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Optimising compressed air system management in the company

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[ Detailed version of the measure ]
Last update: 18/04/2024
  • 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 in the use of production machinery and specific pneumatic tools. Despite its abundant use, it is a complex medium to control, resulting in high operating costs. In an unmonitored installation, losses during heat generation and distribution due to leaks can be up to 90 %. Compressed air costs can be contained by regularly analysing energy requirements and through technological monitoring. This measure is required for every new 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.
  • Reduce network pressure as far as possible according to compressed air requirements (temporary reduction possible depending on requirements) Identify and eliminate leaks in the existing system.

To take your compressed air optimisation project a step further

The main tasks of a consulting engineering office (technical process specialist) 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

The responsibility for compressed air is delegated to a designated employee within the company. This person’s role is to keep an eye on the compressed air equipment and is responsible for ensuring that it is continuously inspected.

Control of compressed air system

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 from the compressed air system be used for warm-air heating in winter?
  • Can you combine a heat exchanger with the installation (used to support heating, domestic hot water production or process heat)?
  • Does it make economic sense to use waste heat?
  • Can I remove waste heat from the compressor when it’s not in use (in summer)?
  • Is the system still fit for purpose and efficient enough (installation of a new compressed air system)?

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

Please note: any application for government or non-government subsidies must comply with the “incentive effect”, subject to compliance with the subsidy conditions.

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

Government subsidies

N.B. Government subsidies cannot be combined for the same project.

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:

N.B.: Subsidies from suppliers can be combined with state subsidies for the same project.

Implementation aid

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