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Energy conservation in industrial pneumatics: A state model for predicting energetic savings using a novel pneumatic strain energy accumulator

Cummins, Joshua J., Nash, Christopher J., Thomas, Seth, Justice, Aaron, Mahadevan, Sankaran, Adams, Douglas E., Barth, Eric J.
Applied energy 2017 v.198 pp. 239-249
air, energy conservation, energy efficiency, energy industry, models, prediction, recycling
A number of national organizations have recently expressed interest in research to develop materials and devices that achieve greater energy storage capacity, power density and increased energy efficiency on the heels of a report finding that the pneumatic sector of the fluid power industry averages only 15% efficiency. One way of improving efficiency is the use of compressed air storage and recycling devices. The pneumatic Strain Energy Accumulator is a recently developed device that recycles exhaust gas from one pneumatic component, stores it in a highly efficient process, and reuses the stored exhaust gas at a constant pressure to power another pneumatic component. This work analyzes system efficiency increases directly attributable to the implementation of a pneumatic strain energy accumulator by applying an analytical methodology for system level efficiency improvement calculations, experimental validation, and compressed air savings projections. Experimentally determined efficiency increases ranged between 32% and 78%, demonstrating that the pneumatic strain energy accumulator can be a viable part of the solution to the fluid power efficiency challenge.