Last year, the Department of Energy (DoE) held framework meetings to investigate how efficiency regulations might be established for motor-driven systems in fan, pump, and air compression applications. Since industrial motor efficiency is nearing its theoretical maximum, system efficiency is the next logical focus for improvement. Recent regulations for 1-HP to 500-HP three-phase motors, as well as the Small Motor Rule for 0.25-HP to 3-HP single- and three-phase open drip-proof motors, are expected to complement the system regulations.
The issues the DoE has been discussing include how efficiency would be measured, what components would be in the system, and what installation practices should be followed. Some of these systems are already regulated in Europe, so harmonization with those standards may be a possibility. Industry trade associations for these groups are also involved in the discussions.
There is likely to be a multi-year study before the DoE proposes any standards. However, new negotiated regulation procedures may speed along the process.
John, as of now energy auditing & testing bureau are offering various star rating to the devices based on certain parameters. In general it depends up on energy consumption and efficiency. But how the new system is going to define these parameters?
DOE is working with the fan group on how they will test. They only want to cover the fan and not a complete system. The proposal is to use a motor with an efficiency as high or higher then the original that was certified with the fan as static pressure changes and larger motors are needed.
For pumps, the group is looking at a similar EU regulation and test methods set up by the Europump organization which takes all components into consideration making it closer to a plug to water efficiency.
These proposals will be studied by DOE and their technical partners at Lawrence Berkely Labs. There will be chance for public comment during the rulemaking process.
While improving efficiency is a valid target, the creation of rules will undoubtedly lead to problems because firm rules seldom are able to cover all conditions. So instead, how about just creating a uniform standard for measuring and reporting efficiency and not making so many rules. In some instances efficiency is far from the most important consideration, seldom used emergency equipment and systems being one example.
Excellent information John. I just hope the DOE continues to include industry when determining development to standards or altering existing standards. I would hope also all efforts include looking at existing standards and methodology for developing standards relative to global sales and marketing. If we can develop products that can be used in Western Europe and possibly the Far East "up front" we will be money ahead in the long run. I retired from a company that made considerable efforts to adapt products designed for US markets to European markets. In the long run, the efforts provide products that simply did not compete.
In another discussion it was pointed out that some OEMs would choose the cheaper less efficient motors to use in thier products to gain a price advantage. So probably any rules would have to include having the motor efficiency information included in the product advertising materials. Sort of an enforcing of "truth in advertising", which I am sure would pain some folks a lot.
In the past, OEMs would concentrate on first cost, specifying lower efficiency less expensive motors and components. Users have demanded a more robust machine that increases productivity and lower life cycle cost. The life cost of a motor is only 2%; over 97% is energy cost.
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