Minimum Motor Efficiencies in the European Union

From June 16th 2011 a new regulation means that electric motors with power ratings in the range 750 W to 375 kW must meet a minimum efficiency grade of IE2 in order to be placed on the market in the European Union. Grade IE2 is approximately equivalent to Eff1 in the previous voluntary motor efficiency scheme. There are various exceptions and details, which can be found in the relevant EC regulation 640/2009 .

This regulation was made under the EC Energy Using Products directive, more recently covered by the newer Ecodesign directive.

The improvement in efficiency required ranges from about 10% points for a 1kW motor to 2% points for a 200kW motor. Because of the enormous number of motors used in the EU the future energy savings from these apparently quite modest efficiency improvements will be considerable.

The new regulation does not have any direct effect on variable speed drives. However the improved efficiency of the new motors will apply equally when the motor is controlled by a drive. In any motor application the likely benefit of using a VSD should always be considered. For applications such as pumps, fans and compressors where variable delivery is required it is almost always beneficial to use a VSD, and energy savings of 30% or more are often achieved.  Visit www.controltechniques.com/energysavingsestimator to use our energy optimizing software that can analyze your energy usage for different applications and calculate cost savings using variable speed drives.

The next phase of the regulation takes effect on January 1st 2015. Then, motors in the range 7.5 kW to 375 kW will have to meet the more demanding IE3 requirement, or else if they meet IE2 they will need to be used with a variable speed drive. Again, for many pump, fan and compressor applications the benefit of using a VSD far exceeds that from the improved efficiency of motor. For these applications Control Techniques would recommend using a VSD in combination with an IE3 motor.