As an operations manager or facility engineer, perhaps you're finding that your heating bills are really high. At the same time, have you noticed that you are wasting loads of heat energy produced by your ageing air compressor?
If so, here are some tips on how to significantly reduce your oil and gas heating bills and improve your environmental performance.
In your manufacturing plant, you are likely paying for heating oil or natural gas for the following:
It is also highly likely that you have a compressed air system which is potentially wasting large amounts of heat energy. In fact, around 96% of the electrical energy used by an industrial air compressor is available to reuse through heat recovery systems. So where is it going in your plant? And is there a better way to use it rather than venting it outside the building?
Assuming you have a highly energy-efficient air compressor, you can think of that as a mini power station or energy source instead. It is likely that you are already producing heat within your air compression system, so you may not need anything else if you harness this correctly.
By integrating standard HVAC ductwork and controls, warm air from HPC compressors can be harnessed for many different purposes. Space heating, for example, can be regulated easily using thermostatically controlled, motorised louver flaps for venting to maintain consistent room temperature.
Rejected heat from the air compressor can also be used to heat water or fluids and there are various types of heat exchangers available, depending on the application.
For example, up to 76 percent of the original input electrical energy for the compressor system can be recovered for use in hot water heating systems and service water installations. This significantly reduces primary energy demand required for heating purposes.
An HPC air compressor uses relatively minimal electricity. However, we can also recover up to 96% of the residual heat and help improve your environmental footprint even further.
For example, a 200hp compressed air system may consume about 170kW of electricity per hour. If it is used for 8000 operating hours over the year (which is quite typical) that equates to 1.36 million kWh. That makes a lot of heat – which is often just pumped outside.
So, if we can capture 96% of the residual heat, that gives the plant 4.45 billion BTUs available for heat. That’s equivalent to about 26,000 gals of heating oil or up to 3.65 MMcf of natural gas that you don’t need to pay for each year.
Of course, there is investment in ductwork and other parts and engineering costs, but generally, the larger the system, the faster the payback. The savings also usually depend on the efficiency and age of all your other heating systems and savings are not always the driver for doing these projects.
Heat recovery from air compression systems hugely contribute to an improved environmental performance of the business, something that is increasingly important for many businesses.
So if you were thinking about solar panels for your factory roof, make sure you look at your air compressor(s) first.
Government grants are available to support these green initiatives for factory heating systems and HPC can help support any business case with free evaluations and quoting.