In this article, we set out two different options for reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of your compressed air system by examining real life examples from our clients ABP Cahir and Tipperary Cooperative. 

Whether the burning platform is to achieve energy savings or to play an active role in the transition to a low carbon economy, the industrial and manufacturing sectors are seeking smarter ways to achieve energy efficiencies and savings. 

As a result, plants and production facilities are placing greater attention on the energy efficient use of compressed air and for very good reason. On average, compressed air systems use 10% of the energy consumed by a production facility. 

Plus, energy costs, over the 10 year life cycle of an air compressor, represent 80% of the cost of ownership. With statistics like that we know that even small improvements to a compressed air system can help maximise overall plant energy efficiency.

Introducing heat recovery and choosing the right air dryer can have a massive effect on your energy efficiency with a great return on investment.

Heat recovery

The overwhelming majority of the energy used to run a compressor is converted into heat through the compression process, and this heat is normally rejected to the atmosphere or in the case of a water-cooled compressor, left to absorb into the cooling water cycle.

Heat recovery provides a cost-effective way to reduce energy bills and benefit the environment by capturing the heat of compression and putting it to work. 

Case Study: ABP Cahir

Following a small investment, ABP Cahir, part of the ABP meat group, discovered unquestionable benefits from recovering energy from its compressed air system. 

When we installed an Ingersoll Rand Nirvana R45n Air Compressor and Air Treatment equipment package, an Air Compressor Energy Recovery System was included. 

As the compressor was only used for peaks in plant air demand, its average load was low. However, a two-week monitoring trial of the system showed that savings could be achieved even when a compressor is running at low load and a relatively low number of hour’s pa. The return on investment was 1.01 years and savings to date over seven years is €11,152.00.

Appreciating the viability of energy recovery, even where compressed air usage is small, ABP Cahir asked us to retrofit an Energy Recovery System to their Ingersoll Rand R75n Plant Air Compressor. In this case, the savings are a bit meatier!

The potential annual energy recovery is 204,739.77 kwh. With a gas unit price of (0.028c/kWh) and Gas Boiler efficiency of 85% this represents a potential gas saving of €6,744.00 P.A. The return on Investment is 7.5 months and 10-year projected savings are €67,443.00.

Full details of the case study can be found here.

Compressed Air Treatment System

As this case study shows, choosing an appropriate air dryer and compressed air filtration system is very important. Properly treated compressed air and the right air dryer will improve productivity, system efficiency and process quality.

Case Study: Tipperary Cooperative

When the Compressed Air Treatment System at Tipperary Cooperative was approaching its end of life, a project was undertaken to analyse how best to upgrade the system to meet best practice guidelines for food quality compressed air, while simultaneously maximising its energy efficiency.

Although functional, the existing Air Dryer system was a heatless-type unit and suspected of using excessive amounts of purge air in its regeneration cycle. 

Energy Management Consultants Optien analysed the available data and recommended a Dryer replacement solution.  After a rigorous selection process, O’Neill Industrial was selected as the successful vendor to supply, install and commission a new Ingersoll Rand Model D2200IB Air Dryer and Filtration system.

With the Air Dryer in operation for almost two years and the performance measured and evaluated by the stakeholders, the results have exceeded the most optimistic predictions.

The compressed air quality now exceeds Class 1.2.1 in accordance with ISO 8573.1 and meets the highest standards as recommended by the BRC and FDA for compressed air in the food and beverage Industry sector. The reduction in specific power of 0.06 kw/m3 of compressed air has resulted in electrical energy savings of €45,000.00 per annum!

Full details of the case study can be found here.

These two examples clearly show the potential for significant savings in compressed air systems when looked at in their entirety.

Whether you are establishing, implementing or maintaining an energy management system to meet the international standard ISO 50001, we can help you continually improve the energy performance of your compressed air system.

By recommending best-in-class technologies and solutions, we’re helping our clients comply with their energy efficiency and emission reduction obligations.

To find out more, contact us at or call Austin on 0872583489.

About O’Neill Industrial

O’Neill Industrial is a leading supplier of compressed air and pneumatic equipment with a strong focus on helping companies meet their energy efficiency and sustainability targets.

Products such as the Dryer featured in this article and Air Compressors such as the new Oil-free E-series with integrated heat recovery  allow us to forge new partnerships with companies who make energy efficiency and sustainability a core driving principle.

Click here for more on our energy efficient products and services.