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Nine Areas of Compressed Air Systems Optimization Opportunities Based on International Case Studies


5.2 kW of compressor input power is required to produce 1 kW of pneumatic work output due to heat of compression losses [1].  Generally, 50% of this energy is lost on the demand side and in distribution.  If a compressor is running lightly loaded and if power generation and transmission losses is taken into consideration, the total system efficiency can be as low as 1% to 2%.  Large opportunities therefore exist in optimizing a compressed air system.

The author has conducted 55 compressed air systems optimization assessments in 14 countries. Consequently, he has developed case studies and presents examples, demonstrating the generic optimization opportunities common to typical industrial compressed air systems.

This article categorizes these opportunities into nine common opportunity areas, and also into seven relevant industry sectors. This to showcase the type of opportunities that was identified, to quantify the comparative size of these recommendations, and to inform the reader on financially viable interventions to optimize his/her total compressed air system. Nine areas of opportunities are presented; three each for the demand side, for distribution, and for the supply side.

On the demand side compressed air is wasted in the form of leakages, artificial demand, and inappropriate uses. Distribution inefficiencies include inadequate condensate removal practices, controlled storage volume deficiencies, and distribution piping irregularities. On the supply side the areas of opportunities commonly are; compressor operating conditions, heat recovery, and centralised control integration on multiple compressor systems.

Presented By

Mr. Albert E Williams
Energy Engineer.

Albert Williams is an energy engineer and training instructor on energy management, energy auditing, and Compressed Air Systems Optimization (CASO).  He is an international trainer and training material developer for the CEM and CEA courses for the AEE, and for the CASO training courses for the United Nations (UNIDO).

His 14 years of experience includes the conducting of 160 industrial and commercial energy audits, and he has trained more than 1100 professionals in 66 energy training courses around the world.

He received the Young Energy Professional of the year award in 2018 for the sub-Saharan Africa region from the AEE, and has also been awarded as the Southern Africa Energy Professional of the year in 2018 by the SAEEC.

Contact me at and +27 84 556 1582.