Energy-efficiency dominates Germany's Hannover Fair
Efficient energy usage and alternative energy sources, relatively recent issues for the U.S., have been long-term concerns in Europe and elsewhere. No surprise, energy-efficiency and energy developments permeated this year's Hannover Industrial Fair. In fact, Energy Technology—one of 10 shows comprising the Fair in 2008—brought together 900 companies to exhibit innovations for effic...
Efficient energy usage and alternative energy sources, relatively recent issues for the U.S., have been long-term concerns in Europe and elsewhere. No surprise, energy-efficiency and energy developments permeated this year's Hannover Industrial Fair. In fact, Energy Technology—one of 10 shows comprising the Fair in 2008—brought together 900 companies to exhibit innovations for efficient production and transmission of renewable and conventional energy. This largest turnout to date for the energy sector represented nearly 18% of all fair exhibitors.
A highlight was the 14th annual group exhibit “Hydrogen + Fuel Cells,” which has grown to 156 exhibitors from 23 countries. One theme was progress in developing a hydrogen infrastructure (production, transport, and storage). Also drawing attention were fuel cells (FCs) for stationary and portable/mobile applications—for example, light trucks and forklifts. Experts note that stationary FCs are projected to boost future domestic and small business heating systems, plus generate usable electric power. Actual products are about two years away. North American companies participating in the group exhibit included Ballard Power Systems (PEM hydrogen FCs for transportation and portable applications), Dana Holding Corp. (FC stacks, fuel processor components), and Plug Power (high-temp FC units).
A practical, multi-source approach is being adopted to cope with energy problems. This includes new, efficient conventional power plants plus good use of cogeneration, district heating, and waste-heat recovery methods. Emphasis in the renewable energy sector was on solar, biofuels, geothermal, and wind power.
Wind turbine technology is making giant strides in terms of size and power. Enercon displayed its 2 MW wind turbine and has built units up to 6-MW rating! Other vendors also are at this stage; much larger future capacity is planned.
Another venue at the fair, “Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes,” assembled 36 vendors demonstrating practical examples of reducing energy costs in various production processes. Exhibits focused on efficient combinations of electric motors, pumps, fans, compressors, and heating/cooling systems. Interactive displays in the “Energy-Efficiency Tunnel,” presented potential savings to visitors based on their application inputs and queries. Klaus Helmrich, CEO of Siemens' Drive Technologies Div., says, “Energy solutions require a system approach to properly analyze efficiency, including the facility and support processes, such as water heating and compressed air.”
Dr. Karl Tragl, Bosch Rexroth executive board member, notes, “Technologies available today can be implemented to increase energy efficiency,” referring to the company's IndraDrive Mi integrated servo motor and drive. “Energy efficiency has been our internal objective for some time.”
In product developments, WEG Electric introduced its energy-efficient W22 series induction motors for up to 400 kW power, featuring advanced cooling design. Launched in three stages, starting with IEC 225-355 frame sizes in 2008, the W22 series is said to meet or exceed Europe's Eff1 motor standard today. Still higher efficiency models will follow.
Emetron's pump-mounted, integrated motor-drive product with 7.5-22 kW output had its first showing at the fair. Several other manufacturers also offered motor-pump combination products with a variable-frequency drive (VFD) mounted on the motor. Adding a VFD offers dramatically lower power consumption, especially for variable-flow process applications encountered with pumps, fans, or compressors.
Frank J. Bartos, P.E., is a Control Engineering consulting editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey