ABB tool demonstrates the power of variable speed drives

14 September 2010

ABB is promoting energy efficiency with a simple tool its says can demonstrate potential energy savings. The company’s slide rule demonstrates the savings that can be made when a direct-on-line motor is replaced by variable speed drive control.

Using the data on one side, the user first selects the power rating of the direct-on-line motor. A window reveals the typical running costs and kWh if the motor is operated at full speed. As an added twist, the slide rule also equates the energy consumption to the equivalent number of high efficiency light bulbs. By then turning the slide rule over, the user can see the effect of applying a variable speed drive to the application.

Users can quickly compare energy consumption and cost between two applications; the first a motor running at full speed with no damper or throttle, the second a motor being controlled by a variable speed drive with 20 percent speed reduction. By selecting the power rating of the motor, users can compare the cost and KWh usage between the two applications based on running the motor for anything between 8 hours per day over a five day week, up to continual 24 hour usage over a whole year.

For example, selecting a 110 kW motor without any form of speed control consumes 770,880 kWh per year when running for 8,760 hours. This is the same as running 6,111 high efficiency light bulbs. However, if you add a simple variable speed control device to the same motor, the energy consumption falls to 376,189 kWh per year, which is the same as running 2,689 energy saving light bulbs.

“All too often we see campaigns encouraging us to switch off the lights. While I endorse any initiative that saves energy, the impact of installing just one variable speed drive on one 110 kW motor is the same as switching off 3,422 high efficiency light bulbs. How amazing is that!” says Steve Ruddell, ABB’s UK energy spokesperson.

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