CBS Newsletter
Winter 1996
pg. 3

Aerial view of Washington D.C.

News From the D.C. Office

New Work With Motor Systems

The Energy Analyis Program has recently started a project for the DOE Office of Industrial Technologies Motor Challenge Program. This project, to be carried out in the Washington D.C. office, extends the office's work to an exciting new area of electric motor system efficiency.

Motor systems consume about 70 percent of the electric energy used in the U.S. industrial sector. Emphasis on motor efficiency in recent years has led to passage of efficiency standards, to become effective in 1997, for most common types of motors. This is extremely important because the cost of energy consumed by a motor during its useful life typically far exceeds its acquisition cost. Frequently, significant system-level opportunities for energy savings are overlooked as well.

An electric motor system is defined as a combination of electrically-driven equipment and associated hardware that converts electrical energy to mechanical or fluid power. Components of motor systems can include controls, adjustable-speed drives, pumps, air compressors, fans and blowers, and mechanical devices such as belts, gears, and bearings. Ancillary equipment such as dryers, dampers, heat exchangers, air cleaners, and filters, as well as distribution lines (ducts and pipes), can also be part of the motor system.

The Office of Industrial Technologies estimates that improvements in motor efficiency represent 18% of total potential energy savings for motor systems. The remaining savings opportunities are in the motor-mechanical subsystem (41%), process optimization (33%), and electrical distribution correction (8%). While these estimates pertain to the industrial sector, they also have significance for commercial building motor systems, which typically include system components such as fans, blowers, pumps, and distribution lines.

Through a series of conferences and round tables with industrial customers, distributors, and manufacturers, the Motor Challenge program has identified substantial gaps in the type, quality, and knowledge of system performance information available to industrial customers. This information has given the program a major market transformation opportunity through educating both high-volume and small buyers on the benefits of purchasing highly efficient motor systems.

Our work with Motor Challenge is designed to address these information gaps and assist buyers through the development of a series of tools for industrial end-users to be released in late 1996 and early 1997.

Info icon

Aimee McKane
LBNL D.C. Project Office
1250 Maryland Ave. S.W., Suite 500
(202) 484-0880; (202) 484-0888 fax

This work is supported by DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies.

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