Guidance and inspiration

05 December 2016

Marking a busy end to 2016, BCAS (British Compressed Air Society) has published a white paper on reducing energy consumption, made its guide to food and beverage grade compressed air available as a download, and continued its work to inspire more young people to become engineers

BCAS has launched a 16-page white paper 'Reducing Energy Consumption from Compressed Air Usage' for energy and plant managers responsible for the performance of a compressed air system.

It provides an overview of how to save energy in a typical system, highlighting areas where waste occurs, steps to minimise it, and where to go for further information.

Marion Beaver, technical officer at BCAS, says: “Both energy and plant managers are busy people who have to deal with a lot of different building services and processes. It is unrealistic to expect them to be experts in managing compressed air systems, so this white paper aims to provide an informative overview, rather than a detailed guide.”

The white paper points out that compressed air typically accounts for 10% of an industrial company’s electricity bill and for some sectors it is far more. It also urges end users to consider the entire system and points out that every element impacts upon its energy consumption.

Continues Beaver: “While the largest energy consuming component in the system is the air compressor; it is the demand by users, the overall design and how well the system is maintained that will determine the demand placed on the compressor and its energy consumption.”

The 16-page guide explores finding and fixing leaks, good housekeeping and staff involvement, efficient use of compressed air, pipework, control and maintenance, and offers advice on treating the compressed air. It concludes by referring the reader to further sources of information.

A copy of the whitepaper 'Reducing Energy Consumption from Compressed Air Usage' can be downloaded from

Free guide

BCAS has made its 'Food and Beverage Grade Compressed Air – Best Practice Guideline' a free download from its website It would previously have cost £50.00.

Marion Beaver comments: “Compressed air is an essential part of many aspects of food and beverage production and processing from the 'farm to table'; and with the ever increasing demands to improve health and hygiene in the food chain, this best practice guideline has been produced to meet those demands.

“It gives useful guidance to allow informed decisions on what type of compressed air equipment is required, how it should be installed and importantly the requirements for the air purity.”

Offering inspiration

The Rogers Knight Award to recognise engineers who work with teachers to inspire pupils about a future in industry has been won by Angus MacRae, senior engineer at Unity Partnership. The award was created by the Primary Engineer organisation in partnership with BCAS to commemorate the life and work of Rogers Knight, a past president of BCAS.

Paul Britner, teacher at Delph Primary School, Oldham, nominated MacRae for this award following the work they did in partnership as part of the Primary Engineer programmes.

Looking at a number of factors such as: increased teacher confidence, number of children inspired and length of relationship with the school – the BCAS board selected MacRae and Delph Primary School from a shortlist of 10 finalists.

The Primary Engineer Programmes are designed to bring engineering to primary schools in a way that is meaningful, sustainable and inclusive; inspiring all pupils to see where they can fit into the future of engineering. A line from Alice Brooks’ (Year 5 pupil at Delph Primary School) supporting letter sums up exactly the aim of this award, and indeed the Primary Engineer Programmes: “Angus is that good that he makes you think you are already an engineer.” 

Primary Engineer is a not-for-profit organisation, operating nationally, focused on raising young people’s awareness of and aspiration towards STEM careers – specifically engineering.