Environmental Benefits Of Air Compressors

8 Mar 2022, 1:05 PM

benefits of

air compressors

Air compressors have long been a fixture within certain industries, however as more people start to seriously consider the environmental impacts of their operations, many are looking for the most eco-friendly options available.

For these potential users of air compressors, the most environmentally-friendly option is often the same as the most cost-effective option, as both share the same goals of reducing waste, inefficiency and unnecessary energy use. In this article, we discuss the environmental benefits of air compressors.

Financial and Environmental Considerations

Air compressors can be a greener alternative to less efficient systems. For example, aerosols may rely on harsh chemicals which can affect air quality and even soak into the ground and eventually get into the water system. Electric air pumps use a lot more energy than compressed air which will increase energy usage and therefore your carbon footprint. Especially in an engineering setting where the use of compressed air is common, these considerations can quickly lead to costly financial and environmental consequences.

Whilst air compressors already offer big advantages over the alternatives, there are several considerations you can make when choosing an air compressor to boost your green credentials even further.

Which is Greener – Fixed Rate or Variable Speed Compressors?

Compressors come with two main speed options – either fixed-rate or variable speed. They act exactly how the names suggest – a fixed rate compressor fires a constant stream of compressed air, whereas a variable speed compressor monitor and match the output that the user requires.

Fixed-rate compressors can end up using a lot more energy, which is not only worse for the environment because it increases energy usage but also means having to pay for more electricity than is needed. Additionally, as a fixed rate compressor works at full power at all times, there is an increase in the wear-and-tear and running costs of the unit.

Variable speed drive compressors, or VSD compressors, are usually the greenest option. This is because they are not throwing out a constant stream of air at the same power, unlike fixed speed compressors. They regulate their energy use which leads to a more efficient, cheaper to run and more climate-friendly option. They can be more expensive to initially purchase, however will eventually save money on reduced energy and maintenance costs.

Going Oil-Free

Due to the number of moving parts in an air compressor, a small amount of oil is required to keep everything lubricated and moving together smoothly. Despite still being greener than alternatives, users of air compressors may still wish to cut their carbon footprint even further by choosing an oil-free compressor.

As well as the environmental concerns, for industries where air quality and contamination are of great importance and a single drop of oil could affect critical and expensive equipment, the purchase of an oil-free compressor is vital for certain uses. There is a large range of both industrial and commercial oil-free compressors, so it is worth researching which specific types and models best meet your needs.

Other Types of Pollution

As well as the obvious, there are types of pollution that can often go overlooked, especially in an industrial setting, and these can often lead to further costs as well as affect the environment.

Excess noise is one such type of often-unconsidered pollution. Noise pollution, as well as having the ability to dramatically affect nearby wildlife and ecosystems, can often lead to more associated costs, such as extra safety and safeguarding equipment. Luckily, ‘silent’ air compressors which run at a much lower volume are available, and especially in smaller settings could end up being the correct choice.

Similarly, air quality is not just about how much carbon is in the atmosphere, but any kind of aerosols and chemicals that are thrown into the air by humans that can affect breathing. Masks and other PPE may end up being magnitudes more expensive than simply using an eco-friendly air compressor from the start.

As technology improves, we will see even more efficient and environmentally-friendly air compressors. If you are already using an air compressor it may be worth investigating whether you are running the most efficient, environmentally-friendly systems that you can.

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