The Opportunity Presented by Compressed Air, According to Stef Lievens


According to Atlas Copco’s Business Line Manager, Stef Lievens, compressed air offers businesses a huge opportunity to save on their energy bills and harmful emissions. To read his thoughts in full, head over to the Atlas Copco website.

Stef Lievens, Business Line Manager - Atlas Copco Compressors
Stef Lievens, Business Line Manager – Atlas Copco Compressors

A number of UK manufacturers have had to re-think their environmental policies over the past few years, particularly from an energy-saving perspective. Not only has this movement come about as a result of a growing environmental awareness in Britain, but also because of the potential to save money. Many companies have started to adopt LED lighting as one solution, which has generally worked extremely well. Carbon emissions have been reduced, and companies have saved up to 70% on their energy bills.

As with any new trend, however, everyone starts catching up after a while. With so many businesses constantly striving for more, the next opportunity to improve energy efficiency is important to begin considering.

That next opportunity could well come in the form of compressed air. It’s not new, either; compressed air has been used as an energy-saving technology in the UK for a number of decades, meaning a number of businesses are already familiar with it. Something that is yet to happen, though, is the technology becoming more widespread. With compressed air accounting for 10% of all energy used worldwide, it makes sense to look to the industry for solutions. The technology is still improving, too. For example, Variable Speed Drive Technology allows a unit to operate at different speeds, reacting to its workload, ultimately making it more efficient. They’re constantly becoming more compact, too, saving invaluable floor space.

VSD+ compressor.jpg

Furthermore, technology such as SmartLink has the capability of predicting your requirements, based on past usage. Audits and assessments are constantly carried out to ensure that any air compressor is functioning as well as it could be, and both processes are unobtrusive and relatively straightforward. It is audits such as these that help identify room for improvement in the industry, but also in your own energy usage. To put the importance of these checks into perspective, a 3mm leak could end up costing over £700 a year in wasted energy.

An image of two people carrying out an Atlas Copco energy audit

Jar of money saving.pngFinally, let’s talk about affordability. Installing a new compressed air system, or even upgrading an existing one, isn’t necessarily cheap. These pieces of technology are finely-tuned, and require an expert eye for any modifications. That shouldn’t put you off, though; national and local funding schemes are both available when it comes to compressed air, so affordability doesn’t have to become a barrier. For example, the Energy Technology List (ETL), could allow your business to claim back money on any product on their list. Also, Pennine Pneumatic Services, our parent company is a Carbon Trust approved supplier; this means we can also help with the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme.

There are also extremely effective schemes in Worcestershire and Derbyshire, which have been established for a while and have significantly benefited local companies.