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Atlas Copco launches new compressor energy recovery technology

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Atlas Copco is aiming to rapidly increase the adoption of compressor energy recovery with the launch of an all in one kit that simplifies integration with a building’s central heating and hot water system. The Thermo Kit is a complete package of energy recovery components that can be installed quickly and easily to provide the user with a highly efficient source of supplementary hot water at no additional cost.

Thermo Kit has been developed to overcome the installation challenges that have hampered widespread uptake of compressed air energy recovery. It enables users to convert excess heat from a compressor that is fitted with an energy recovery (ER) unit into hot water, which is stored in a buffer vessel connected to a typical domestic or office central heating system.

As much as 94% of the electrical energy used by an industrial air compressor is converted into heat and lost through radiation in the compression process. Therefore, a properly designed heat recovery unit can recover from 50% to 94% of this available thermal energy as low-grade heat, which can be used to heat water.

Thermo Kit is intended to be as simple to install as a system of solar panels. Only a limited amount of engineering work is required and installation is usually swift and seamless. The kit comprises a choice of two buffer tank sizes, connections, circulation pump and control unit. The 400 l buffer tank, which has a 50 kW heat exchanger, is designed to work alongside Atlas Copco’s 11 kW to 45 kW compressors, while the 800 l buffer tank, which has a 90 kW heat exchanger, can be connected to 55 kW to 90 kW compressors.

The buffer vessels, which can store hot water for up to 24 hours, offer full isolation to meet stringent safety standards and comply fully with the latest ErP 2015 regulation.

As the brain of the system, the control unit assesses the performance of the system in real time and displays energy saving data in order to self validate the return on investment (ROI). Typically, full ROI is achievable in 12 months.

The control unit displays a visual overview of the installation, the status of energy recovery and compressor running information. Using digital communication, it can also collate data on compressor status, compressor oil temperature and temperature in/out for real time data collection.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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