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Heat Recovery

Compress your carbon footprint with Atlas Copco heat recovery solutions

70-94% of the energy consumed by air compressors is recoverable. Without any energy recovery, this heat is lost. Our White Paper identifies opportunities to harness waste heat from air compressors, outlines the untapped carbon reductions and energy savings potential.

Download our White Paper



70-94% of energy consumed by air compressors is recoverable.



compressed air heat recovery technology could save 1.99% of the total industrial electricity consumption in the UK



the equivalent of removing the emissions from 913,000 diesel/petrol cars per year

Compressed Air Heat Recovery System

If you are thinking about finding new ways to lower your carbon footprint and reduce your energy consumption, we may have a solution for you!

Like many socially responsible manufacturers, you may be looking for new ways of reducing your carbon emissions and energy consumption. Obvious steps like the use of low-energy light bulbs and automated heating offer some immediate carbon savings. However, even once these steps are taken, there remains a pressure to reduce further.

Aside from the negative impact of CO2 production on the environment, we understand that manufacturers have the financial burden of energy usage. Energy costs can account for 80% of the total cost of compressed air production.

Statistics show that compressed air typically accounts for about 12% of the total energy costs for industrial manufacturers - for some facilities, the figure may reach as high as 40%. However, the good news is that between 70-94% of energy consumed by air compressors is recoverable. Without any form of recovery, this energy is lost through radiation to the atmosphere or through cooling systems. The carbon equivalent of every kW of energy saved makes this a viable target for CO2 reduction measures.

In every case, recovering heat from compressed air reduces the need for purchasing energy. It is this reduction that results in lower CO2 emissions and operating costs. Due to the high cost of energy, these savings can be significant in terms of helping companies to meet their carbon reduction targets and improve manufacturing plant profitability.

How can heat be recovered in compressed air systems?

Ok, do you have any examples of customers for whom heat recovery worked successfully?

Absolutely! A Midlands-based manufacturer making textiles for the automotive industry. Using an oil coolant in their ER-S5 energy recovery unit, they recover heat from an air compressor outlet. Hot oil from the air cooler transfers energy into the process via a steel plate heat exchanger. This gives them a continuous supply of hot process water without any extra energy purchase. As a result they were able to reduce CO2 emissions by 260,000 tonnes per year and save £37,000/year using this recovery method. A packaging plant in Northern Ireland found a different use for recovered energy. Greiner Packaging uses its excess heat to contribute to the central heating system of a local secondary school. Dungannon Integrated College has 600 pupils and uses £40,000 of heating on an annual basis. In this case, Atlas Copco installed Z-range oil-free screw compressors with water coolers for energy recovery. Up to 80% of the electrical input energy is recovered as hot water. The school also reduced its CO2 footprint by 200 metric tons through reduced energy purchase.

Which compressors offer energy recovery?

We estimate that 90% of all industrial air compressors used in the UK could be equipped with heat recovery systems, including most of our oil-injected GA range, and our oil-free ZR & ZH compressors. Energy recovery functionality can come either factory-fitted as an option into your compressors or can be installed as a standlone unit. 

The untapped potential of heat recovery

To illustrate the vast untapped potential of compressed air heat recovery, it is calculated that the technology could save 1.99% of the total industrial electricity consumption in the UK. If that statistic isn’t compelling enough, it is the equivalent of removing the emissions from 913,000 diesel/petrol cars per year, or recovering the energy required to power 1.544 million households’ electricity consumption per year!

*Calculations are based on total industrial electricity consumption in the UK, and an average of 10% of industrial electricity consumption being used by compressors.

*Approximately 70% of energy is recoverable from oil-injected screw compressors, and up to 94% from oil-free water-cooled screw compressors. 

Calculating your savings

Can I get a calculation of how much energy this will save me?

Absolutely! you can use our energy savings estimator below to estimate how much waste heat you can reuse from your compressors.

Need a more precise answer from energy savings estimator? You can request a bespoke calculation from one of our heat recovery experts!

Carbon Trust accredited supplier logo
Atlas Copco is proud to have been re-accredited by the Carbon Trust as a supplier of high quality, energy efficient compressed air, vacuum and industrial gases solutions. To be a Carbon Trust Accredited Supplier, we have been independently assessed by them and have met or exceeded criteria designed to examine our capability and proven track record of delivering thoughtful, well-designed energy efficient systems.

Our Energy Recovery Solutions