The future of energy efficiency – know it already?

Two thirds of available energy efficiency potential remains untapped. A better world is created by engineering innovations together.

The energy efficiency field is very dynamic – new standards, directives and regulation schemes are developing globally.  Can industry handle this development?

The world we are living in is changing. For me light bulbs present stability. You can just guess how many jokes there are about changing light bulbs. Now in the EU they are banned because they consume too much energy. Bye-bye my stability, bye-bye jokes. Just imagine if the EU introduced a regulation tomorrow telling us that induction motors waste energy and are now banned.

Close cooperation between people across organizations and industries is the key in the development of energy efficient technologies globally. When it comes to motors and variable speed drives (VSDs), key people gathered to Zurich this week to share the latest information and projects at the Motor Summit 2016.

Regulation as well as progression of national and regional energy efficiency programs were the main focus at the conference this year. The discussions have also moved up from component efficiency level to system efficiency and the greater benefits this kind of approach brings.

Staying active in these arenas is important for companies to fully utilize the developing business potential in the field of energy efficiency. Not only at conferences, but also in those work groups finalizing standards and directives. Engineers at ABB in countries around the world participate in these work groups that are important for our future.

Activity is the key, but so is a clear business plan to handle future developments. In 2014, new efficiency classes for drives and combinations of drive and motor were introduced as part of the European ecodesign directives. Understanding the minimum energy efficiency requirements for motors and motor-drive systems helps machine builders and end users determine overall system energy use and even calculate payback times. The next stage of implementing the directive is fast approaching and ABB is prepared for it.

Electric motors and motor systems in industrial and infrastructure applications consume about 45% of all electricity – there is a great saving potential in energy efficiency. Knowing the future requires not only active collaboration but spending a lot of time doing the homework as well – have you done yours?

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About the author

Jukka Tolvanen

Born in 1969 in Joensuu, Finland, Jukka Tolvanen studied electrical engineering at the University of Technology in Helsinki, where he received his master's degree in 1996. Tolvanen joined ABB Drives as a trainee in 1993 and full time employee in 1996. He has had several managerial positions in R&D, sourcing, sales and product management and marketing. Currently Tolvanen enjoys his time studying energy efficiency full-time. Jukka blogs about energy efficiency related matters in English and in Finnish.
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