Energy saving, CO2 reduction, and energy generation from renewable sources represent the three cornerstones of the energetic and environmental commitments of all the countries in the world. These three elements may give a quantitative contribution to the sustainability in an industrial environment. Among them, the most important one, that represents a driver in many sectors, is the limitation of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere: most recent data (2013) from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA-ERSL) set at 395.55 parts per million (ppm) the CO2 in the atmosphere and the continuous increasing trend will quickly allow to reach the 450 ppm level which is considered as a safeguard limit to avoid irreversible environmental and socioeconomics problems. Looking at the energy consumption side, energy saving is a key factor. Compressed air production does not escape this requirement and, for the compressor manufacturing industry, this can represent an opportunity with great potential benefits. Compressed air is produced by electrical energy and the consumption accounts as much as 10% of industrial consumption of electricity. A lower estimate places at 6% this share but an additional 12% is estimated to be associated with the commercial and residential markets (portable tools, air pumps, pneumatic heating, ventilation, air conditioning, etc.). Hence, the overall compressor needs are estimated equal to 20% of the industrial electricity needs. Considering that industrial consumption of electricity represents a given share of the overall electrical energy consumption (it depends on the geographical context, social development, industrial level, etc.), with good approximation, compressed air can be associated to the overall electricity consumption and to primary energy consumption too. So, it can be compared with the other energy alternatives when the data are reliable and referred to real situations, actions to promote energy efficiency in compressed air systems can be identified with their real importance and compared with all the other measures. From many independent studies the most important energy saving measures are associated to the: (1) reduction of leakages on the distribution lines, (2) a more appropriate compressed air system design, (3) use of adjustable speed drives, (4) waste heat recovery. All these aspects, in a 10-year period of operation, weigh 70–75% of the overall compressed air costs. Therefore, the compressor technology is a key factor to reduce energy consumption including in it load control, variable speed operation, compressor sizing, etc. A great potential saving is associated to leaks, friction pipes, etc. but these actions are downstream of the compressed air production. After having discussed some issues concerning the future overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions, considering the development of the electricity market in the world in the near future, and overall energy characteristics of existing machines widely used in the compressed air market, the article goes deep inside a specific compressor technology which is represented by the sliding vanes rotary type. Principal processes inside these machines are discussed in the light of the recent scientific literature advancement of a theoretical and experimental nature. The general idea was that these machines are not so well known and their use is not so widespread: thanks to a deeper scientific interest over the past few years, these compressors had a notable performance improvement, thus a greater potential in industrial applications. Thanks to some intrinsic aspects, some energy issues are presented and related to specific processes inside the machine and compared with other compressors. The potential further improvements in terms of specific energy are discussed and addressed in main future research directions.

Sliding vane rotary compressor technology and energy saving

CIPOLLONE, Roberto
2014

Abstract

Energy saving, CO2 reduction, and energy generation from renewable sources represent the three cornerstones of the energetic and environmental commitments of all the countries in the world. These three elements may give a quantitative contribution to the sustainability in an industrial environment. Among them, the most important one, that represents a driver in many sectors, is the limitation of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere: most recent data (2013) from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA-ERSL) set at 395.55 parts per million (ppm) the CO2 in the atmosphere and the continuous increasing trend will quickly allow to reach the 450 ppm level which is considered as a safeguard limit to avoid irreversible environmental and socioeconomics problems. Looking at the energy consumption side, energy saving is a key factor. Compressed air production does not escape this requirement and, for the compressor manufacturing industry, this can represent an opportunity with great potential benefits. Compressed air is produced by electrical energy and the consumption accounts as much as 10% of industrial consumption of electricity. A lower estimate places at 6% this share but an additional 12% is estimated to be associated with the commercial and residential markets (portable tools, air pumps, pneumatic heating, ventilation, air conditioning, etc.). Hence, the overall compressor needs are estimated equal to 20% of the industrial electricity needs. Considering that industrial consumption of electricity represents a given share of the overall electrical energy consumption (it depends on the geographical context, social development, industrial level, etc.), with good approximation, compressed air can be associated to the overall electricity consumption and to primary energy consumption too. So, it can be compared with the other energy alternatives when the data are reliable and referred to real situations, actions to promote energy efficiency in compressed air systems can be identified with their real importance and compared with all the other measures. From many independent studies the most important energy saving measures are associated to the: (1) reduction of leakages on the distribution lines, (2) a more appropriate compressed air system design, (3) use of adjustable speed drives, (4) waste heat recovery. All these aspects, in a 10-year period of operation, weigh 70–75% of the overall compressed air costs. Therefore, the compressor technology is a key factor to reduce energy consumption including in it load control, variable speed operation, compressor sizing, etc. A great potential saving is associated to leaks, friction pipes, etc. but these actions are downstream of the compressed air production. After having discussed some issues concerning the future overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions, considering the development of the electricity market in the world in the near future, and overall energy characteristics of existing machines widely used in the compressed air market, the article goes deep inside a specific compressor technology which is represented by the sliding vanes rotary type. Principal processes inside these machines are discussed in the light of the recent scientific literature advancement of a theoretical and experimental nature. The general idea was that these machines are not so well known and their use is not so widespread: thanks to a deeper scientific interest over the past few years, these compressors had a notable performance improvement, thus a greater potential in industrial applications. Thanks to some intrinsic aspects, some energy issues are presented and related to specific processes inside the machine and compared with other compressors. The potential further improvements in terms of specific energy are discussed and addressed in main future research directions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/16321
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