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Home Forums Energy Efficiency & Facility Management Compressed Air System – $100k extra energy bill, or $1k filter replacement ?

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    Phun Lee Ming

    MoneyWhich has bigger impact on a company profitability ? Replacing a filter cartridge which cost $1k per piece, or Paying more than $100k in energy cost ? 

    It is a no brainer question, Right ?

    But, in my last 20 years in Compressed Air System practice; I have seen many instances, the factory operator has “decided” to “delay: the $1k filter cartridge replacement cost.

    I am not here to debate the wisdom of factory operator, but to share the facts for better decision making.

    In compressed air system, the filter is used to remove dust, or oil vapor; before reaching the operation for various air application. Over time, the filter cartridge will be filled with collected dust or contaminant particles. When this happen, the gap for air passage become narrow, creating blockage for compressed air to pass through. In short, this resulted in “Pressure Drop”. In Layman term, the pressure at the outlet is now lower than the inlet of the filter. When this happen, the air pressure at production will be lower accordingly. So, the production floor will complaint, and the utilities engineer will set the compressor to a higher operating pressure. Problem solved ? Yes and NO!

    NO! because a bigger problem is created !

    For compressor to operate a higher pressure setting, it will consume higher input power.

    A rule of thumb, every 2psig higher in pressure, will require 1% higher in power input.

    Imaging when the utilities engineer increase the pressure setting by additional 0.5barg(7 psig) at the compressors ? For a compressor with a rated motor of 200kW, running 18 hours and 350 days, this additional 0.5barg will require 44,100kWH per year of additional power. Imaging if you are running multiple units of this 200kW compressors ? The cost will escalate to $100k or more !

    So, help your company to make the right decision. Bring the additional $100k into the accounting book as additional profit !

    By the way, your decision also save the earth….









    Good knowledge sharing,

    Installation of the differential pressure sensors across the filter is advisable.



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