ABB touts energy savings from drives
Company says 310 MWh of power saved in install base in 2011
ABB has released its annual estimate of the savings achieved by its installed base of drives. About 310 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electric power was saved by ABB drives in 2011, an increase of 19% compared with the previous year. Electric drives are used to regulate the speed and power consumption of electric motors. Industrial electric motors account for about 25% of all the electricity consumed worldwide.
The savings from ABB drives in 2011 is equivalent to 260 million tons of CO2 emissions – had this power been generated by fossil fuels. Specifically, ABB drives helped deliver electricity costs savings of approximately $34 billion for customers.
“The future potential for energy and cost savings is enormous, since only about 10% of industrial motors are combined, currently, with electric drives,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, member of the Group Executive committee and head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “Using energy more efficiently will remain, for a significant time, the biggest opportunity available to cut energy consumption, as well as costs and emissions.”
Electric motors are used widely in industry — for example, when pumping water, running fans and air conditioning, conveying goods over belts, rolling steel, moving elevators, etc.
Reducing a motor’s speed by half using a drive can reduce the energy it consumes to one-eighth of its consumption at full speed. ABB’s annual savings estimate is based on a comparison of the average electricity consumption in applications with and without drives. Many electric motors that are not equipped with drive technology run at maximum speed and are simply throttled if less performance is needed.
Energy accounts for 92% to 95% of the life cycle cost of a motor, depending on its size, so an investment in electric drives typically pays back in less than two years.