Eliminate Inappropriate Uses of Compressed Air PDF Print E-mail
Written by USDOE Office of Industrial Technologies   
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 11:18

Eliminate Inappropriate Uses of Compressed Air

Compressed air generation is one of the most expensive utilities in an industrial facility. When used wisely, compressed air can provide a safe and reliable source of power to key industrial processes. Users should always consider other cost-effective forms of power to accomplish the required tasks and eliminate unproductive demands. Inappropriate uses of compressed air include any application that can be done more effectively or more efficiently by a method other than compressed air. The table below provides some uses of compressed air that may be inappropriate and suggests alternative ways to perform these tasks.

*Equipment that is temporarily not in use during the production cycle.
**Equipment that is no longer in use either due to a process change or malfunction.

The table below shows inappropriate uses of compressed air in an automobile assem- bly plant. The plant took several action steps identified in the table to eliminate or reduce these inappropriate uses. Peak flow is identified in cubic feet per minute (cfm).

The plant audit showed that the energy used to generate the compressed air averages 18 kW/100 cfm. The aggregate electric rate at the plant is $0.05 per kWh.

Annual savings
= [kW per cfm] x [cfm savings] x [# of hours] x [$ per kWh]
= 18/100 x [(150 x 6,500) + (1,000 x 5,000) + (800 x 3,500) + (750 x 3,500)] x $0.05
= $102,600

Net savings:
Calculate electric energy costs for the motor-driven vacuum pump, fans, and actuators, and subtract these costs from the annual savings calculated to determine the net savings. Note that there will be a one-time cost of installation for the added equipment.

EERE Information Center 1-877-EERE-INF (1-877-337-3463) www.eere.energy.gov
Industrial Technologies Program Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585-0121 www.eere.energy.gov/industry


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