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What is air compressor condensate and why treat it?

When working with compressed air systems, it’s crucial to understand what air compressor condensate is and why it matters, especially when it comes to the causes of contamination in compressors. At Glaston, we have explored this. Continue reading to find out what air compressor condensate is, why you should care about it, and why treating it is essential to ensuring the quality of your product and keeping your system running smoothly.

What is air compressor condensate?

One of many potential causes of contamination in air compressors is condensate, which is water that gathers on the inside of an air compressor. When the air is compressed, it holds moisture. When it cools, the moisture turns into water which can lead to issues by picking up contaminants if left untreated. This then leads to a harmful impact on an air compressor system and reduces the quality of air it produces.

Four reasons why you should have a condensate management system

There are a number of reasons why you should have a condensate management system in place. We’ve put together four points for you to make sense of in order to improve your efficiency.

1. Air compressor condensate management helps you avoid hefty fines

Users who dispose of condensate by simply pouring it down the drain risk heavy fines. This is because the condensate that has accumulated during the production of compressed air is a highly noxious mixture. In addition to solid particles, condensate contains hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide, copper, lead, iron and other substances caused by increased environmental pollution.

To conform to legislation currently in place, the contaminated condensate has to be treated before disposal.

Nitrogen generators from Glaston Compressor Services  Nitrogen generation equipment from Glaston Compressor Services

2. Compressor condensate is aggressive to your equipment

Due to increased atmospheric pollution, condensate from oil-free compressors still contains a considerable proportion of oily components. Such condensate often exhibits high proportions of sulphur dioxide, heavy metals and/or other solid particles.

This condensate is generally aggressive, having a pH value between 3 and 6. Condensate of this quality cannot be disposed of as wastewater, even though this is often claimed.

3. Third-party specialist disposal costs your business money

Of course, it is possible to collect the condensate and have it disposed of by a specialised company but this would be at considerable cost. Depending on your budget, this may not be a suitable option for you.

4. Condensate treatment can be easily managed on your premises

If third-party services do not fit into your budget, you can rest assured that condensate treatment can actually be managed on your own premises, without too much fuss.

Condensate management for air compressors with Glaston Compressor Services

Condensate from oil flooded compressors

Typically, condensate is treated via gravity fed carbon filters, sometimes with and sometimes without, separating chambers where the oil layer that floats on the top can be automatically skimmed off. This method saves up to 95% of the costs involved compared to using a specialised company to dispose of the condensate. If profit margins are tight for your production, this can be hugely beneficial for you.

Condensate from oil-free compressors

In many cases, the condensate from oil-free compressors must be treated with a chemical separating process. This includes pH neutralisation through the addition of alkalis and the binding and concentration of heavy metallic components in a filter cake. This has to be disposed of as hazardous waste and this process is by far the most complex.

You must obtain special disposal approval that covers not just possible oil components in the condensate but also concentrated pollutants drawn in from the ambient air. The latter can considerably contaminate the condensate.

How to control air compressor condensate

At Glaston, we’re able to offer a wide variety of condensate treatment methods by numerous manufacturers to best suit your requirements. We’re specialists in compressed air and nitrogen generation, and can supply a solution to best suit your individual needs.

To ensure you meet your environmental regulations, please feel free to speak to our expert team of engineers at Glaston for help and advice on your condensate treatment requirements. For peace of mind, Glaston is registered to ISO 14001 for environmental management.

Contact us today to speak to an engineer about your air compressor condensate management today on 01695 51010.

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