Lowering Power Consumption with Advanced Motor Controls

How Advances in Motor Control Are Lowering Power Consumption

Design News, June 17, 2014

Electric motors play a pivotal role in manufacturing, industry, and commercial buildings. Running our machinery, pumps, and climate control, electric motors are truly indispensable.

In manufacturing, electric motors can account for as much as 50% of the total electricity consumption. In commercial buildings, electric motors driving the HVAC system represent as much as 35% of total electricity consumption. These factors, combined with government regulations, have spurred more electric-motor integrators to seek out efficient motors and methods of control for their products.

It is estimated that the yearly consumption of electricity by electric motors is 7 trillion kilowatt hours, or roughly 44% of all electricity consumption. For perspective, that is enough to power 150 billion homes. With that much energy being used, the need for efficiency seems natural. However, standard motors can be as little as 55% efficient. Given the average cost per kilowatt-hour in the US of $0.10, an increase to 75% efficiency represents an annual savings of $140 billion (Table 1). Clearly, improvements in motor efficiency can pay big dividends.

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