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Energy Efficiency Aspects of Electric Motors


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Energy Efficiency Aspects of Motors (photo credit: stiavelli.com)

Load Efficiency
Three-phase squirrel-cage induction motors comprise a considerable percentage of the electrical load in the United
States. Design, operation, and maintenance of these machines is well described in some of the articles already
published. This technical article focuses on their energy efficiency aspects.

Induction motors typically range in full load efficiency from about 87% to 94%. This efficiency is very difficult
to measure accurately in the field, requiring a dynamometer and other specialized equipment. Fortunately, energy
saving projects associated with electric motors do not require actual efficiency of a given motor to be established.

One of the foremost opportunities for energy savings is to implement a program of replacing rather
than rewinding induction motors at failure.

Rewinding a damaged induction motor is a common practice in industry, but studies have proven that rewinding an
induction motor drops its efficiency by a couple percentage points. Multiple rewinds can further reduce the efficiency
of the rewound motor.

While a drop in efficiency from 89% to 88% seems insignificant, a quick estimate reveals that this reduction can be
costly. A standard efficiency 20 hp motor operating 8000 hours annually, for example, costs about $7000 per year
to operate at an average electricity rate of 7 /kWh. Once this motor fails, the least-cost option for returning it to

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service is typically rewinding.

The incremental cost of replacing this failed motor with an energy-efficient motor, however, is only
$430. This amount assumes considers the rewound cost, and the labor necessary to perform the
motor change-out, as sunk costs.

The annual energy savings associated with replacing the failed motor with an energy-efficient model, at a new
efficiency of 92.9%, is approximately $510. The simple payback for the replacement, therefore, is less than one
year.

Energy-efficient motor programs are applicable to any AC


motor installations utilizing NEMA Design B
induction motors. Since the programs are based on
replacement at failure, the full savings potential is realized
after three years or more.

Published efficiencies of typical rewound,


standard, and energy-efficient three-phase induction
motors.

Figure 1 Electric motors are efficient machines, even at partial load

Figure 2 But power factor drops off sharply at half load

HP Rewound Efficiency Standard Efficiency Energy Efficient Efficiency

1 69.7% 70.7% 82.6%

2 79.5% 80.5% 83.4%

3 79.4% 80.4% 86.6%

5 81.4% 82.4% 88.3%

8 83.1% 84.1% 90.0%

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10 85.1% 86.1% 91.1%

15 85.5% 86.5% 92.0%

20 87.3% 88.3% 92.9%

25 88.0% 89.0% 93.5%

30 88.1% 89.1% 93.7%

40 88.7% 89.7% 94.2%

50 90.0% 91.0% 94.4%

60 89.9% 90.9% 94.7%

75 90.4% 91.4% 94.9%

100 90.4% 91.4% 95.4%

125 90.6% 91.6% 95.3%

150 91.5% 92.5% 95.7%

Motor Rewinding Process (VIDEO)

What is the rewind scenario if a motor fails? Read more about rewind rules of thumb.

Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

Reference: Electrical Energy Management Bill Brown, P.E., Square D Engineering Services

About Author //

Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for
design of LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, buildings and
industry fascilities. Designing of LV/MV switchgears. Professional in AutoCAD
programming and web-design. Present on

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One Comment

1.
Emilio Miranda

Oct 04, 2014

Interesting article! Bit, what about 250, 400, 600 HP motors, talking about payback? In tour

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article have you considered NEW motor replacement?


Thanks!

(reply)

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