“Alternative” Compressed Air

Compressed air is an essential energy source used throughout modern industry. Despite this fact, it still remains one of the most expensive forms of energy, accounting on average for 10% of overall commercial consumption. In Germany, a system has been developed to reduce these costs in an eco-friendly way, with Mattei compressors playing an important role in doing so.

The production of costly industrial compressed air and its dependency on electrical energy is a well-known fact. This, coupled with increases in raw material costs, render plants operating traditional compressors uneconomical. Recently a revolutionary solution arrived on the scene from Germany.


The company behind this solution is altAIRnative GmbH, a young organization which is part of the Aitec Group, based in Mühlhausen / Thuringia, Germany. They have found a way to produce compressed air without the need for electrical energy, utilizing the advantages of cogeneration (combined heat and power). “We started out with two considerations: The first one being the fact that the production of industrial compressed air represents the highest energy cost to industrial processes. In sectors such as automotive, these costs can be as high as 30% of a company´s total costs. The second consideration was that almost all the heat transformed from the consumption of electrical energy never actually reaches a suitable temperature for further use in industrial applications. Our goal was to come up with a cogeneration system combining energy efficiency, economic benefits and low CO2 emission levels, whilst being suitable for most applications,” explains Sebastian Kuemmel, Project Manager from altAIRnative GmbH.

With these aims in mind, we developed a sophisticated machine, able to generate compressed air and heat via a gas-engine, directly coupled to the compressor,” continues Mr. Kuemmel. “In addition to the mechanical energy that drives a compressor, the gas engine also produces thermal energy in attractive industrial temperature ranges. The production of compressed air, as a by-product of heat generation from a single unit, also results in 42% less CO2 emission.”

Alteranative_compressorThe solution "made by altAIRnative" is referred to as CAHP, (Compressed Air Heat & Power), or compressed air production without the need for electrical power. It is available in six machine sizes – ranging from the smallest "Foehn 26 kW" to the largest "Tornado 300 kW" unit. Compact and customizable, there is also a wide range of accessories available to maximize energy efficiency. In addition to their configuration with heat exchangers, CAHPs are designed to best meet the needs of the customer and can easily be integrated into existing systems.

A CAHP is a highly efficient and environmentally-friendly solution, whilst fulfilling its industrial duty. A key element in the success of these machines is the Mattei Group M111 series compressor. Rotary vane technology contributes to the overall efficiency of the system by delivering a reliable source of compressed air. Heat generated during the compression-stage is effectively re-introduced into the heating circuit.

"Since energy efficiency represents the prime objective of our systems, we are constantly on the lookout for like-minded suppliers who share the same philosophy. Since embarking on our adventure in 2015, Mattei has shown herself to be the perfect partner at our side: The company produces high quality, reliable and efficient compressors. Above all, their compact design perfectly suits our needs, considering the overall dimensions of the smaller CAHPs in our range."

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