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Optimising compressed air system management in the company

Energy
Mobility and transportation
Craft Industry
Aid and care sector
Commerce
Manufacturing
Transport
Administration
Agriculture, viticulture
[ Main measure ]
Last update: 05/10/2023
  • Available tools
  • Possibility of assistance
  • Subsidies available

Control operating costs related to compressed air systems in the company

Compressed air is an energy carrier that is frequently used in many sectors, particularly when operating production machines and specific pneumatic tools. Despite its abundant use, it is a difficult vector to control, with high operating costs. In an unmonitored installation, production (heat) and distribution (leakage) losses can be as high as 90%. The aim of this measurement is to demonstrate the various levers for optimising a compressed air system.

Definition of compressed air requirements

Inspection of compressed air system

Re-evaluation of compressed air applications

  • Given the very high cost of using compressed air, it is advisable before any optimisation to determine whether compressed air is the best way to perform this task.

To take your compressed air optimisation project a step further

The main tasks of a design office (engineering consultant) within the scope of compressed air system optimisation are as follows:

  • carry out an inventory of compressed air infrastructure
  • analyse energy consumption in relation to compressed air production
  • check for leaks in the network, particularly at consumer connections.

Implementation of compressed air optimisation measures

Appointment of a compressed air delegate within the company

Delegating responsibility for compressed air to an employee keeps a constant eye and open ear on the company’s compressed air equipment.

Control of compressed air system

  • Minimize air leaks, plan regular checks, e.g. once a week, using the guide “Costly air leaks”.
  • Consider using a leak detector
  • Regular maintenance
  • Organise periodic inspections (to be carried out by an approved body).
  • Use the conclusions of inspection reports to optimise the installation.

Setting the correct compressed air pressure level

Each compressed air consumer and compressor is designed to operate at a specific pressure. It’s a question of finding the right balance between production, the network (with its load losses) and the various consumers.

Implementation of best practices for compressed air system use

  • Raising awareness among employees who use compressed air
  • Adapt operating times to work schedules, e.g. overnight or weekend shutdowns, temporary shutdowns, etc.

Waste heat recovery:

Renewing the system is an ideal opportunity to check whether waste heat can be used. The heat recovered can be used to heat domestic hot water or premises. The use of waste heat with a heat exchanger is generally economical if the compressor size is 15 kW or larger. If conditions are ideal, heat recovery can also make sense with smaller compressors.

The following points should be clarified:

  • Can waste heat be used for warm-air heating in winter?
  • Is it possible to install a heat exchanger (used to support heating, domestic hot water production or process heat)?
  • Does it make economic sense to use waste heat?
  • How can I remove waste heat from the compressor when it’s not in use (in summer)?

Good to know

Small investments can save even more energy:

  • Add an automatic trigger system
  • Installing pressure-reducing valves
  • Replace timed condensate traps
  • Equip permanent consumers with solenoid valves
  • Replace old fittings with low-loss materials

Subsidy application

Notice: incentive effect needs to be respected for all requests for subsidies (state or otherwise)

In order to respect the “incentive effect”, no binding commitment (signing a quotation; paying a deposit) can be made BEFORE having received the agreement in principle from the State or the electricity and natural gas supplier following a request for assistance.

Government subsidies

Assistance from electricity and natural gas suppliers for compressed air systems

Since 2015, natural gas and electricity suppliers have been obliged to deliver energy savings to consumers as part of the obligation mechanism. Since then, energy suppliers have been offering support and advisory services, as well as assistance programs for consumers to implement energy efficiency measures.

The following suppliers offer this service to businesses:

Implementation aid

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