Fight Climate Change With Energy Efficient Motors

TODAY Ulrich Spiesshofer, the president and chief executive of ABB corporation, wrote and excellent article in The National highlighting motors offer incredible potential for energy efficiency gains.

Spiesshofer starts out stating: “After years of focus on global warming, one might think that all of the easy measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions had been taken. Yet as the COP21 conference on climate change gets under way today in Paris, some surprisingly low-hanging fruit remains.”

He was not referring to the regular low hanging fruit of turning things off, or adjusting thermostats, but something that very plump “low hanging fruit” - the install of energy-efficient electric motors on all pumps and fans with devices to regulate their speed, He claims this would save 3,338 terawatt hours (3.3 million gigawatt hours), roughly equivalent to the amount of electrical energy produced in the European Union in 2013. He bases this conclusion on installed base of variable-speed drives, which covers about 20% of the global market and is estimated to be saving some 445 TWh of electricity annually.

To quote Spiesshofer: “The opportunity is so huge because electric motors are among the biggest consumers of energy. They power all manner of equipment and account for about 40% of all electricity consumed worldwide. In the EU, they are responsible for about 12% of total CO2 emissions, second only to space-heating products, according to the European Commission.”

The reason motors offer such potential energy saving is many motors cannot regulate its speed according to load - always be working at full speed. Action by the EU that came into force in January this year specifies that certain less-efficient motors must be able to adjust their speed. But only about 10% of motors in service worldwide are currently equipped with (variable speed) drives that allow them to do this, even though the energy savings can be substantial – up to 50% in some cases.

Spiesshofer adds: “The clock is ticking on climate change. The weight of scientific opinion is that we don’t have much more time to turn the tide on emissions….of all the actions that can and are being taken to limit carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, none holds out more promise than improving energy efficiency.”

Read his further conclusions and comment int he original article here.

Picture of electric motor reproduced under CCL.

Monday 30th November 2015

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