Industry could save £630m+, says Carbon Trust

Posted on 21 Nov 2011

The Carbon Trust announced that UK industry could save more than £630 by using more efficient electric motors and variable speed drives.

Two Carbon Trust guides reveal how businesses can make significant savings on their annual energy bill. In the industrial sector for example, a medium sized business with an electricity spend of £50k could save £5k per year by fitting variable speed drives (VSDs) and higher efficiency motors. Fans and pumps don’t often need to work at 100% capacity, so by using a VSD to slow them down by 20%, you can save up to 50% on their energy use.

The new guides detail how electric motors account for over two thirds of British industry’s electricity consumption and approximately 40% of all electricity consumption globally.  The annual running costs of a single motor can be ten times the purchase cost.

The Carbon Trust outlined how sectors such as the UK food and drink industry could save up to £70m per year by installing VSDs and more efficient motors. Other sectors such as plastics, rubber and chemicals could collectively save up to £270m per year.

Richard Rugg, director of Carbon Trust programmes, said: “There is a massive £640m to be saved if businesses can get their approach to motors and drives right. While it’s sometimes easy to overlook, simple steps can make a big difference to energy costs. Adopting the measures outlined in these guides will have a direct impact on your business bottom line.”

Research by the Carbon Trust has set out the following tips for businesses:

  • Set a timer – these can be used to switch off motor-powered equipment at specified times when it is not in needed.
  • Check for motors left running – watch what happens to motor-powered equipment when there is no production during a tea break or job change.
  • Minimise the demand being placed on the system.  Careful analysis of the process requirements will identify opportunities to reduce the demand; these could vary from reducing the throughput to reducing, for example, temperature or pressure settings.
  • Evaluate the overall system performance and that of individual components to determine whether they are operating at or near maximum efficiency. For example: Regularly clean motors and associated equipment, check the condition of motors, check the alignment of motor and equipment shafts and pulleys.

Tom Moore