Thursday, May 20
Increasing Energy Efficiency While Using Compressed Air
With Earth Day coming up and energy costs continuing to rise, we figured it was the perfect time to discuss energy efficiency in your facility! Wasted compressed air can be the highest energy cost your plant observes, so it is important to be maintaining and implementing the proper compressed air equipment to maximize your energy efficiencies. Let's take a look at what goes into creating an energy efficient system:
Discovering Your Energy Inefficiencies
It is most times not easy to locate where your own energy inefficiencies are originating from in your compressed air system, and that is why we are here to help! There are a few assessments Zorn Compressor & Equipment can provide you in order to find problems and solutions to your energy usage during operation. Zorn Compressor also provides complimentary system walkthroughs for all new and returning customers. These are performed by one of our Compressed Air Challenge Level 2 Certified Account Managers and they utilize our “System Efficiency Worksheet” to have a discussion with you on supply and demand side components, with an estimate of electrical operating costs and general areas for improvement. These are surface level assessments that are a great start for further analysis. If you are looking for a more in-depth analysis and discussion, Zorn Compressor offers a great set of audit options:
A full system audit is designed for larger, complex systems and can require multiple days onsite for data collection and analysis. Zorn sends one of our DOE Qualified AirMaster+ Specialists and we utilize a process modeled after the Department of Energy’s ESA audit. A few things covered in this audit include desiccant sampling, supply side assessments, verification of equipment performance and controls, leak detection, pump up testing piping design assessment, point-of-use flow metering, component pressure, temperature differentials, air quality monitoring, and more!
Supply side assessments determine your current compressed-air usage and estimated electrical operating costs. This type of assessment is ideal for creating a new system. The data that is gathered and analyzed will be put into a customized report that includes an air demand profile, pressure levels, compressor utilization, dryer dew point performance, compressor contribution graphs, a single point pressure graph, and annual electrical operating cost estimates.
A demand side assessment will provide a detailed study of your entire distribution system and the processes that consume compressed air. Some areas we commonly analyze include, but are not limited to, high-speed, cyclical applications, open blowing applications, bag house pulses, header pressure, and pressure drop locations.
Wasted compressed air via compressed air leaks, can be one of the highest costs of your compressed air utilization. Because of this, we frequently perform leak detections utilizing ultrasonic detection equipment to help stop any wasted compressed air from leaving your system. A trained technician will perform the service which includes identification, tagging, and logging of leaks and will then provide you with a customized report that not only identifies but quantifies the leaks with a log to document repairs.
If you choose to move forward with repairs, a Zorn technician will repair tagged leaks, with minimal downtime, on accessible areas like pipe fittings, tubing, poly connects, hose connections, FRLs, and drains. If it is not an easily accessible leak and is an integral piece to production equipment, we can also repair it, but your system may be subject to downtime and parts availabilities.
Energy Efficient Equipment Examples
Variable Speed Drive compressors, or VSD compressors, regulate the operating speed to help save businesses money. The drive feature allows you to control the speed of the airflow according to the demand that needs to be met. The compressor will deliver constant pressure and provide it at an exact volume and consistency to meet actual demand. This means, if demand is high, it will supply more energy at a higher speed to continuously product the correct amount of pressure to meet production needs. On the other hand, if demand is low, it will reduce its speed, thus reducing energy consumption. In comparison, a Fixed Speed Compressor can only operate at full speed when on and does not fluctuate with varying demands.
Like the logic behind VSDs, cycling refrigerated dryers only run when demand needs to be met. A cycling refrigerated dryer can store cold energy until it is needed, saving energy. They are called “cycling” dryers because they have the capabilities to cycle on and off to respond to your facility’s actual demand. In comparison, a non-cycling refrigerated dryer runs continuously and does not fluctuate to match demand. There are three kinds of cycling refrigerated air dryers to choose from:
- Thermal Mass Cycling Refrigerated Dryers: these cycling dryers utilize thermal storage to store cooling capacities that can then be used when the dryer is operating lower than full load. Once the thermal mass reaches a certain temperature, the refrigeration compressor automatically switches off to save energy.
- Digital Scroll Cycling Refrigerated Dryers: these cycling dryers are either operating at full capacity or no capacity but will switch between the two automatically in response to the demand.
- Variable Speed Drive Refrigerated Air Dryers: these cycling dryers automatically adjust the motor speed for the refrigerated compressor and fan to respond to actual demand.
Zero loss air drains, or zero loss condensate drains, automatically remove unwanted moisture in the air from your compressed air system. These drains only open when a liquid is present and prevent any air from escaping when doing so. This means that you will not lose any air pressure while moisture is removed from the system. This is in comparison to manual drains where an operator will need to open the valves and discharge the liquid themselves. A manual drain would require constant attention and leads to frequent air loss which ends up costing companies more money by utilizing more energy while a zero loss drain requires little to no attention due to a sensor that indicates and initiates the drain to drain itself and close the valve before pressurized air can escape.
Focus on Energy Incentives
In Wisconsin, Zorn Compressor & Equipment is one of Focus on Energy’s (FOE) Trade Ally’s. Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal electric utilities and electric cooperatives. We work with FOE to help our customers get incentives for upgrading to energy efficient equipment! Utilizing our energy efficient compressed air equipment automatically qualifies you for prescriptive rebates. Utilizing certain types of compressed air equipment in your facility allows for maximized efficiencies that also keep your utility bills lower than if you were to use other kinds of compressed air equipment- also being better for the environment. FOE believes that “by eliminating energy waste we reduce the need to purchase coal and natural gas from other states. This keeps dollars in Wisconsin and lessens the need to build additional power plants.” To put this initiative into perspective, we witnessed, from our customers who completed energy savings projects in 2022, a total of $200,000 in FOE incentives paid and a reduction of 55 million KWh from utilizing the energy efficient compressed air equipment.
In Illinois, we work with ComEd in a similar way as we do with FOE, to bring our customers the largest benefits of upgrading to energy efficient equipment. ComEd is based out of Exelon Corp, a Fortune 100 energy company. They are working to both save Illinois residents and business money on their electric bills while also decreasing their carbon footprints as well. ComEd also provides incentives to support energy efficient compressed air upgrades.
- Lower electrical costs
- Smaller carbon footprint
- Gained rebates & incentives
- Increased reliability
- Higher operating efficiencies
- Return on investment
- Quieter operations
- Longer system longevity
Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction.
Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.
- Reliable equipment
- Trusted brands
- Seamless, easy installation
- Post-sales support
- Local, 24/7 service
Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.
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