Net zero manufacturing

A cleaner approach to compressed air management with trees looking upward

Ask any US and UK businesses about the concept of net zero and net zero emissions and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be met with a blank face. After all, the road towards net zero and reducing carbon emissions is high on everyone’s agenda.

However, achieving net zero emissions is no easy feat – particularly if you’re in the manufacturing sector.

Knowledge is power

Manufacturing companies typically have a high carbon footprint, as manufacturing processes are generally resource-intensive. Yet there are many ways for US and UK manufacturers to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy consumption – they just need the correct knowledge.

As compressed air monitoring, performance and control specialists that have worked with countless businesses operating within the manufacturing sector, we’d like to share some of our knowledge.

So, here are some of our top tips when it comes to helping businesses boost their green credentials on their journey towards low carbon manufacturing.

ENERGAIR’s top five tips

1. Take control of your compressed air assets

Before the birth of IoT, compressed air auditing and air compressor monitoring technology, there was no real insight into what each and every air compressor was doing and how they integrated with each other. As long as the air compressors got the job done, then it didn’t really matter.

The downside? No understanding of industrial emissions and a lack of accountability when it came to energy use.

Now, through cloud-based monitoring and performance solutions such as AIRMATICS, US and UK manufacturing companies can see exactly what their assets are doing and how they’re performing during every second they’re operational.

By using digital technology to get a better handle on the performance of your compressed air assets, not only will you reduce your compressed air energy bill and make your manufacturing processes much more sustainable, but you’ll also prolong your assets’ life as a result of only running them optimally at all times.

2. Get your leaks licked

Compressed air leaks are not only expensive, but they also unnecessarily release carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

From a financial perspective, you’re in effect burning money.

From an environmental standpoint, you’re also blowing any chance of meeting any net zero targets that you or your organization has.

Aspirations of reaching net zero emissions should be applauded. But the important thing is whether or not you can get there. Fixing compressed air leaks using tools available via ENERGAIR such as SCADAR, which provide compressed air auditing, is a good starting point.

3. Never underestimate the importance of correct air treatment equipment

US and UK manufacturing companies face daily challenges. From keeping one eye on the cost of raw materials and reducing waste across the organization, to effectively managing people and supply chains, there is never a shortage of things to do in order to make sure that you stay ahead of your competitors. After all, business never stops.

However, amongst all the bigger issues a company needs to consider, some of the smaller things often get overlooked. In our experience, air treatment equipment is often one of those things.

If your dryers and coalescing filters are unable to process the moisture in newly compressed air, the resulting pressure drops will send your compressors into ‘overcompensate mode’ to fill the void. Based on how an increase in every 0.5 bar equates to an increase in energy input by 3 per cent, you can quickly see the importance of correct air treatment equipment when it comes to manufacturing.

It’s important to have ambitious targets – but it will be difficult to achieve a truly sustainable future if you’re needlessly burning energy.

4. Keep it cool

Are your air compressors running hot? If so, then it’s likely that you’re not getting the best from your compressed air system. It’s also likely that you’re contributing towards growing global emissions.

Keeping your air compressors cool contributes towards carbon reduction and supports your journey towards net zero. Compressor performance and efficiency is measured and tested by the compressor manufacturer at an ambient temp of 20 degrees Celsius. Every degree over this is detrimental to compressor efficiency and, therefore, overall system efficiency.

It’s also going to be a major barrier to net zero transition. Look to reduce the temperature of your plant room and log the correlation between heat reduction and performance.

5. The loading and unloading cycle

Are your fixed speed compressors in that cycle of loading and unloading?

The more your air compressors keep unloading, the more energy you’re unnecessarily using.

Considering how an unloaded compressor absorbs 25 – 30 per cent of power (and even more in many cases) without creating any productive air, you can see how a rapidly cycling air compressor can start to cost US and UK manufacturing firms money.

There are three reasons why air compressors rapidly cycle. These include incorrectly sized air compressor assets, insufficient compressed air storage and poorly maintained compressed air equipment.

SCADAR and AIRMATICS, both of which are available via ENERGAIR, will quickly diagnose the problem and establish where in the system it’s occurring.

The road to net zero

According to HSBC, UK manufacturing emissions have fallen by 57 per cent from 1990s levels – but is this pace enough for traditional manufacturers to become net zero manufacturers by 2050?

There is undoubtedly a vast amount of work to be achieved and a huge swathe of challenges to overcome.

New technologies will undoubtedly play a critical role on this journey – and we’re proud to be playing a role in the wider global transition when it comes to compressed air.

We’re moving in the right direction. Let us help you do the same

To discuss our product portfolio and find out ways to help your business improve its sustainability levels, contact the ENERGAIR team.