Improving compressor efficiency

WHEN only around four percent of the energy going into a compressor is used for compressing the air and the rest is lost as heat and noise, describing a compressor station as efficient hardly seems appropriate. On the other hand, when so much energy goes into producing such a small output, maximising your compressor efficiency is crucial.

Because of the many complexities involved in ensuring the efficiency of your compressor station has been optimised, enlisting the services of suitably trained people is essential.

Three of the many methods that can be used to achieve maximum efficiency include:

Reducing system air pressure. A one bar pressure drop  represents a six percent saving in energy cost plus reduces the amount of air escaping in leaks.

Reducing offload power. When a compressor is on load the energy is being used well, however when offloaded this  energy is waste. The more offload power can be reduced, the better.

Making use of heat recovery. Because most energy that goes into a compressor is lost in the form of heat, making use of this heat greatly improves efficiency. Many companies duct exhaust heat away from the compressor to heat the factory in winter, which is good efficiency during the colder months but doesnt help efficiency in summer.

If heat is used in the production process then using heat generated from the compressor to assist the process via a plate heat exchanger is a good option.


There are many other ways compressor efficiency can be improved. Finding the best combination for a given factory requires skill and experience. This is why Kaeser invests heavily into the ongoing training of staff and customers.

Recently a customer attended a Kaeser Compressed Air Seminar and subsequently reviewed their compressor station. They felt that reasonable savings could be made and called us in to confirm this. After analysis an additional compressor with a plate heat exchanger was purchased and the compressor station modified. This significantly reduced the amount of offload time in the compressor station. Also, the heat obtained from the plate heat exchanger was sufficient for heating a painting booth  removing the need for the old heating system, and making a big impact on annual power costs.


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