You are on page 1of 5

Energy saving opportunities in air compressor

Background -

Air compressors account for significant amount of electricity used in Indian industries. Air
compressors are used in a variety of industries to supply process requirements, to operate pneumatic
tools and equipment, and to meet instrumentation needs. Only 10-30%
10 30% of energy reaches the point of
end-use, and balance 70-90%
90% of energy of the power of the prime mover being converted to unusable
heat energy and to a lesser extent lost in form of friction, misuse and noise. The compressed air
system is not only an energy intensive utility but also one of the least energy efficient.

Source - The Carbon Trust 2005

Surprising energy facts!

FACT: Annual energy cost of air compressors is approximately 7 times the compressor‘s capital
cost. One liter per second of free air delivery requires approximately 330 watts of electrical
power input (at 700 kPa).

FACT: Every 0.5

.5 bar operating set pressure reduction yields 4% saving in driving energy.

FACT: Every 10 l/s of compressed air leakage increases energy use by about 7 MWh/year
costing about Rs.40000/-.

FACT: The energy efficiency of a compressed air system is very low,

low often only 4––5%

FACT: Audits have regularly highlighted system leakage exceeding 20% and, in some cases,
more than 50% of the total air compression output.
How to achieve energy efficiencies in air compressor system

One of the major reasons of drop in efficiency of air compressor is inlet air temp. As air
compressor are volumetric machines,
machines when the intake air temperature increases, the density of the
air lowers and hence compressor is not able to deliver designed quantity of air at given po
consumptions leading to drop in efficiency. Since the process demands continues flow of
compressed air, more number of compressors are deployed to cater this demand, which
essentially means more power is consumed to deliver given quantity.

Source – Bureau of Energy Efficiency

Solution –
Pre cooling of compressor intake air which will reduce its temp and also augment density of
intake air. The conventional methods of cooling fresh air are

• Evaporative cooling – The conventional method of cooling

cooling fresh air by using water as
refrigerant and evaporation process looks to me cheapest solution on the face. But it
is important to note, when the air is cooled by evaporation, sensible heat converted to
latent which means more moisture is picked in thethe intake air. This is harmful for the
compressor as water vapour is also compressed in the process leading to energy
wastage. It also put on additional load on after cooler and dryers.

• Air Conditioning – Refrigeration based air conditioning can be used for

for cooling of
the intake air, but the power consumption of vapour compression based HVAC
systems is so high that all the energy saved on compressor by this effort will equal to
the parasitic power of HVAC systems leading to negligible or practically no savi
The Low Energy air cooling alternative – Arka Two Stage Air Conditioning

Highlights -

• Unlike present day fresh air cooling systems,

s Arka Compressor Inlet Cooling System pre
cools the ambient air closer to the ambient wet bulb by using an proprietary Arka SensiCool
heat exchangers which capable of removing nearly 80 % of sensible heat with raw water as
well as reclaimed condensate generated by the chilled water coil.

• Arka Compressor Inlet Cooling System can improve system efficiency too. Raising the
dew point of supply air eliminates “over drying” and llowers
owers the operating cost of by limiting
the humidity in the critical space. Effectively control of relative humidity during Low load/
unoccupied periods
riods will call for extra dehumidification. The unit can provide this function by
modulating the chilled water.

• The sensible cooling achieved through Arka SensiCool heater exchanger uses of low
temperature condensate collected from the coil is used to achieve free sensible cooling to
nearly saturation temperature of fresh air.

• This practice minimizes the requirement for additional AHU/FCU

/FCU units and adequately
controls the indoor relative humidity without the need for dehumidification demand in the
terminal units.

• It is important to note, during high ambient hhumidity conditions, the

he load on D
goes up multi fold which will be cut down as Arka Compressor Inlet Cooling System
offers pre cooled and dehumidified air at constant DP.

Energy saving sample calculations-


Input data –

Compressor 950 CFM No. OF COMPRESSOR NO.

Compressor make/model xxxxx
Compressor type Screw
No of stages Two
Annual running hours 5,000
Operating pressure 7.5 bar
Power @ ISO conditions (in KW)
25°C -- 30°C - 35°C 172K 40°C - 45°C -
Ambient conditions in compressor room
SUMMER 40 -----------
MONSOON 38 -----------
WINTER 36 ----------

As per BEE table above

Increase in
%Reduction CFM Difference HP
Temp °C in CFM Delivered in CFM consumption Total HP
15 0 950 0 0 160
21.1 1.9 931.95 18.05 4.51 164.51
26.6 3.7 914.85 35.15 8.79 168.79
32.2 5.9 893.95 56.05 14.01 174.01
37.7 7.2 881.6 68.4 17.10 177.10
43.3 6.27 890.435 59.565 14.89 174.89

This means, when the ambient / intake air temperature is 32.2 C, 950 CMF compressor will able to
deliver only 893 CMF, leading to gap of 56 CFM. To bridge this gap additional electrical power of
17.1 HP ( by the same compressor or by adding compressor ) required, considered at 4 CFM / HP.
Likewise additional power
er consumption is calculated in sync with BEE table

When we consider the annual ambient data of that place for 8760 hours,

Temperature Hours Increase in HP

≤ 15 2 0
>15 & <= 21.1 682 3078
>21.1 & <= 26.6 2870 25220
>26.6 & <= 32.2 3463 48525
>32.2 & <= 37.7 1400 23940
>37.7 & <= 43.3 341 5078
>43 2 30
Increase in HP due to higher ambient
Total Hours 8760 105871 Temp

This is total power consumption to ensure 950 CFM will be delivered at all ambient conditions
in present scenario.
Now if thiss air is pre cooled by Arka Compressor Inlet Cooling System which is intended
to deliver 15 C irrespective of ambient conditions, the compressor
c will run at its
designed power consumption of 160 HP.
To achieve this temp drop, Arka Compressor Inlet Cooling System configured for 1000
CFM will consume approx 6 KW of power.

System Process Flow diagram -