Minimum Standards for Efficient Industrial Motors





Motor systems are used in nearly all industrial productions and operations. These motor systems consume huge amounts of electricity. Almost 70% of industrial electricity consumption in Europe is used to power industrial motors. Old and inefficient motors result in significant energy losses. Minimum efficiency standards for industrial motors are therefore an important means to save both money, energy and emissions. Installing more efficient motors in industries may lead to energy savings anywhere between 7-60%. Motor standards have been introduced in a number of countries, including Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and the US.


The idea:


Regulatory programmes requiring products to meet minimum efficiency standards have proven to be very effective in achieving energy efficiency gains. Motor systems are used in nearly all industrial operations. They consume huge amounts of electricity; over 60% of industrial electricity used in the USA, and almost 70% in Europe. This electricity is used mainly in pumping systems, fans, compressed air processing, and material processing.


Motors are generally quite efficient, with a good motor having a conversion efficiency of about 90%. There are many motor features such as adjustable speed drives matching speed to load requirements which reduce system losses and make motors efficient. However, old and inefficient motors are causing a large amount of unnecessary energy wastage, and legislators should consider improving motor efficiency through legally binding efficiency standards


The US has led the way in motor efficiency standards with its 1992 Energy Policy Act, which contains standards applying to all integral horsepower, general purpose and AC induction motors from 1-200 horsepower. The standards vary from minimum efficiency levels of 80% for small motors, to 95% for larger industrial motors, and apply to all motors sold in the US, both domestically and internationally manufactured. Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan are among a number of other countries that have also introduced motor standards.


A national standard testing procedure is vital to any successful minimum efficiency standard programme, and independent and accredited testing laboratories should provide testing services and certify motors that comply with the standards. Energy efficiency information should also be displayed in motor catalogues and marketing materials.