06/2009 - Not just a lot of hot air!

David Burton, General Manager of BOGE discusses how compressed air users can optimise their compressed air related energy usage through heat recovery.

"The pressure to optimise energy usage in industry has never been so intense - rising electricity prices, environmental pressures and the current economic climate are all contributing to tough trading conditions for all businesses.

Heat recovery offers a number of compressed air users the opportunity to re-direct waste heat generated by the compressor into heating spaces, such as workshops, to heating domestic water. In doing so, the user can reduce their associated energy costs.

In the balance
Almost the entire energy consumption from the supply net of a standard compressor is converted into heat. Using the example of an oil lubricated screw compressor, diagram 1 demonstrates that approximately 4% of the heat remains in the compressed air as residual heat whilst 2% is lost to the atmosphere through radiation. Importantly, 94% is available for heat recovery. This percentage may vary slightly depending on the efficiency of the motor which will affect the amount of heat emitted. This waste heat can be directed to heat rooms such as workshops or warehouse space or even to heat domestic water.

The implementation of heat recovery
Heat recovery is ideal where the compressor in question is within the immediate vicinity of an area being heated. Clearly this is not always practical in which case a room could be heated via ducting. As a result, the investment cost for a waste heat recovery system will vary depending on the location of the compressor(s) and the location of the area(s) to be heated.

In order to determine the potential energy and cost savings of implementing a heat recovery system you must first assess the heat demand in the area surrounding the compressor installation. This assessment should then be compared to the average operating hours of the existing compressed air system. This will demonstrate the possible payback from implementing heat recovery in terms of the immediate reductions in fuel, oil and gas costs.

When it comes to air-cooled compressors, waste heat in cooling air can be used in many sectors of industry for drying processes whilst using a heat exchanger in the compressor system to supplement water heating can be used for space heating or, under certain circumstances, in processing procedures.

BOGE has successfully developed a standard heat recovery system for oil injected screw compressors. The BOGE Duotherm heat exchangers operate independently from the cooling system in a highly efficient manner. Installed directly into the compressor oil circuit, the BOGE Duotherm heat exchanger is able to use the waste heat in the most efficient manner.

The Duotherm system can recover up to 75% of the electrical power taken into the compressor. This is taken in the form of heat recovered from the compressor oil.

Attractive efficiency
Optimising energy usage has increased the demand for heat recovery. Ideally it is best to discuss heat recovery when planning a new installation as the positioning of the compressor can be more carefully considered for the waste heat requirements. However it is commonplace to retrofit a heat recovery system onto an existing compressor.

Compressors offer a great opportunity for saving energy and costs through re-directing waste heat. However, it is normally only practical with large compressors or combined systems as the amount of energy which can be used clearly increases with the capacity of the compressor.

In order to determine viability a needs analysis should always be undertaken to assess the heat rejected. This analysis can then be derived from the average running time of the compressor. This comparison will demonstrate the actual value of implementing a heat recovery system. It will also show whether reclamation can cover the demand for heating or whether it just supplements an existing system.

In the right application, re-directing the heat generated by the compressor for heating space to heating domestic water will reduce associated energy bills and optimise the compressor."

David Burton, General Manager BOGE Compressors Ltd

Compressed air users can optimise their compressed air related energy usage through heat recovery

Diagram 1 - distribution of heat in a screw compressor with oil injection cooling

Editors Notes
BOGE Compressors Ltd is the UK Daughter Company of BOGE International GmbH based in Bielefeld, Germany. BOGE manufactures a comprehensive range of oil lubricated and oil free screw and piston compressors used by all sectors of industry to supply compressed air for a wide range of manufacturing processes. It also supplies a complementary range of filters, dryers and condensate management equipment. The product is sold and serviced through a dedicated network of 36 distributors throughout the UK and Ireland.

BOGE Compressors Ltd, Rastrick Common, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, HD6 3DR
Tel: +44 (0) 1484 719921 Fax: +44 (0) 1484 712516
E-mail: uk (at) boge.com Web: www.boge.co.uk

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