Steve Ruddell examines the implications of the new Minimum Energy Performance Standard regulations.
Using higher efficiency motors reduces the costs of the company using them - remember that electricity consumption accounts for around 95 percent of a motor's life cycle costs. This means that payback times for these motors are relatively short - two years on average when compared to older low efficiency motors.
Yet, despite the apparent economic advantages of high efficiency motors, an Economist Intelligence Unit survey commissioned by ABB showed that it requires action by policy makers to ensure widespread use of energy efficient equipment.
ABB welcomes the advent of the EU MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard) regulations, as a spur to companies to improve their use of electrical energy. The regulations require that all motors covered by EU MEPS to be placed on the European market after 16th June 2011 must achieve a minimum International Efficiency standard level 2 (IE2). Although the regulation covers only the European market, ABB will not offer, sell or deliver IE1 CE marked products in any markets across the globe from 16th June 2011.
The MEPS requirements cover most two, four and six pole motors in the power range 0.75 to 375kW for alternating current (AC) power supply frequencies of 50 and 60Hz.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that it is possible to cost-effectively save 20 to 30 per cent of all power consumed by electric motors using existing technologies such as high efficiency motors and drives. This saving corresponds to 10 to 15 per cent of all global electricity consumption. This encouragement can only be a bonus for design engineers seeking to improve the overall energy efficiency of engineered systems.
These efforts are backed up by ABB's motor development and the company recently introduced a new technology that raises the efficiency of electric motors by up to 40 per cent. Based on a revolutionary new rotor design, using synchronous reluctance technology, the new motor is robust and has practically no losses. The motor is offered as a complete package together with a frequency converter and dedicated software.
The high efficiency package meets the latest most stringent efficiency level specified by the IEC, class IE4, super premium efficiency. For customers, this means 40 per cent less energy losses than a conventional motor.
The motor and drive package is designed specifically for variable-speed drive (VSD) operation, leading to further energy savings. Thanks to these savings the pay-back time of this package is very short, in many cases less than two years.
The second package, high output, is configured for maximum output. This motor-drive package offers a power density up to 40 per cent higher than in a conventional induction motor. As a result the motor size can be up to two frame sizes smaller than a conventional induction motor, an important benefit for machine builders who often work with stringent space restrictions. Customers who buy this package get the high power density of an equivalent permanent magnet motor with the robustness of an asynchronous squirrel-cage motor.
Because the rotor runs cooler than other technologies, the bearings also run much cooler, making the motor much more reliable. With bearing failure accounting for around 70 per cent of unplanned motor outages, customers will appreciate the longer greasing intervals and higher reliability offered by the new motor and drive packages.
Steve Ruddell, Global Head of Marketing - Motors & Generators, ABB Limited, Daresbury, Warrington, Cheshire, UK. www.abb.co.uk/energy