated distributor centres. You can be assured that however big or small your compressed air service requirements may be BOGE will be able to provide a cost effective, comprehensive and expedient solution.

Energy Saving Solutions

BOGE has a proven track record of assisting compressed air users in creating sustainable energy consumption reductions by implementing the established BOGE four step approach to energy management.

You can rely on BOGE to deliver you cost effective, energy efficient and quality compressed air without compromise. Let BOGE give you the edge, freephone 0800 318104 or visit www.boge.co.uk for more information.

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