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SCIENTIFICIMPELLER

28

1998

ENERGY COMPARISON VFD VS. ON-OFF CONTROLLED PUMPING STATIONS


ANDERS WALLBOM-CARLSON ANDERS WALLBOM-CARLSON
ITT Flygt AB, Sweden

Anders Wallbom-Carlson, 29, grew up in Falun, a city in the county of Dalecarlia, Sweden. In 1992 he obtained a B.Sc. in computer engineering at the university college of Gvle/Sandviken. This was followed by studies in mechanical engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm where he obtained his M.Sc. in 1996. The third year of these studies was spent as an exchange student at Dublin University (Trinity College), Republic of Ireland. Anders started to work for ITT Flygt after nishing his masters thesis at the R&D department (at the same company). He is currently working with application and systems engineering support.

Abstract A Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) is used to control the speed of the pump with the intention of reducing the losses when pumping. The VFD is not an ideal component, since it has internal losses. Furthermore, the VFD causes harmonic losses in the electric motor. Regardless of the VFD, there are additional losses when the speed is reduced. This is due to system duty-point movement and motor duty-point movement. A thorough system analysis has to be performed in order to determine whether variable frequency control may be economically motivated. Systems with high losses relative to geodetic head benet from VFD control, while the impact of a VFD in lift systems (low losses relative to geodetic head) is negligible.

1. INTRODUCTION
Pumping with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controlled systems can be separated into two different cases: 1. A variable continuous ow is required by the process. The normal way to control the ow is by throttling. The use of a VFD will, in most cases, lead to a substantial energy reduction. 2. VFD vs. ON-OFF regulation. Variable speed drive is used to reduce losses when pumping. The effect of the VFD control depends on the system used. A thorough system analysis has to be performed in order to determine whether variable frequency control might be economically motivated. Most wastewater pumping stations allow a discontinuous ow. The use of VFD in order to save energy should always be compared not only with ON-OFF regulation but also with the alternatives. One alternative for systems with high losses is to install an additional small pump that handles the small ows. For lift-systems where a continuous ow is required, it may be economically motivated to build a compensation basin instead of using VFD control.

2. SYSTEM DUTY-POINT MOVEMENT


The afnity laws state that the ow is proportional to impeller speed. Head and NPSH are proportional to the square of the speed. The fact P=QHg implies that power is a cubical function of the speed. The hydraulic efciency remains constant when the speed is reduced. Afnity laws:

Q1 Q2 P1 P2
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n1 n2 n1 3 n2
29

H1 H2

n1 2 n2
(2.1)

1 =1 2
1998

Example. A centrifugal pump with a nominal frequency of 50 Hz is run at reduced speed, 35 Hz. The best hydraulic efciency point for the nominal curve is 74% at a ow of 93 l/s and a head of 9.3 m. Power at the best efciency point (B.E.P.) is 11.5 kW. New B.E.P. is calculated: Flow decreases proportional to the frequency:

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2

H (m)

Q= 35 93=65.1 l/s 50
Head is reduced to

2 35 9.34.6 m H= 50
Power drops to

3 35 11.53.9 kW P= 50
Hydraulic efciency remains the same, 74% All points on the performance curve will move along quadratic curves with constant efciency toward the origin of coordinates when the frequency is reduced.
18 16 H (m)

35 Hz 0 0 20 40 60 80

40 Hz

50 Hz 45 Hz

Q (l/s) 100 120 140 160 180

Figure 2. System duty-point movement for a lift system and a pure-loss system.
30 25 20 15 Power [kW] Efficiency [%] 80 70 60 50 35 Hz 45 Hz 50 Hz 40 40 Hz 50 Hz 30 45 Hz 40 Hz 20 35 Hz 10 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 0 140 160 180 Flow [l/s]

14 12 10 8
0 10

Curves with constant efficiency


5

6 4 2 0 0 20 40 60 80 35 Hz 40 Hz 50 Hz 45 Hz

Figure 3. System duty-point movement for a lift system and a pure-loss system shown in an efciency and power diagram.

Q (l/s) 100 120 140 160 180

Figure 1. Frequency regulated performance curve.

