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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Compressed Air Systems

Compressed Air Systems

Aluminum Plant Meters Compressed Air Flow to Solve Capacity Issues

Compressed Air Best Practices, Oct. 2015, by Jack Sine.

"A major Midwestern aluminum plant was experiencing dwindling compressed air capacity, primarily due to air leaks. If those capacity issues went unresolved, the facility would have needed rental compressors to keep up with demand. Instead, they turned to flow metering to identify and fix the leaks. In this article, they share their solutions with others who may be having similar difficulties."

Steel Mill Energy Audits Include Air Compressor Performance Testing

Compressed Air Best Practices, Oct. 2015, by Eric Lee.

"EnSave, an energy auditing company based in Richmond, Vermont, recently performed compressed air audits at two facilities of a leading U.S. steel manufacturer. Both plants are mills that melt, cast, and roll steel to produce a variety of products, including: rebar, merchant bar, steel flats, rounds, fence posts, channel bar, steel channels, steel angles, structural angles and structural channels."

What to Expect from an Effective Compressed Air Audit

Compressed Air Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Don van Ormer.

"Compressed air has moved to higher visibility in the energy conservation field, and the buzzwords abound: “the fourth utility” — “your most expensive utility” — “eight times more expensive than electricity” — “a quarter-inch leak costs $9,000 in wasted energy.” This greater awareness has also produced compressed air auditors that are springing up like summer dandelions. With audits available from many sources, it is important to understand what plant operations, engineers and maintenance managers should expect from a complete audit — or more aptly — a complete air system review."

Variable Inlet Guide Vanes Boost Centrifugal Air Compressor Efficiency

Compressed Air Best Practices, Sep. 2015, by Chris Downs.

"Variable inlet guide vanes are an ingenious yet simple option that, when installed on your centrifugal compressor, can deliver energy savings of up to 9 percent. By replacing a standard inlet butterfly valve with a new inlet guide vane assembly, substantial energy savings can be realized whenever the compressor operates at less than full load or when ambient air temperature is less than design temperature (usually 95°F, 35°C). Many manufacturers offer this option as a retrofit for existing compressors."

Desiccant Air Dryer Control: Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

Compressed Air Best Practices, Aug. 2015, by Ron Marshall.

"Many thousands of dollars of annual electrical savings are being achieved worldwide using special purge reduction controls on desiccant air dryers. These controls reduce the expensive purge air that must flow through the dryer to regenerate the desiccant beds. But, unexpected problems with these controls can cause hidden problems that can reduce or eliminate the savings."

Maximizing Dust Collection System Efficiency

Compressed Air Best Practices, June 2015, by Hank van Ormer.

"A commonly overlooked area of inefficient compressed air use is dust collector pulse-jet cleaning — either bag (sock) type, or reverse flow filter type. Dust collector systems are vital to many plant operations, particularly with respect to meeting both indoor and outdoor air quality standards. They are also often used to collect income-producing product. At the heart of a pulse-jet type dust collector is the proper installation and availability of compressed air."

Determining the Economic Value of Compressed Air Measurement Systems

Compressed Air Best Practices, June 2015, by Tim Dugan.

"A common adage that has been quoted many times in this journal is: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This is partly true. It assumes that managers are willing and able to manage the costs and reliability of their compressed air system. Without data, however, they can’t do an effective job. But because managers are at times already overwhelmed with data, more data doesn’t automatically make them a better manager. A better way of saying it is: 'Appropriate measurement can make you a better manager.'"

The Challenges of Auditing Compressed Air in Chemical and Petrochemical Plants

Compressed Air Best Practices, May 2015, by Paul Edwards.

"Compressed air audits for chemical and petrochemical plants have many characteristics in common with audits in other industries, but there are some differences in the way these businesses run that impact the goals of the typical audit and how that audit is conducted. In chemical and petrochemical facilities, the reason for auditing the demand side is different than that of other industries."

Centrifugal Air Compressor Basics: Deciphering Manufacturer Performance Curves

Compressed Air Best Practices, May 2015, by Hank van Ormer.

"In general, this article focuses on the operating principles of centrifugal air compressors, discussing them in simple terms to provide an understanding of application limitations and opportunities. One primary goal is to define often-confusing terminology, such as 'rise to surge,' 'stonewall and surge,' 'mass flow,' and 'dynamic compression.'"

Growing Factory Experiences Air Compressor Control-Gap Issues

Compressed Air Best Practices, Apr. 2015, by Ron Marshall.

"This case study illustrates the importance of verifying the installation after the installation by monitoring the system with data loggers. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, the conditions that exist and the limitations of the control system can cause the system to run inefficiently."
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