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Europe confirms motor and circulator targets

The European Commission has adopted ecodesign regulations covering energy efficiency improvements for industrial motors and circulators plus televisions, refrigerators and freezers.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: 'This package is a milestone on the road to achieving our energy efficiency, climate change and economic recovery objectives. It will save impressive amounts of electricity, CO 2 emissions and electricity costs, while creating jobs and boosting the deployment of highly innovative technologies.'

The regulation on motors sets energy performance requirements for most of the electric motors used in industrial applications . Furthermore it will foster the use of Variable Speed Drives (VSDs)  adjusting the motor output to the actual needs, instead of operating always at full capacity. The commission says the energy savings triggered by the motor regulation are about 135 TWh per year by 2020.

The regulation on circulators will shift the market to 'intelligent' high efficiency circulators according to the commission. These will be capable of adjusting their performance to the needs of the heating system. Circulators can be found in almost every building's boiler or heating system, and the electricity savings are expected to be about 25 TWh per year by 2020.

Ecodesign requirements for electric motors:

Application date Energy Efficiency level
16 July 2011 IE2 for 0.75-375kW
1 January 2015 IE3 or IE2 if equipped with VSD * 1 for 7.5-375kW
1 January 2017 IE3 or IE2 if equipped with VSD for 0.75-375kW

The commission said: 'This implies that low-efficiency motors (IE1 and below) may no longer be placed on the market as of 16 June 2011. As of 2015, standard efficiency IE2 motors in the power range of 7.5¨C375kW may be sold only if equipped with a variable speed drive. As of 2017, the same requirement will apply to motors in power range 0.75¨C7.5kW. Alternatively, high-efficiency IE3 motors may be sold with or without variable speed drives.'

Ecodesign requirements for circulators

Application date Energy Efficiency Index ( EEI)
1 January 2013 EEI ¡Ü 0.27
Scope: (glandless ** ) standalone circulators, with the exception of those specifically designed for primary circuits of thermal solar systems and of heat pumps.
1 July 2015  EEI ¡Ü 0.23
(Glandless) standalone circulators and (glandless) circulators integrated in products, e.g. in boilers.

The commission said: 'This implies that as of 2012, low-efficiency and standard standalone circulators cannot be placed on the market any more. As of 2015, the minimum requirements will be tightened further and their scope broadend to boiler integrated circulators too.


European Commission definitions:
* VSD (variable speed drive), also know as 'adjustable speed drive, control drive, frequency drive etc, is a device composed of electronics that allow the motor to run with lower speed when necessary (rather than running the motor with full speed and blocking e.g. an air/water flow with valves or the like).

** Circulators are pumps used in heating systems either 'standalone' (outside boiler) or within the boiler. Glandless circulators are a specific type of pumps (compare e.g. with 'normal' water pumps that are (normally) glanded) having the shaft of the motor directly coupled to the impeller and the rotor is immersed in the pumped medium; hence they are sometimes referred to as ¡®wet running¡¯. The smaller sizes are mainly used in houses with just one family, and the larger sizes used in houses of multiple occupation, tertiary or industrial buildings.