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4th Utility

Compressed air is referred to as the 4th utility after electricity, gas and water. Although all the information about the first 3 utilities is reflected in their unit purchasing price, information about compressed air is never that straight forward. Whereas electricity, gas and water can be transported along vast distances, compressed air should be produced at site. However compressed air is not part of a factory’s core production techniques and processes just like any of the other 3 utilities. It is a required form of energy input into any factories’ production. Most processes will stop without a constant and reliable source of compressed air. 


One continually needs to track its compressed air system and invest when required in order to have a constant, reliable and efficient compressed air supply. Since it is not directly part of the main production activities, a lot of the time compressed air stations and especially the unit price of compressed air are disregarded. 


Compressed air accounts on average for 10% of industry’s energy consumption and can run up as high as 30% in some sectors.


Here is what goes into having a reliable and cost efficient compressed air supply. 


  • A periodically carried out comprehensive energy audit is essential to keep running costs low. 

  • System upgrades should be carried out when necessary.

  • Preventive maintenance is a must; inadequate maintenance can lower compression efficiency, increase air leakage, pressure variability as well as lead to higher operating temperatures.

  • In addition to proper maintenance, a continuous predictive monitoring system can save significant energy costs and reduce downtime.

  • Leak reductions should continually be inspected not to waste valuable resources.

  • Improved load management and optimization of operating pressures should be recognized to more efficiently produce compressed air at the station.

  • Properly sized and constructed pipework are essential to both act as a buffer of supply/demand discrepancies and keep the energy losses between the point of production and point of use at a minimum. 


Having a reliable and efficient supply of compressed air is obviously key to any factory’s operations and that’s where Rotonova comes in with its DHKW solutions. 

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