altAirnative GmbH from Mühlhausen in Thuringia has developed a new process for energy-efficient production of compressed air. While other companies usually construct a cogeneration plant to drive compressors with the electricity it generates, the founders of altAirnative use compressed air heating and power stations in which a combustion engine run on natural gas supplies the compressors. The advantage: there are hardly any efficiency losses in this process, as the heat generated is exploited almost entirely.
The prototype for the compressed air heating and power station was first presented two years ago. Six different models are now available, from the small D-Föhn to the large D-Tornado with an output of 300 kW. According to the manufacturer, the machines, which sell from around EUR 100,000, pay for themselves in from two to four years. The systems are adapted to the customer’s requirements by altAirnative. The company has high hopes for the Italian and UK markets, where large volumes of compressed air are required there and the difference between electricity and gas prices is particularly large.