The actual duty point is always the intersection between the performance curve and the system curve. The system curve for a pure-loss system will coincide with a constant efciency curve, the hydraulic efciency will therefore remain constant when the frequency is reduced. The hydraulic efciency in systems with a geodetic head will change however when the frequency is reduced. The system curve for a system with a geodetic head does not coincide with a constant efciency curve. The intersection between the system curve and the performance curve will start to move up along the performance curve, toward the left-hand side of the performance and efciency curves. See Figures 1 and 2. The system curve for a pure-loss system will coincide with a constant efciency curve, the hydraulic efciency will therefore remain constant when the frequency is reduced.
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Example. Same pump as in the previous example is installed in a lift system with a geodetic head of 6 m. The duty point for full speed is the same as the B.E.P. 93 l/s at 9.3 m (efciency, 74%) What happens with the duty point when the pump is regulated down to 35 Hz? Flow decreases to 26 l/s. (See Figure 2.) Head is reduced to 6.4 m. Shaft power drops to 4.9 kW. (See Figure 3.) Hydraulic efciency is not constant. It drops to 50%.

3. MOTOR DUTY-POINT MOVEMENT


The efciency of an electric motor will change when the frequency, and thus the speed, is reduced. The output torque from the motor is a function of input voltage and frequency.

T k U f

2
(3.1)

1998

There are two common ways to control the output voltage from a VFD. Voltage that is proportional to the frequency and voltage proportional to the square of the frequency. Available motor torque remains constant when the frequency is reduced, if a VFD with an output voltage proportional to the frequency is used. Having voltage proportional to the square of the frequency implies that torque is proportional to the square of frequency.
500 400 300 200 100 0 0 200 U~f 400 600 U~f 2 800 1000 1200 1400 Speed [rpm] Torque [Nm]

The VFD causes harmonic losses in the motor. This is due to the nonperfect sinusoidal wave from the VFD with which the motor is supplied. These losses cause the motor to heat up, which is the reason the motor has to be de-rated when it runs with a VFD. The harmonic losses generated by a modern VFD vary between 5% and 10%, this results in a motor efciency drop of 0.5% and 1%.

5. VFD EFFICIENCY FACTOR


The VFD efciency factor includes losses from the VFD itself, losses generated in the motor by the VFD, and losses in the motor due to motor duty-point movement. The motor efciency is calculated from the motor curve at nominal frequency and is then adjusted for a lower frequency using the VFD efciency factor.

100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50

Efficiency [%]

Figure 4. Motor duty-point movement.

A pump represents a cubical load, the load curve is shown in Figure 4. It can be seen in the gure how the duty point, the intersection between torque curve and load curve, moves down on the right ank of the torque curve for U~f when the frequency is reduced. The duty point at nominal frequency is somewhere in the middle of the right-hand ank, whereas the duty point at 20 Hz is almost at the end. This means that the slip will change when the frequency is reduced. The efciency of the motor depends on the slip, and the efciency of the motor will drop even though the hydraulic efciency remains constant. The motor efciency curve will also change when the frequency is reduced. The effects of the motor duty-point movement is much higher when the voltage is proportional to the frequency; the slip and thus the efciency changes much more rapidly. A voltage proportional to the square of the frequency is recommended for pump applications to maintain motor efciency.

Ideal. (No consideration of d.p. movement) 2 U~f U~f f [Hz] 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

Figure 6. VFD efciency factors for different types of voltage control.

4. VFD LOSSES
The VFD itself is not an ideal component, because it has internal losses. The efciency of a standard VFD is 97 to 98% at nominal frequency, but it drops when the frequency is reduced, as shown in Figure 5.
100 99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90 25 30 35 40 45 50 f [Hz] Efficiency [%]

The curves for motor duty-point movement are derived from simulations in Flygts internal simulation program for electric motors.

6. SPECIFIC ENERGY
Specic energy, Es, is used to compare energy consumption between VFD-regulated pumps and ON-OFF regulated pumps. It is a measurement of how much energy is needed to pump one cubic meter of water [kWh/m3] in a given system.

Figure 5. Efciency of a modern VFD with an IGBT switching frequency of 2 kHz.

