On Dec. 19, 2013, the US Department of Energy (DoE) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covering 1-HP to 500-HP, three-phase induction motors. These recommended changes are based on a study conducted in late 2010. The rule was adopted from a petition filed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and a coalition of energy advocates to broaden the scope of coverage while retaining the premium efficiency level and making compliance and enforcement easier.
With the new proposed rule, almost all three-phase motors in three-digit NEMA frames and enclosed 56 frames (plus IEC equivalents) will need to meet premium efficiency levels per NEMA MG 1 Table 12-12. This includes NEMA Designs A, B, and C and IEC Designs N and H. Many designs, such as gear motors, partial motors, vertical, TENV, encapsulated, immersible, and others previously not covered, will also need to comply. The DoE also issued a Final Rule for testing motors that cover these configurations.
A Final Rule on these 1-HP to 500-HP motors is expected in May 2014, with a proposed compliance date of Dec. 19, 2015. The coalition proposal requested two years from Final Rule as the compliance date.
It seems that any buyer of motors, especially those that use a lot of power, would of course consider the efficiency of a motor as a major parameter in making the selection of which motor to select. This is true because in most cases the cost of power to run the motor over it's lifetime is far greater than the initial purchase price. The very rare exception is motors that are very seldom operated, where perhaps reliability and size are more important than efficiency.
So while uniform test procedures would be a worthwhile rule to enforce, as well as truth in advertising and labeling, it wo8uld seem that the market would enforce the production of only the most efficient motors. Of course, there may be something else not mentioned in the discussion, such as a tendancy for some offsore sources to provide completely false information about their products, the most obvious is overstating wire sizes. Finding a spool of wire marked as number 12 and finding that it is actually much closer to what would be number 15 is not a nice surprise.
Thanks for your comments. You are 100% correct that the purchase price of the motor is small when compared to its life cost. Purchase price is about 2% and electricity is about 97%, so for continuous duty motors, higher efficiency is a good investment. Older motors with lower efficiencies are being retired as they fail or equipment is upgraded.
This new regulation builds on the existing Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by expanding the scope of coverage and closing many loopholes that existed. The coalition felt this was the first step before raising efficiency above premium levels.
The U.S. Department of Energy is empowered to enforce compliance to their regulations. This not only includes monitoring the motors sold for use in the U.S., but also motors embedded in equipment meant for use here. They have a big job to do. If you know of any non-compliance, they have an email address that may be used to report it. email@example.com
Part of the compliance also involved the efficiency placed on the motor nameplate. If a manufacturer claims an efficiency, it must test within the standard tolerance for that nominal level.
Actually motor efficiency regulations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are far ahead of the EU and other parts of the world. The U.S. required energy efficient levels in 1997 where the EU requirement for IE2 motors did not take place until 2011. Our motors went to premium level in 2010 and the EU will move to IE3 in 2015 and 2017. The proposed rule will expand coverage to many configurations not covered here and well beyond EU coverage.
The DOE is regulating efficiency as a cost effective method of reducing electricity use and carbon production. Besides motors, they are looking at regulating the efficiency of fans, pumps and air compressors.
At this time, a third party study on reliability of premium motors over older less efficient motors doesn't exist. NEMA believes that cooler operation of premium motors not only raises efficiency, but also increases the life of bearings, grease and motor insulation. Closer tolerances used in manufacture should result in motors with better balance that should help life and reduction in downtime as well. A recent study by ACEEE indicates that productivity is more important here than pure energy efficiency because our electricity costs are lower than the rest of the world and we do not have a carbon tax. http://www.aceee.org/research-report/e13f
John M, since the cost of power to run the motor is such a large portion of thier total cost, why would anyone ever choose the less efficient motors? That was my point, that it certainly looked like a thing that the market would enforce far more completely than any government agency. But then there are other applications, including some that I have had, whicch may result in a motor running only a very few hours per year. In those cases standby reliability would be of the greatest importance, far more than efficiency. Consider the motors used to adjust conveyer positions, which only run a few seconds during a product changeover. Even changing every day it would never reach more than an hour or two a year. Not the place where efficiency matters nearly as much as standby reliability.
But if nobody can sell the less efficient motors then it would be quite hard for a purchasing agent to substitute a cheaper one for where a higher efficiency model was needed. That may be the only valid reaso for such a law.
Some people who buy motors still focus on first cost rather than life cycle cost. OEMs sometimes buy the least expensive motor available and can dodge the present DOE rules to actually specify a motor that would have no efficiency requiements at all. Other OEMs select premium motors and drives that offer greater value through reduced energy use and greater productivity.
Companies in the process industries know the importance of productivity and cost of operation. Upgraded motors are available for these applications. These users select a whole system that is more robust and reduces cost of operation realizing downtime is very costly.
Motors designed for continuous operation are covered by DOE regulations. Intermittant duty motors are exempted.
When the new DOE rule goes into effect, it will be one of the most energy saving regulations ever enacted in the US.
J.M. I had not considered the situation of cheapskate OEMs as a reason to make a regulation for it. We would always tout our use of the highest efficiency motors as one more reason to select our equipment. Cheaping by using inferior materials is just not part of the way that I think. Thanks for the clarification, it is the one reason that I had not considered.
Remember many OEMs respond to their customer base. If users do not ask for premium features, they may not get added. Machinery is often bought by purchasing types who get rewarded for saving money. They don't figure in the cost of operation or maintenance.
This gets to the matter that users should write specifications for the equipment they buy and have a proactive plan for motors, marking them as to what is to be done on failure (rewind or replace with premium motor).
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