Motors, drives and generators enhance efficiency and reliability
World Pumps, September 19, 2015. Image credit: World Pumps
Electric motors are the largest individual source of energy use, accounting for 45% of the world’s electricity consumption, and over half of this energy demand originates from motors used in pumps and compressors.
Over the last 50 years, global motor manufacturers put significant effort into research and development, achieving major advancements in energy efficiency. For example, 45kW four-pole induction motors – which are commonly used in oil and gas applications – have evolved from 88% to 95.8% efficiency, resulting in a 68% reduction in energy losses. However, old-fashioned and inefficient motor technologies are still widely used across the oil and gas industry.
With the need to limit CO2 emissions and new environmental regulations coming into force in recent years, oil and gas businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of choosing energy-efficient motors. For example, in the EU, the 2005/32/EC Ecodesign Directive now stipulates that motors with a rated output of 7,5-375 kW shall not be less efficient than the IE3 or meet the IE2 efficiency and be equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD). Other countries, including the USA, Brazil and Mexico – to mention but a few – are also moving towards more demanding energy-efficiency regulations.
While the legislation is yet to affect motor equipment used in hazardous areas, it is setting new international benchmarks in terms of energy efficiency, raising awareness of the significant difference that the latest motor technology can make in terms of energy consumption. As a result – regardless of actual legislation requirements – growing numbers of oil and gas operators are starting to request the most energy efficient equipment available on the market, some which already exceed current regulations, reaching IE4 or even IE5 levels of efficiency.