Condensate recovery – Condensate oil and water separators
Condensate is the liquid water that condenses out of the compressed air at various points through the air system. The condensate is usually a rather unpleasant mix of water and oil.
Where does air compressor condensate come from?
Condensate is usually drained from storage vessels located after coolers, in receivers and in various filters or separators, throughout the air system. There is usually either a manual or automatic draining system attached to these areas enabling the condensate to be drained. One of the daily maintenance checks for most compressor owners is to drain the condensate from the compressor, receiver and separators. However, this manual system tends to get forgotten or missed and the most effective way to drain the condensate is using an automated system of either a timed drain value or a float valve. Both of these can ensure that the condensate is drained without loss of compressed air.
Not draining condensate can result in condensate being passed directly down the air pipes into the air process equipment with disastrous results. It can also end up damaging the compressor, receiver or other equipment. A build up of condensate will certainly reduce the efficiency of the air system by reducing the receiver volume. Condensate needs to be managed effectively
Previously, the condensate mix of oil and water tended to be tipped down a drain into the public drainage system. This is now illegal. Today, all condensate must be cleaned to separate the oil from the water. Once this has been done the water can be put down a drain and the oil must be disposed of safely as a hazardous material.
A condensate separator legally cleans the compressed air condensate
There are many simple systems available to clean condensate. Most of these comprise a storage chamber and a carbon filter. The raw condensate is poured through the carbon filter, taking out the oil, leaving almost pure water to collect in the storage chamber. The carbon filter includes special chemicals that to attract and hold onto the oil allowing the water to pass through. Finally a drainage system allows the almost pure water to drain into storage container for disposal or it can be piped directly to a public foul drain.
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