Gardner Denver has been supplying efficient reliable vacuum systems to the electric power industry worldwide for more than 50 years. These vacuum systems can improve power station heat rates and provide economical solutions for environmental requirements.

Compressed air is used in all types of power generation plants. Compressed air is relied upon to keep processes running and high quality oil free air is the first choice in power generation as reliable sources of compressed air are critical in these plants. Downtime can cost thousands in lost product and penalties.

  • Control valves – Air operated valves and cylinders used in production areas
  • Raw material handling – Compressed air, considered safe and reliable is used for handling hazardous material such as reactor rods.
  • Conveying – Compressed air is mixed with products to enable easier material handling and conveying
  • Filtration cleaning – Compressed air is used for reverse air jet purging to keep filters clean extending the lifetime and reducing downtime.


Oil lubricated compressors Oil free compressors
Vacuum pumps Rotary vane compressors

Case Study

Delivering maximum productivity for AES Cartegena

When the AES Corporation (AES) opened the doors to its new electricity-generating plant, its challenge was to guarantee a continuous power supply. The company chose a CompAir compressed air system, which plays a vital role in ensuring maximum productivity and offered significant advantages in its flexibility and economic performance over the other equipment considered.

The new plant operates on a stretch of land in the Port of Escombreras, Spain and consists of three power generators with gas and steam turbines that provide a combined net power rating of 1,169.800 MW. After accessing several equipment suppliers, AES’s appointed contractor, EPC decided that CompAir Iberia could deliver the best turnkey solution within a tight timeframe that would encompass a proven and robust range of compressors, with full engineering and service support.

The company placed an order for a 1200 MW compressed air system comprising Dryclon compressors for plant auxiliary services, two D37H units for instrument air and six Reavell H5236s for cleaning the turbines. The entire system is controlled by the Delcos 5000 monitoring system and includes all necessary air dryers, filters and storage tanks.

Joaquin Sanchez, Engineering Manager said, “We considered compressed air solutions from several suppliers, but found that the CompAir system offered the most suitable overall solution, with economic air production, a guaranteed oil-free supply and compressor rotation to ensure equipment longevity – all backed by comprehensive engineering, installation and service support from the experts at CompAir Iberia. The equipment has now been operating reliably for 6 months and is helping us to ensure that the plant remains at peak productivity, every day of the year.”

CompAir Iberia engineered the system to balance air supply to meet fluctuations in plant demand, via the Delcos 5000 system. Delcos monitors the air station continuously and selects the best combination of compressors to provide the appropriate volume of air across the entire plant. Rotating compressor usage in this way minimises component wear, reduces maintenance concerns and extends equipment life to improve overall cost of ownership.

At certain times, the turbines and pipes require a huge volume of compressed air. The system was specified to produce a maximum air capacity of 3400 nm3/h using both Dryclon compressors and more recently, six high-pressure Reavell H5236s operating at 24 bar.

International specification for electricity plants dictates that oil-free compressed air must be used, to avoid contamination. CompAir supplied a range of proven oil-free compressors that are inherently cost-effective, with fewer parts to purchase and maintain. In its single-stage DH compressors for example, the traditional oil system has been replaced with simple water lubrication, meaning that there are no filters to be changed, no waste oil to dispose of and no condensate to treat, bringing significant benefits to a plant where environmental performance is monitored closely.

Studies have proved that the largest cost component of a compressor during its lifetime is the power required to run it. The CompAir DH design incorporates numerous energy-saving technologies and was proven to consume significantly less energy than the other manufacturers’ models considered in the tender process.

The instrumentation plant compressors are water lubricated which reduces air temperature for near isothermal compression and, the direct drive motor, with no gears or belts, helps to optimise power transmission. This technology means that the installation can generate the compressed air it requires, at a significantly lower cost.