11. December 2023

Turbo compressor vs. side channel blower

In the world of compressor technology, there are various approaches to compressing gases. The most common options are the turbo compressor and the side channel blower. In this article, you will find out what advantages the turbo compressor has over the side channel blower.

A big advantage of the turbo compressor lies in its efficiency and performance. High pressures can be generated thanks to the optimized blading of the impeller. In comparison, a side channel blower works with a rotating impeller and generates pressure by displacing the medium. The turbo compressor enables a significantly higher compression capacity with lower energy consumption. A comparison of different side channel blowers with turbo compressors from Celeroton shows advantages of up to 75% in terms of efficiency, especially at higher pressures, which is reflected in drastically lower energy consumption over the service life.

As a case study, the use of a turbo compressor from Celeroton was compared with a side channel blower in wastewater treatment during aeration. In this process, air is introduced into the water as finely dispersed as possible through membranes or similar elements in order to activate bacteria that break down dirt. A typical value for medium-sized plants is approx. 1,000 standard cubic meters per hour at an overpressure of 0.6 bar(g). This is represented by an assumed ten compressors per system. Assuming an operating time of 3,000 hours per year, this results in an energy consumption of 120,000 kWh for the side channel blowers and only 54,000 kWh for the Celeroton Turbo compressors. At an electricity price of EUR 0.26/kWh, this represents an annual saving of EUR 17,160 in electricity costs alone.

The second case study is the use of a turbo compressor from Celeroton for shielding gas recirculation in laser metal fusion (LMF) in 3D metal printing. This application requires pulsation-free recirculation of shielding gas, usually argon or nitrogen, during the printing process. The volume flows vary depending on the size of the printing chamber. The pressure requirement for the current models is an overpressure of 0.15 bar(g). For this pressure requirement, the Celeroton Turbo compressor shows energy savings of 50% over the entire range of required volume flows compared to a side channel blower. If, in this example, the required overpressure was to be increased by further developing the machines, changing the filter packages or modifying the pipe routing, the energy savings of the Celeroton Turbo compressor would increase from 50% to 75% compared to the side channel blower.

In addition to the savings in energy consumption and costs, another advantage of the turbo compressor is its compactness and low weight. Thanks to the use of maximum speed technology, a Celeroton Turbo compressor can be used in the smallest of spaces, unlike a side channel blower. These characteristics make the turbo compressor ideal for applications where space and weight play a decisive role, such as in the automotive industry, aviation, but also numerous industrial processes such as food processing or waste water treatment.

A turbo compressor also offers the advantage of superior controllability and therefore precise adjustment of the compression capacity to the respective requirements or the desired operating points. A side channel blower, on the other hand, is generally only designed for a single operating point, determined by speed and capacity, and therefore offers far less flexibility. Another advantage of a Celeroton Turbo compressor is its service life, which is extended by the use of the gas bearing. This enables contact-free operation of the rotor in its bearing shell and therefore largely wear-free operation. There is no need to replace bearings and other system parts, as is the case with side channel blowers, which in turn reduces maintenance costs. Another reason is a lower OPEX compared to side channel blowers.

Therefore, the turbo compressor offers a number of advantages over the side channel blower. Its efficiency, compactness, controllability and performance make it an attractive choice for various applications, such as filter systems in production plants and additive manufacturing, aeration of clarifiers and many more.