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Compressed Air

Compressed air provides a safe and reliable source of pneumatic pressure for a wide range of industrial processes. However, with over 80% of its input energy being lost as heat, air compressors are naturally inefficient. Energy-Efficient process design should opt for alternatives wherever possible and isolate compressed air usage to only processes that mandate it. 

Existing compressed air systems can be effectively optimized by taking a systems approach that reduces demanded side air usage and utilizes appropriate technology and controls on the supply side. Energy savings from a holistic system improvement can range from 20 to 50 percent or more of a system’s electricity consumption. A properly managed compressed air system can not only save energy, but also reduce maintenance needs, improve production uptime, and lead to more reliable product quality.

Top Five Energy Efficiency Measures for Compressed Air Systems

  1. Eliminate inappropriate uses of compressed air
  2. Stabilize system pressure
  3. Explore lowering pressure requirements of end uses
  4. Minimize compressed air leaks
  5. Provide compressed air of appropriate pressure and quality for manufacturing processes

You can read related TIP SHEETS AND PUBLICATIONS to improve performance and save energy, accumulated over time by the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Learn more with the COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEM CHEAT SHEET or COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEM INFO CARD, explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners, and connect with the compressed air-subject matter expert below.


Subject Matter Expert - Kiran Thirumaran

Kiran Thirumaran holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and has been working on industrial energy efficiency since 2012. He was heavily involved with his university’s Industrial Assessment Center where he led his team in performing energy audits of manufacturing plants across the Carolinas and Southern Virginia. His current focus is managing interactions with industrial program partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program for the Department of Energy. He was formerly employed with CLEAResult Consulting Inc, where he served as an energy engineer working closely with various electric and natural gas utilities in the Midwest region, helping them achieve their energy reduction targets through the effective implementation of energy efficiency rebate programs.

You can reach Kiran with compressed air-related questions at