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Compressed air is an essential requirement for a lot of industrial processes. Pressurized air is usually supplied from standard air compressors such as reciprocating air compressors, rotary screw air compressors, or rotary vane air compressors, but sometimes they may not be able to provide enough pressure for your high-powered applications, hence the need for a booster compressor.

High-pressure booster air compressors are able to provide the necessary boost of compressed air, and this article will provide you with all the relevant information on them.

Table of Contents

What is a Booster Compressor?

A booster compressor has a lot of names. They are commonly referred to as:

  • high-pressure booster compressor
  • air amplifier
  • air booster
  • air pressure intensifiers
  • pneumatic pressure intensifiers

This air pressure intensifiers booster is a piece of equipment used on a flow of air coming from an existing compression system by passing it through additional compression stages to increase or amplify the pressure of the air. High-pressure booster compressors are capable of raising pressures of between 80 PSI to 150 PSI to as high as 2000 PSI.

Do you require high-pressure compressed air only at certain points in your production process? If so, the use of boosters is far more efficient than designing the entire system to deliver high-pressure compressed air. 

The vast majority of plant-air systems are capable of generating up to 150 PSIG. Special applications within a plant may require air, oil-free or lubricated, at higher pressures.

Compressed air flow boosters are one of the most economical and cost-effective ways to obtain higher process gas pressures that are required for certain applications within industrial plants.

How Do Booster Air Compressors Work?

A high-pressure booster compressor, or air pressure amplifier, operates on a simple working principle, that within their closed system (non-vacuum), the pressure increases as the volume decrease. An air booster compression system comprises pipework, a receiver tank, and a discharge tank.

The receiver tank has an inlet that receives compressed process air coming from a primary feed and channels it through several compression stages to further increase the pressure. Additionally, the receiver tank serves as an additional storage capacity for when the system is not delivering compressed air to the application.

After the air is passed through a number of compression stages, the pressurized airflow passes through the piping into the discharge tank which will then have an outlet that supplies the compressed air to the application.

High-Pressure Boost Air Compressor Applications

Air pressure boosters are utilized in several industrial applications, these include the following:

  • Oil and gas production & transportation
  • PET bottle manufacturing
  • Industrial pressure testing

Let’s take a look at each in more detail!

Oil and Gas Production & Transportation

Pressurized fluids such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas are very useful for the special processes involved in hydrocarbon production. During the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and secondary recovery phases of crude production, it’s possible to increase the pressure within the formation to stimulate the well and ramp up declining production by using pressurized gas. Some common examples are nitrogen injection and gas lift techniques.

High-pressurized air or nitrogen can also be used to purge hydrocarbon pipelines of impurities and toxic substances. This type of nitrogen purging for pipeline drying can help during pipeline decommissioning or commissioning. Booster systems can help to amplify or increase the gas pressures of onsite nitrogen generators or air compressors to enable these processes to work effectively.

PET Bottle Manufacturing

PET (automated polyethylene terephthalate) manufacturing typically requires a continuous supply of high-pressure gas than standard air compressor systems are unable to provide. Booster air compressors help deliver the high-pressure air that helps the blow molding machines produce PET bottles. Compressed air is utilized by the blow molding technique to force the molten thermoplastic into a mold.

Industrial Pressure Testing

Industrial pressure testing of pipelines, vessels, tubing, piping systems, and more helps to determine their integrity, reliability, and leak tightness before and after being commissioned at a site. It is usually carried out during maintenance operations to ensure that essential equipment is functional and in good condition so that it doesn’t fail during use.

A pneumatic booster pump or pneumatic air pressure booster is suitable for this type of pneumatic testing. The compressed air or nitrogen leak test procedure will involve passing compressed air through the container to a required pressure range and subsequently ‘bleeding off’ the gas via pressure relief valves located on the system under test.

Booster vs. Compressor: Which Do You Need?

I don’t think it’s a matter of which you need, as you will always need a compressor. Both deliver pressurized air, and compressors often can provide you with enough pressure to complete your applications. But, in situations where you need additional pressure, compressors that have a booster system attached are able to achieve pressures up to 10 times greater than the compressor alone.

If you require a high range of pressure, then it is recommended to obtain a pressure booster and attach it to your system. If you do not require a high range of pressure, then a regular air compressor should be suitable enough for you.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are booster compressors?

Booster compressors are air pressure intensifiers that are used on a flow of air coming from an existing air compressor system by passing it through additional compression stages to increase or amplify the pressure of the air for applications that require high-pressure ranges.

What is the difference between a compressor and a booster?

Air compressors generally provide pressurized air up to around 150 PSI and are the basis of any compressed air system. On the other hand, a booster is a device used to amplify and increase the pressure of any existing compressed air system to pressures as high as 2000 PSI. Boosters are machines connected to existing systems which contain additional compression stages for the compressed air to pass through.

How do compressed air boosters work?

Compressed air boosters work by their receiver tank having an inlet that receives compressed air from a primary feed and then channels it through several compression stages to further increase the pressure of the air. Additionally, the receiver tank serves as an additional storage capacity for when the system is not delivering compressed air to the application.

What is a air booster?

An air booster is a device used to increase the pressure of air in a compressed air system. Typically, a compressed air system will be able to reach around 150 PSI with a regular air compressor. An air booster will be able to amplify this pressure up to 10 times by passing the pressurized air coming from the compressor into additional compression stages.

If you have any questions regarding high-pressure booster air compressors, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!