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Minimum motor efficiencies come into force in EU

17 June, 2011

Mandatory minimum efficiency levels for low-voltage electric motors are now in force across the European Union for the first time. From 16 June, most general-purpose motors in the range 0.75–375kW bought for use in Europe must achieve a minimum efficiency level of IE2, according to the classification drawn up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). IE2 is comparable to the old Eff1 classification.

The requirements – referred to as the EU MEPS (minimum energy performance standard) scheme, and laid out in Commission Regulation EC 640/2009 – cover two-, four- and six-pole motors for use on 50 and 60Hz supplies. Some motors, such as those designed for use in explosive atmospheres, are currently excluded from EU MEPS but some suppliers, including ABB, expect that these machines will eventually have to comply with IEC 60034-30 and are therefore giving them IE markings.

The second stage of the EU MEPS scheme will come into force from January 2015, when motors with output powers above 7.5kW will have to achieve IE3 efficiency levels – or IE2 if used with variable speed drives. The third stage, which applies from January 2017, will extend the scheme to include motors with outputs down to 750W.

John Parsons, director of the UK’s Rotating Electric Machines Association (Rema), says that “this is a significant moment for the electrical motor industry,” pointing out that the now-banned IE1 motors represent around 80% of the market for smaller motors. “The more efficient IE2 and IE3 motors cost more,” he adds, “but are significantly more efficient and will normally pay back their extra cost within a few years.”

Rema, which is part of Beama, the UK’s electrotechnical industry trade association, has set up an FAQ section on Beama’s Web site to explain the details of the new Regulation. Rema has also been working with the National Measurement Office, which is the UK market surveillance authority for the EcoDesign Directive, to advise industry on how to interpret and comply with the Regulations.

The EU MEPS covers the European market only, but other countries – including Australia, China, Brazil and Canada – have implemented similar energy efficiency schemes. In the US, the minimum efficiency has been set at the Nema Premium level (equivalent to IE3) since the end of 2010.

Although there are still countries with no MEPS schemes, ABB has decided to stop selling CE-marked IE1 motors (equivalent to the old Eff2) anywhere in the world from June 16, 2011.




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