Tamturbo Touch-Free™ air compressor technology has been awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label for sustainability. The Solar Impulse Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded by the visionary Bertrand Piccard who is famous for his two round-the-world flights, recently in a solar-powered airplane and before that non-stop in a balloon. Piccard advocates that environmental protection holds great economic market opportunity, and speaks out against the absurdity of outdated and polluting devices and systems still in use today.
The evaluation by the experts of the Solar Impulse Foundation was based on three sections: Feasibility, Environment and Profitability, and Tamturbo Touch-Free™ technology received top marks on all three areas. The three evaluation criteria and some of the evaluation comments for Tamturbo were:
The Feasibility evaluation is aimed at determining the technical viability of the solution, ensuring the solution is feasible in the real world. This section is composed of two criteria: credibility and scalability of the concept and it considers:
a) the technical requirements of the proposed Solution and captures its ability to be credible based on a resilient technology or concept (Criterion 1)
b) its potential to be technically scaled up and deployed in the real world (vs. in a laboratory environment) without additional constraints (Criterion 2).
The comments of the evaluating experts summarise the evaluation of Tamturbo® Touch-Free™ technology in a great way:
“YES – The key technology is an active magnetic bearing which was first commercialised in 1976 and have been used for over 20 years. The refinement they have developed is the control algorithm that must operate at high frequency (14kHz). The control of the bearing has been specifically tailored to compressor operation maximising the range of operation and efficiency. This has been tested in commercial compressor units over the last decade thereby proving the reliability and efficiency.”
“YES – The concept of Tamturbo is based on well know technologies, adapted to the size and the environment of the product, namely at least :
– Centrifugal turbo dynamic compression
– High speed electric motors without the need of a gear box
– Active magnetics bearing
– Heat recovery.”
“ YES – Concept behind the Solution is fully sound. Tamturbo’s equipment core technologies are available on the market since late 90’s and they have been connected into clearly very well operated product. Additional know-how is visible in dedicated operational algorithms enabling pressure stabilization and waste heat recovery at reasonable temperatures.”
The second criterion in the Feasability section,scalability, describes whether the manufacturing (if a product) or distribution (if a service) of the solution at scale technically feasible.
Again, the comments of the evaluating experts speak for themselves:
“ YES – The oil-free compressor design has been sold since 2010 and the company has grown to sell units globally. The products have been in commercial use for many years, long enough to prove the low maintenance and long-life aspects. The units have been sold to dozens of customers in Asia, EU and North America.”
“YES –The manufacturing of the solution at scale is technically clearly feasible and demonstrated by :
– Similar Single stage machines (by Sulzer AG) are manufactured and running since the 1990s
– Tamturbo have already a range of products already sold to different customers.”
“YES –Targeted solution size is fully scalable by a) building bigger equipment and b) connecting smaller units into groups delivering desired capacity. Manufacturer at this moment is producing key equipment not only for himself but also for other producers seeing equipment under own brand and has got appropriate manufacturing capabilities to increase the production.”
The environmental impact -section is aimed at determining the impact of the Solution at the different phases of its lifetime: production, transportation and distribution, as well as use and disposal phase.
This section is composed of one criterion and it considers the potential to enable a direct positive impact (Criterion 3) on the environment compared to the mainstream alternative identified. The evaluation focuses on the following elements: energy use, CO2 emissions, water use/materials use, air quality, ecosystem preservation. It evaluates if the Solution delivers an incremental environmental benefit versus a mainstream alternative, considering the lifecycle (production, use and disposal stages) of its value chain.
“YES – The primary benefit of the system is eliminating oil. Oil removal from compressed air in other designs requires filtration processes to remove that incurs pressure drops and waste water removal. The lack of touching parts in the bearing also increases efficiency and improves the heat recovery. The increase in efficiency lowers the energy and carbon footprint. Additionally, lower maintenance and longer life reduce emissions associated with servicing.”
“YES – The solution deliver a huge environmental benefit versus oil or oil-free screw compressor :
– no oil at all, meaning no risk of oil contamination in water condensate and process air stream, no oil treatment, no oil disposal, no oil leakage to the ground
– less maintenance, and almost no wearing parts (compared to oil-free screw compressor were you need to replace the screw every 5-7 years)
– less matter is used
– efficiency remains constant over time as no wearing
– better flexibility of the machine, increasing energy saving when customer need or atmospheric conditions are changing.”
“YES – Solution as designed can deliver incremental environmental benefits on two levels: firstly, due to high efficiency significant amounts of electricity are saved compared to mainstream alternative and secondly, lack of necessary lubricant mitigates the necessity of utilizing oils.”
The Profitability -section is aimed at determining the capacity of a Solution to deliver an economic incentive for the client, as well as to generate profits for the seller in a short term.
This section is composed of two criteria and it considers:
- the capacity of a solution to deliver an economic incentive (direct, indirect, or hidden economic savings) for the client (Criterion 4) compared to the mainstream alternative and
- the capacity of the solution to generate profits for the seller (Criterion 5) in the short term, regardless of the marketing strategy and the novelty of the product.
The first criterion of the profitability describes whether the total cost of ownership of the solution lower (or same) compared to the mainstream alternative.
“YES – The efficiency gains are claimed to provide payback from as little as 4 months to 4 years. This is much lower than I expected. Servicing costs on this size of compressor are also significant. The no-maintenance design helps maximise the compressor availability and need for backup systems.”
“YES – CAPEX is almost the same as “oil-free” screw compressor. Cost of maintenance is much lower (as no complex and costly overhauls every 5-7 years compared to “oil-free” screw compressors) and the efficiency is much better over the time, meaning less power consumption, less CO2 indirect emission and OPEX savings. As there is also no oil, there is no need for oil production, oil transportation, oil leakage and separation management during operation, no oil disposal: this is something that benefits society.”
“YES – Total Cost of Ownership will be significantly lower than the mainstream alternative. this benefit is going to be delivered basing on two pillars: I) solution efficiency is higher delivering benefits in electricity bill which, due to electricity prices increase, will grow exponentially; II) maintenance costs are lower.”
The second criterion in the profitability section covers the seller’s profitability and evaluates whether the Solution itself can be profitable for the seller within 5 years, with a sale’s price at which clients would buy it.
“YES – The seller claims the breakeven point will be achieved by 2022. The company started in 2010, and has taken many years to refine the control system and develop new client relationships. Product lifetime claims take several years to verify. With payback period for customers now predicted to be so short, continued growth as witnessed by the increasing staff count gives confidence that the seller will become profitable by 2022.”
“YES – There is a need to increase sales volume in order to be profitable for Tamturbo. The marketing strategy at different levels is aiming to do so:
– Partnership with OEM (global as Sulzer AG or local)
– Try to increase collaboration with huge users
– Service offer (sell of the gaz instead of the machine) Touch FreeAir – Machine sold + Extended Warranty
“YES – Seller profitability is visible in appropriate margin delivering overall Return on Investment when reaching sales targets in 2022. Due to situation around the globe connected with SARS-COV2019, this target may be reached a year later, however trend of implementing of more efficient solution will guarantee seller’s profitability.”
All in all, the Efficient Solution Label and the efficiency assessment report of the Solar Impulse Foundation nicely sum up the core benefits that our customers using the Tamturbo Touch-Free™ technology are familiar with already: significant energy and maintenance savings and lowest total cost of ownership.