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“High-efficiency motors and drives are central to the world’s invisible climate solution” – ABB’s Morten Wierod as EU Ecodesign regulation implemented

ABB Motion president Morten Wierod

In episode seven of ABB DECODED, ABB Motion president Morten Wierod shares how motors and drives can keep the world turning in an energy-efficient way.

Today, the EU Ecodesign regulation 2019/1781 for low-voltage induction motors and variable speed drives comes into effect, paving the way for millions of motor-driven applications to reduce their energy consumption.

Although electric motors consume about 45 per cent of global electricity, they are often not seen while in use. The issue is that too many motor-driven systems in use are inefficient which is why ABB is working with customers, partners, academia and governments to raise the awareness of just how much energy high-efficiency motors and drives can save. Solutions available from ABB today surpass not only the regulatory demands coming into effect today but also those scheduled for July 2023, when the Ecodesign regulation expands further.

Within the podcast, Morten shares insight into the prevalence of motors and drives in our everyday lives, and how they can drastically improve energy efficiency.

The invisible network around us

“Electric motion touches your life several times a day, even though you’re not aware of it. Motors and drives are ever-present, from ensuring that clean water reaches your home and running trains, to building, construction and the production of the food you eat.”

“So, all around us in the world there are more than 300 million motors and drive systems and sub-systems that are installed, which enable the right quality of life that we all want.”

Energy efficiency in a box

“The electric motor uses and controls electromagnetic fields to create the movement to make it turn. The variable speed drive is probably less known in the general public but I call it a box of energy efficiency. Inside the box sits power semiconductors and electronics that are used together with software to create the right speeds and torque to control the motor.” – a much more efficient method than the previous common practice of using brakes to control the speed.

“In that way, you’re able to save from 25 per cent and up to 40 percent, even 50 per cent of energy compared to running a motor at full speed as we would do without any speed control.”

Why the EU Ecodesign regulation is important

One of the key elements to achieve sustainability goals and targets in cities is energy efficiency, something which can be greatly impacted by motor and drive technology.

“I’m happy to see good progress with the energy levels of what we call IE3 being valid from today, July 1st 2021 and going to the IE4 which is the next level of energy efficiency in 2023. But we can do much more because new technologies are already available.” ABB has motor and drive solutions available which meet IE5 efficiency class – the highest level of efficiency met by any design to date.

“Over the course of 2020, ABB’s installed base of high-efficiency motors and drives enabled 198 terawatt-hours of electricity savings, which is more than three times the total annual consumption of Switzerland. By 2023, it’s estimated that the expansion of our installed base of motors and drives will help customers save an additional 78 terawatt hours of electricity per year – more than the annual consumption of Chile.”

“I believe industrial energy efficiency has the single greatest capacity for combating the climate emergency. It is essentially the world’s invisible climate solution. With high-efficiency motors and drives that power most of the critical process around us, we can keep the world turning while saving energy every day.”

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