Compressed air is expensive. More than that – it is crazy inefficient. Up to ninety percent of the energy used to create compressed air is lost as heat.
Let’s put that in perspective. Say you want to enjoy some chocolate. You buy a fancy package of triangle chocolate that comes with ten little sections. If it were compressed air, you get to enjoy one piece. The rest gets thrown out the window (and hopefully into a compost pile). Talk about unsatisfying.
This leads to the number one option for saving energy with compressed air systems. Don’t use it. Almost everything else is a better option.
Oh yea? Name one.
Easy – if compressed air is used to blow something, chances are a better option exists. This includes applications such as drying, atomizing, or process cooling. A blower can provide the same results for a fraction of the cost. Blowers can be either centrifugal or positive displacement fans and are designed to provide high volume, low-pressure air.
When selecting a blower to replace compressed air, three general categories exist. The categories are broken down based on the pressures they deliver. To maximize the energy savings, select the lowest pressure blower possible for the application.
- Category 1: Low pressure blowers produce pressures up to 1 psi.
- Category 2: Medium pressure blowers produce pressures up to 2.5 psi.
- Category 3: High pressure blowers produce pressures up to 30 psi.
What makes them so great?
Tons of things. Lower operating cost is an easy one that was already mentioned. Maintenance savings is another. Blowers are simple to install, maintain, and replace. Compressed air systems are complicated machines that require a great deal of time to maintain. Blowers reduce that headache.
Last, but certainly not least, utilizing blowers reduces length of the compressed air lines in a facility, eliminating parasitic leak potential. And anyone who has run a compressed air plant knows how nice that will be the next time they do a leak study.