Under ISO 50001, businesses are obligated to save energy. They must set their own targets outlining how much energy they aim to save over the next few years – and then meet this target. One area with huge energy saving potential is compressed air, one of the most widespread and expensive sources of energy in German industry. There are around 60,000 air compressor units in operation across Germany. Together, they consume 16.6 terawatt hours every year, which equates to 7 percent of overall electric power consumption in German industry.
However, up to 30 percent of the energy consumed is lost to tiny leaks. Until now, detecting these holes, cracks or leaky connectors has been a laborious task. Christian Dierolf from the Industrial Energy Systems Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA says: “Many users feel that the products and methods for detecting leaks are not worthwhile. They involve either using an ultrasound device to detect leaks or adding new valves for individual monitoring of the pneumatic actuators.” As a result, many businesses end up living with wasted energy.