For more than a decade, money wasted through compressed air leaks has often been cited as the number one quick fix manufacturers can take to begin getting a hold on their energy costs. Going back to 1998, a Department of Energy “Compressed Air Challenge” fact sheet notes that “leaks can be a significant source of wasted energy in an industrial compressed air system, sometimes wasting 20-30 percent of a compressor’s output. A typical plant that has not been well maintained will likely have a leak rate equal to 20 percent of total compressed air production capacity.”
Adjusting data from that 1998 Department of Energy fact sheet to 2013 dollars, a 1/4-in. leak that cost $8,382/year in 1998 would now cost a manufacturer $12,026/year. And that’s not even adjusting for the average kWh rate, which was 5 cents/kWh in 1998 and now averages about ~12 cents/kWh.
ISO 11011:2013 – introduced in August 2013, with a framework for assessing and auditing compressed air systems – is being welcomed by the industry for its ability to rationalise and improve compressed air energy efficiency.
ISO 11011 enables industry to receive accurate assessments of the savings achievable by professional management of compressed air systems and the installation of energy-efficient compressors and controllers.
According to Stephen Boults, capital equipment manager at Thorite, that’s very important.