Air compressor systems are “the most widely used fourth energy”, according to a newly published journal article, but the way they are positioned and set up can have crucial implications in terms of how efficiently that energy is used.

Writing in Applied Mechanics and Materials, a team from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and Shanghai Energy Conservation Service Center explain some of the factors that can influence the efficiency of air compressor systems.

These can include selecting the wrong capacity of air compressor – whether too small for the job, or too big – as well as the wrong air pressure.

It is also important to choose the correct control mode and system load characteristics if an air compressor system as a whole is to work at maximum efficiency.

Other factors not mentioned by the authors in their introduction, but which can also affect efficiency, can include the distance from the air compressor to the location where the compressed air is being used, and the regularity of demand.

By designing a system to meet all of these needs in the best way, the efficiency of the system as a whole can be optimised – cutting down on wasted energy, running costs, and potentially maintenance demands too.