Why be energy efficient?
Approximately 10% of the electricity supplied to Australian industry is used to compress air.1 Many industrial businesses use compressed air to operate equipment such as hand tools, pumps, valve actuators, pistons and large-scale processes.
There is significant potential to save energy and improve the bottom line in this area. It can be achieved by reducing the need for compressed air services, optimising equipment and upgrading old systems. Typically, 20–50% energy savings are possible.2
For information on types of air compressors, see Technology Background – Compressed Air.
A good air compressor energy efficiency strategy relies on an integrated approach that incorporates the following opportunities:
- Murray Goulburn Co–operative Leongatha Plant 2008 (Opens in a new window)
- Sustainability Victoria
- PDF 377 KB
This case study describes how Murray Goulburn Co-operative undertook a system-based audit to deliver energy savings and cost reductions through the improved use of compressed air. This led to a range of changes to the compressed air system at their Leongatha plant, which reduced their energy and maintenance bill by more than $147,000 per annum with a project payback within 2.4 years.
- Climate Energy Efficiency Case Study: Futuris Automotive 2011 (Opens in a new window)
Futuris provides seating and interior trim on a just in time basis to Ford Australia. At their Cambellfield site between 2008 and 2009 they more than halved their average energy intensity. This case study outlines an energy efficiency demonstration project that set out to identify further cost effective energy efficiency opportunities.
- North American Case Studies - Compressed Air Systems 2004
This content provides links to a number of compressed air case studies drawn from a range of programs across Canadian and United States industries.
- Case Studies – Compressor and Compressed Air Systems 2006
A collection of case studies focusing on the optimisation of compressor and compressed air systems. Each case study reports project costs, annual cost savings and payback period, as well as identifying other issues and benefits. These case studies will be useful in helping to identify new energy efficiency opportunities, estimating energy savings potential, developing business cases for process optimisation and leak identification and repair.
- Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide: Compressed Air Systems 2009 (Opens in a new window)
This is a step-by-step guide to improving energy efficiency in compressed air systems and achieving best practice. The guide will help users determine changes that can be made to reduce operating costs and improve operation and performance of equipment.
- Improving Compressed Air System Performance – A Sourcebook for Industry 2003 (Opens in a new window)
- Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory
- PDF 1 MB
This resource focuses on the improvement potential of compressed air systems. It includes an introduction to industrial compressed air systems and opportunities to improve performance.
- Compressed Air Overview 2012
- UK Carbon Trust
This website features an introduction to opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of compressed air systems in a UK context. Information is categorised under maintenance, housekeeping, and upgrading equipment and systems. Further detailed information is also available in a range of subject-specific PDF guides to compressed air technology.
Note, publications on this website are free to access, but users must register first.
For more resources, see Resources – Compressed Air.
Related EEX content
Footnotes ~ Show 2 footnotes
- Sustainability Victoria (2009) Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide: Compressed Air Systems Sustainability Victoria (Opens in a new window) PDF 1.58 MB ↩
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2003) Improving Compressed Air System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry US Department of Energy (Opens in a new window) PDF 1.1 MB ↩