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Oil-free compressors for refineries

In our last blog article, Glaston discussed why oil-free compressors are commonly used within the pharmaceutical industry. Here, we take a look at a much different industry where oil-free compressors are often overlooked – oil refineries. While not always the first choice for petrochemical or refinery environments, oil-free compressors offer many benefits that should be considered when choosing a compressed air system.

Which compressors are used in refineries

Compressed air is utilised across many oil refining processes, including acting as a medium for transferring energy for drills and jackhammers. It is also used for providing breathable air in refinery operations in confined spaces and for providing precise measurements for gases and liquids for specific machinery. While refineries and petrochemical industries use various different air compressors, such as rotary screw or reciprocating compressors, the most commonly used oil-free compressor in refineries are centrifugal compressors.

Centrifugal compressors are most commonly used in very large applications within refineries. Rotating components impart kinetic energy to the air, that is eventually converted into pressure energy. A centrifugal force is generated by the impeller to capture and then pressurise the air.

Oil-free refinery compressors

When it comes to selecting oil-free compressors for refineries, centrifugal, screw and tooth compressors are the three usually considered by operators. If a refinery application has a requirement for 100% oil-free air delivery, oil-free centrifugal compressors are often the go-to solution. These oil-free compressors feature high-speed electric motors for driving impellers and feature a compact design without a gearbox and oil-lubrication system. If refineries need a compressor that offers superior reliability and efficiency in harsher working environments, and oil-free screw compressor might be the better option. However, if energy consumption is a key requirement, this is when oil-free tooth compressors might be preferred – thanks to their symmetrical, dynamically-balanced rotor that offers more efficient oil-free compression.

KAESER oil-free compressors

Here at Glaston Compressor Services, we are official UK partners of HPC KAESER. As such, we provide the complete range of HPC KAESER oil-free compressors, extending to KAESER’s range of MOBLAIR portable oil-free compressors. Specifically designed for use in refineries and other large-scale industrial environments, these KAESER air compressor systems provide portable oil-free compression for up to 45.8m³/min (1600 cfm). KAESER’s portable air compressors combine the best of a two-stage dry-running oil-free rotary screw type with a mobile compressor unit. The result is a high performance, compact oilless compressor that ensures maximum compressed air quality and capacity with unmatched flexibility.

Key benefits of this KAESER portable oil-free compressor include:

  • Maximum efficiency
  • Long cycle life
  • Minimal downtime
  • Environmentally friendly design
  • Innovative SIGMA control mobile controller
  • Can be used as a standalone unit or within existing systems

To discuss your oil-free compression requirements, contact Glaston Compressor Services on 01695 51010, email or complete our contact form.

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