Some electrical equipment provides a direct benefit such as lights and heaters. Motors move other components of equipment in order to deliver a useful service. Motor systems are made up of a range of components centred on a motor-driven device such as a compressor, pump or fan.
While the energy efficiency of individual components, such as motors, can be quite high, the efficiency of the entire system is quite low. On average, motor systems lose around 55% of their input energy before reaching the end-use work.1
Most motor system energy efficiency projects deal with only some elements of an energy-consuming system. While increasing the energy efficiency of the ‘core motor system’ has an important role to play, considering additional opportunities in the ‘total motor system’ will enable larger energy efficiency improvements to be achieved.
For example, consider an electric motor driving a pump that circulates a liquid around an industrial site.2 This system comprises:
- An electric motor (sizing and efficiency rating)
- Motor controls (switching, speed or torque control)
- The motor drive system (belts, gearboxes etc)
- Demand for the fluid (or in many cases the heat or ‘coolth’ it carries).
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- International Energy Agency (2007) Tracking Industrial Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions OECD/IEA ↩
- Pears A (2004) Energy Efficiency – Its potential: some perspectives and experiences, Background paper for International Energy Agency Energy Efficiency Workshop, Paris, April 2004 ↩