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EU drive for increased motor efficiency

THE European Commission’s recent agreement on draft regulations for mandatory minimum efficiency standards for industrial electric motors means that savings in energy consumption equivalent to the entire annual energy use of Sweden could be achieved across Europe by 2020.

In the UK, where electric motors account for around 70% of electricity used in industry, the new regulations – part of the EuP Directive entitled ‘EcoDesign Requirements for Energy-Using Products’ – are expected to save industry around £200 million and at least 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

The proposed standards, which are expected to be officially adopted by the Commission next month, will introduce a new IE efficiency grading standard to replace the current voluntary EFF labelling scheme.

Once fully ratified, this new efficiency scheme is likely to be introduced in three stages between 2011 and 2017, covering single-speed, three-phase, 50Hz or 50/60Hz squirrel-cage induction motors with rated voltages of up to 1kV and power outputs between 750W and 375kW.

Applicable to motors with two, four or six poles, the regulations will prohibit the sale of motors below standard IE2 efficiency (equivalent to the current EFF1 standard) from 2011, allowing only highly efficient IE3 motors for certain larger applications from 2015 and for all applications from 2017.

The sale of IE2 motors will be permitted after 2015, but only if they are for use in conjunction with a variable-speed drive.

Commenting on the EU’s action to create clear, mandatory standards for industrial electric motors, Ian Ritchie, managing director of leading MRO suppliers Brammer, said the new European-wide standards would help manufacturing companies in their efforts to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions.

He added that with financial help available through the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme and interest-free Energy Efficiency Loans available through the Carbon Trust, companies did not need to wait until 2011 before taking a closer look at their motor usage.

‘Investing now in this area will have an immediate positive impact on energy use and emissions, thus enhancing production efficiency and competitiveness,’ he said.

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