Moving Towards a Greener Future

With the heatwave sweeping across Europe, climate change and its impacts on our environment are a hot topic of discussion. Also featuring regularly in our news stories are the increasing cost of living; highlighting the tricky balance everyone is trying to find – maintaining economic growth while reducing our consumption of energy and other natural resources to protect our environment.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified that 37% of global energy use comes from industry and contributes 24% of CO2 emissions. A large proportion, approximately 70%, of this energy use is associated with electric motors.

Motors are found in so many applications:

  • Small motors are used in air conditioner and refrigerator compressors, computer printers and countless other devices.
  • Mid-sized motors are used in heating and ventilation systems as well as in pumps, conveyors, and fans.This group is where most of the electric power is consumed and where there is the greatest opportunity to improve efficiency. Many of these motors are bigger than required and are often run at full speed when the extra power is not required.
  • The largest electric motors are found in ship propulsion systems and heavy equipment used for mining and paper mills.


Three key actions which can improve the impact motors have on energy consumption and the environment are:

  1. Ensuring the motor is sized correctly for the application
    Motors are most efficient when operating between 60 – 100% of their full rated load. Simply buying the right sized motor can significantly increase efficiency.
  2.  Invest in a high efficiency motor
    Note: Level 5, Ultra-premium efficiency motors are currently being developed by some manufacturers, however specified standards have yet to be put in place for these.It’s estimated that if 80% of today’s installed industrial motors were replaced with IE5, ultra-premium efficient motors, 160 terawatt-hours of energy per year would be saved, equivalent to more that the annual power consumption of Poland. (Source:  ABB White paper – Achieving the Paris Agreement)
  3. Utilising Variable Speed Drives (VSDs)
    Variable Speed Drives (VSD) control motor speed in response to varying process demands in your plant. The motor speed adjustment can be based on feedback from the process; for example, flow rate, temperature or pressure so that process control can be improved. This means that the electric motor will run only as fast as needed by the underlying load.Due to the ‘magic’ of affinity laws, small decreases in the speed of pumps and fans or the pressure of pumps can lead to large decreases in energy use meaning the use of VSDs can provide significant energy savings. For example:

    • Using a VSD to reduce the speed of a motor reduces energy consumption by around 50%.
    • Using a VSD to reduce the pressure of a pump by 20%, reduces the energy consumption by around 28%.

If you want to find out about moving to more energy efficient solutions for your plant, then get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.

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