Factories the world over depend on compressed air to operate industrial processes as well as a wide variety of pneumatic tools, including drills, wrenches, grinders and sand blasters. As a power source, compressed air is relatively safe, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Compressors, often driven by engines or turbines such as those manufactured by GE, compress the air that powers these processes and tools.
How It Works
The engine or turbine-driven compressor pulls air in, compresses it and pushes it into a storage tank to a maximum allowable level. When a tool is switched on, air in the tank is released to power it.
The compressor must continually replenish the air in the tank without overfilling it – which requires the compressor and engine to adjust their operating levels continually.
With variable speed capability and a “wide turndown” range, a gas engine can operate more efficiently at reduced load levels than an electric motor which lacks such flexibility.
Engine-driven air compressors operate reliably where the electrical supply is non-existent or unreliable.
GE’s portfolio of Waukesha* gas engines and aeroderivative gas turbines for mechanical drive applications offers multiple options to address individual operational needs and widely varying local emissions requirements.
Features and Benefits
- Reduced energy waste. Captured engine or turbine (exhaust) heat is used for other processes, lowering energy and operating costs, and reducing carbon emissions.
- Emissions flexibility. Distributed Power offers technology options to meet most local air quality mandates.
- Reduced costs. Gas engines can reduce operating costs
significantly compared to electric motor-driven compressors by reducing
peak demand charges.
- Variable speed capability. An engine’s wide turndown range handles partial-load compressor operation more efficiently than an electric motor.
- Lower emissions per horsepower. Rich-burn Waukesha gas engines with 3-way-catalyst enable more horsepower per site for more productivity and profit.
- Total engine control. GE’s Waukesha ESM* fully integrated control and diagnostics system optimizes engine performance and maximizes uptime.
* Trademark of the General Electric Company