P Energy PT = Es = = Q Pumped volume V


Specic energy in the duty point has been plotted for three frequency-regulated systems with the same full-speed duty point, 93 l/s @9.3m, but with different geodetic heights. The rst system has high losses, Hgeo=3m. The second system is a mixed system, Hgeo=6m. The third and last system is a lift system, Hgeo=8.5m.
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16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2

Head [m]

Specific energy [kWh/m3]

0.050 0.045 0.040 0.035 0.030 0.025 0.020 0.015

Example. How much energy is saved during one year by using a VFD in the combined system shown in Figure 7 (compared with ON-OFF control)? The duration diagram for this station is shown in Figure 8.
100 80 60 40 20 0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 Time [hr/Year] Flow [l/s]

Reg. loss system Reg. combined system ON-OFF reg. system Reg. lift system 0 20 40 60 80 100 120

0.010 0.005 0.000 140 Flow [l/s]

Figure 7. Specic energy-loss system, combined system, and lift system.

Figure 9. Duration diagram and corresponding discretized histogram.

The potential for energy savings by adding a VFD in systems with high losses is great. The potential can be seen as the area between the ON-OFF regulated curve and the curve for the frequency-regulated loss system. The ow for the loss system may be regulated down to 12 l/s and still be more energy efcient than an ON-OFF controlled system. The limit at which a regulated system becomes inefcient, in comparison with an ON-OFF one, moves toward higher ows when the geodetic head increases. It can be seen from Figure 7 that the energy-saving potential is minor when using a VFD in a lift system. The energy consumption for a system with a high geodetic head may, in some cases, even increase by adding a VFD. (See Reg. Lift system in Figure 7.)

Total energy consumption, VFD-controlled pump: EVFDtot = i Pi Ti = i Esi Ti Qi = =0.038 1000 (93+60) / 2 3.6+ +0.036 6000 (60+40) / 2 3.6+ +0.054 1760 40 / 2 3.6 = 56188 kWh Total energy consumption, ON-OFF controlled pump: Qtot = 1000 (93+60) / 2 3.6+ +6000 (60+40) / 2 3.6+ +1760 40 / 2 3.6 = 1 482 120 m3 ESonoff = 0.04 kWh/m3 EONOFFtot = 0.04 1482120 = 59284 kWh Energy saved annually by adding a VFD to the system is 59284-56188=3097 kWh. The potential for energy savings by adding a VFD mainly depends on the system type, that is, the geodetic head and design point relative to the best efciency point and inow variations.

7. ENERGY CALCULATION
Many pump stations are designed for a peak ow that occurs only a few times annually. Most of the ow will be at 50 to 80% of this design ow. The efciency for a pump with VFD varies with the inow. A duration diagram is needed in order to calculate the total energy consumption during an interval of time.
100 80 60 40 20 0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 Time [hr/Year] Flow [l/s]

8. CONCLUSIONS
ON-OFF regulated pumps run with high constant pump efciency regardless of the inow variations. They always run at their designed duty point. However, they also run at a constant system efciency (Hgeo/Htot). The pump efciency for VFD-regulated systems changes when the frequency is reduced. This is mainly due to system duty-point movement, but VFD losses and motor duty-point movement will also have an effect. System efciency increases when the frequency, and thus the ow, is reduced. Systems with low system efciency, that is, loss systems, will generally benet from VFD control. But systems with high system efciency, that is, lift systems, do not. A thorough system analysis and the calculation of total energy consumption should always be performed in order to determine whether variable frequency control is economically motivated.

Figure 8. Duration diagram, inow variation for a pumping station during one year.

The total energy consumption during one year can be calculated from the duration diagram combined with the specic energy diagram.

Etot = P(Q) dt = Es(Q) Qdt = ~ ~ i Pi Ti =i E si Ti Q i


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Qmin Qmin

Qmax

Qmax

REFERENCES
Economical Aspects of Variable Frequency Drives in Pumping Stations (1994), Ref. no. 892618, ITT Flygt Systems Engineering. Lindeborg, R. (1994), Variable Frequency Drives, ITT Flygt. 1998