Synchronous motor sets world record in energy efficiency

24th July 2017
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Synchronous motor sets world record in energy efficiency


The world record for electric motor efficiency has been set by ABB, after tests carried out on a 44MW 6-pole synchronous ABB motor shortly before delivery showed an efficiency 0.25% greater than the 98.8% stipulated in the contract. This efficiency improvement could save approximately $500,000 in electrical energy costs over the course of a 20-year lifetime for each motor.

“With electricity costs being, by far, the largest component in the total cost of ownership of such a motor, savings like these have a significant impact on profits,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics and Motion division. “In addition to extremely high efficiency, synchronous motors are renowned for their proven quality and reliability. Their robust design ensures reliability through cool operation temperatures and low vibration. As a pioneering technology leader driving the Energy revolution, and as part of our Next Level strategy, we are strongly committed to developing technology that improves efficiency and productivity.”

The world record efficiency was reached by optimising the motor’s electrical and mechanical features, based on ABB’s application knowledge and more than 100 years of experience in manufacturing electric motors. The average efficiency for this type of synchronous motor is between 98.2-98.8%. If the motor is in continuous operation, the 0.25% efficiency improvement saves 1,000MWh energy per year which is equivalent to annual electricity consumption of 240 European households.

The world's demand for energy today is nearly twice what it was 30 years ago. By 2030, it may have risen by over 50% again, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency. To cope with this not only are new energy resources necessary but the more efficient use of energy already available is critical. The energy saving potential in industry is enormous just in motor-driven applications alone. Variable speed drives and high efficient motors can help lower energy use typically by 20-50%, by reducing power consumption and losses.

Motor efficiency is the ratio of mechanical power output divided by electric power input. The world record results were obtained during tests carried out with a customer that will be installing ABB synchronous motors to drive compressors at an air separation plant that produces industrial gases. The synchronous motor is a special type of alternating current (AC) motor, being some 5x4x4m in size for an output power of 44MW. Typical uses of synchronous motors are for driving fans, pumps, rolling mills, mine hoists, and compressors in such industries as air separation, oil and gas, chemical, marine, metals, mining, water, and pulp and paper.

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