How efficient compressed air delivery can save you money

Published: 30-May-2024

Investing in optimal filtration systems for compressed air delivery is crucial in saving money and reducing energy usage

Whether due to system leaks or outdated filter choices, inefficient compressed air delivery rubs even more salt into the wound of high energy prices. Fortunately, a finely tuned, optimised setup can produce significant financial savings.

After recently completing 12 compressed air efficiency projects at its facilities, Donaldson’s annual energy demand has been reduced by 496 MWh – approximately the same amount needed to power 220 electric cars for a year.

As a prevalent supplier of filters that reduce contamination from the moment air enters a compressor through to its point of use, the company enjoys obvious advantages when identifying where efficiencies can be made. If an expert in the field is able to realise major savings in its own operations, imagine the possibilities that non-specialists that rely heavily on compressed air could unlock.


Generating compressed air accounts for up to 30% of a plant’s electricity costs


Generating compressed air accounts for up to 30% of a plant’s electricity costs, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE), but fortunately this can be influenced in a direct way. The onus is firmly on stopping leaks and the use of high-quality filters and components specifically designed to deliver the highest performance with the lowest pressure losses.


Reducing costs and saving energy

With innovative filter media and flow-optimised filter housings, energy-saving potentials can be realised. So, with hundreds of thousands of filters in use worldwide to generate the high compressed air quality required by ISO 8573-1:2010, the potential for reducing CO2 pollution and creating financial savings is huge.

Running a compressor with minimised energy consumption requires three distinct quality filters to work in harmony, filtering particulates and separating oil mist from the airstream without being too restrictive for air moving through the system.

Inlet air filters benefit from Donaldson’s Ultra-Web fine fibre technology that can provide efficiencies of 99.99% and a superior dust surface loading with a low pressure drop — contributing to energy savings


Air-oil separators 

Donaldson’s advanced oil filters, featuring resin-free Synteq XP technology, efficiently trap contaminants to deliver superior performance. The air-oil separator, also using Synteq XP coalescing media, ensures extended life, low pressure drop and considerable energy savings compared to standard media, while helping to meet oil carryover requirements. 

This contributes to reduced overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).


The filter attains an oil aerosol separation efficiency of ≥99.9% according to ISO standards


Separating liquid and solid particles, the efficient way

Following its departure from the compressor, the compressed air typically undergoes a series of treatment stages before reaching its point of use. Here, the advanced design of Donaldson’s UltraPleat filtration technology optimises compressed air treatment, utilising coated high-tech fibres to create a pleated filter medium. 

This structure supports exceptional separation efficiency for liquid and solid particles, boasting a surface area over 400% larger than traditional media. The filter attains an oil aerosol separation efficiency of ≥99.9% according to ISO standards, while concurrently cutting the differential pressure by 50%.

An illustrative calculation exemplifies the significant economic benefits of this technology: a 300 mbar reduction in differential pressure over 8,000 operating hours translates to approximately £5,650 in savings per UltraPleat filter annually (considering 7 bar system pressure, 110 kW installed compressor power, and a cost of 0.21p/kWh).

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