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Motor makers agree efficiency deal with EC

01 October, 1999

Europe`s motor manufacturers have reached agreement with the European Commission on a scheme for classifying the efficiencies of low voltage AC motors.

The voluntary scheme follows lengthy negotiations between the two sides. EC officials are already warning that they might introduce legislation to enforce a transition to low-loss motors if the voluntary scheme fails to increase their uptake.

The agreement, which covers two-pole and four-pole motors from 1.1-90kW, defines three levels of efficiency:

  • eff3, representing the bulk of the motors sold in Europe today;
  • eff2, consisting of motors that will cut energy losses by about 20% compared to today`s average motor; and
  • eff1, which will cut energy losses by up to 40%.

The deal has been negotiated between the EC and Cemep, the body representing seven national associations of motor manufacturers, including REMA in the UK. Under the deal, 21 of Europe`s leading motor suppliers have agreed to add the new efficiency ratings to their motor nameplates and to include detailed efficiency information in their catalogues.

The aim is make eff2 the standard class of motor sold in Europe and to increase substantially sales of the most efficient eff1 models.

The agreement calls for manufacturers to halve their sales of eff3 motors by 2003, compared to 1998. Paolo Bertoldi, the EC official who negotiated the deal, feels that this target is not ambitious enough. "We believe that motor manufacturers can do better," he told a London conference last month.

Bertoldi warns that the EC will monitor the scheme closely. "The EC trusts manufacturers to deliver the targets and for eff2 to become the standard," he says. "If this is not achieved, legislation will be introduced." Bertoldi hopes that eff3 motors - currently accounting for around 70% of all motor sales in Europe - will be phased out by 2006.

Speaking at the same conference, Cemep`s Gerald Kuhnemund argued that a voluntary agreement was more efficient than legislation. But he conceded that without the EC`s intervention, Europe`s motor manufacturers "would not have developed a classification scheme or committed themselves to eliminating eff3 motors".

The EC and Cemep have produced a leaflet outlining the scheme and putting the economic case for adopting more efficient motors. For example, a 15kW eff1 machine operating for 4,000h a year would save around 4MWh (worth about £130) a year compared to an eff3 machine. And a 15kW eff2 motor running for 2,000h a year would save almost 1MWh compared to a similarly rated eff3 motor.

Replacing all of Europe`s eff3 motors by eff1 or eff2 types would save up to 6TWh a year. This would be equivalent to a cost saving of around £190m.

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