Comparing Diesel vs Electric Drive Air Compressors

400cfm electric air compressor

At GenAir we have 2 electric drive compressors in our fleet, a 400cfm and a 120cfm,  and a hybrid electro-diesel drive oil free compressor that we have designed and built in house.  This post is to explain why we’ve made the significant investment in those machines and how they can benefit our customers. 

Diesel Air Compressor vs Electric Drive Air Compressor.

Cost of power.

A current 400cfm diesel powered air compressor when on full load will consume 21 l/hr of diesel fuel, currently red diesel is circa 73ppl equating to £123 per 8 hour shift or £2,575 per unlimited running week. In comparison a 400cfm (75kw) electric drive compressor when operating full load and based on the current UK industrial average of 11.62p/kwh will cost £69.7 per 8 hours shift or £1,464 per unlimited running week. A total saving in excess of £1100 per week on a single 400cfm compressor.

As of April 2022, the duty relief on red diesel will be removed effectively increasing the price of diesel fuel for plant by 47ppl. This will increase the savings shown above to £132 per 8 hour shift or £2,756 based on a 24/7 working week. 

In addition to this, the variable speed motor in the electric drive compressor will automatically regulate to deliver just the required volume of air thus further increasing the savings.

Environmental considerations.

The two major environmental advantages of moving from diesel to electrically driven compressors are the lack of emissions from the electric drive units and the removal of potential spills leading to contamination of ground and related hazards from the handling of diesel fuel.

The electric drive compressors are considered to be zero emission and carbon neutral as the power provided to drive them can be obtained from clean sources such as wind turbine or solar farm. With the current pressure on all business’s driving towards cleaner and more sustainable operations, the change to electric drive compressors is a simple win.

In addition to this, the handling of diesel fuel risks both potential problems through exposure to personnel or from spills to ground, both of which can result in severe inconvenience and expense.

Service and reliability.

On a diesel driven air compressor, the component that requires the most regular service intervention and potentially causes the most issues is the diesel engine. On average the diesel engine on an air compressor will require to be serviced every 500 running hours whereas the compression side of the unit will have a service interval in the region of 2000 running hours. By comparison, the motor on an electrically driven compressor is virtually maintenance free and as a result will need to be attended far less frequently for either planned or unforeseen maintenance resulting in increased up time.

Advantages of Hiring From GenAir.

As the UK’s leading compressor rental company, we are in a position to offer the best levels of service and equipment in the market. By developing our own range of bespoke zero emission electric drive and hybrid drive compressors we are able to provide truly unique machines designed from initial concept to endure the rigors of the rental industry and built inhouse by ourselves to the highest standards for supreme reliability. By specializing solely in the provision of rental air compressors we have been able to focus our engineering team’s skills to ensure that we can provide the highest level of service support to ensure minimal downtime for our client’s operations.