The difference a heat recovery system makes

Nanium SA, a semiconductor manufacturer in Vila do Conde, Portugal and Atlas Copco, have had a successful partnership focused on sustainable productivity for 16 years. From the beginning, Nanium chose our oil-free compressors combined with drying and filtering systems to obtain high-quality air. Carlos Costa, director of infrastructure management at Nanium, adds, “Atlas Copco has great experience in facilities for semiconductor factories with extremely high requirements in terms of reliability and air quality.”

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“Our selection was based on the possibility of having equipment working at full load, while the variable-speed compressor allows you to adapt compressed air production to the consumption of the facilities. That’s how you reach high levels of energy efficiency and optimal working conditions for the compressors”

Carlos Costa, Director of infrastructure management Nanium

Oil-free air compressors for improved energy efficiency

The company chose compressors to help improve energy consumption at the facility. Nanium currently has five oil-free, water-cooled rotary screw compressors installed at its facility – three ZR 300s, one ZR 315 VSD with variable speed drive (VSD), and one ZR 400. The compressed air is used almost entirely within the clean rooms, in direct contact with the products being manufactured. Therefore, each of them is combined with a heated blower purge desiccant air dryer, or BD dryer, to obtain a high-quality dewpoint (PDP < -40C). Nanium also requires no oil and a low quantity of particles to standard ISO 8573 Class 0 to meet its strict standards.

Reducing gas usage with 90%: the ER 900

In addition to the five compressors, Nanium recently acquired an ER 900 unit – a heated water management system for heat recovery in oil-free, water-cooled compressors.

The ER 900 recovers heat from the compressors in the form of hot water. In order to meet Nanium’s needs, we changed the company’s compressor to discharge its cooling water at about 80°C. This hot water is pumped to a heat exchanger, whose secondary circuit circulates return water to the boiler. As a result, primary energy gas input is dramatically reduced.

“This allowed us to practically stop using our boilers with gas burners, which resulted in a huge reduction in CO2 emissions, as well as in our energy bill,” Costa says. This, in turn, has reduced the consumption of natural gas at the facility by about 90 percent. In addition, the energy consumed by the compressors is also less expensive because of their role in the heat recovery system.

Optimal compressor uptime

The partnership between the two companies is not only based on equipment, but also includes Atlas Copco equipment maintenance services, which Costa credits with keeping “our compressors working for 15 years, 24 hours a day without major problems and with a considerable savings."