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By Henk de Swardt

53 Hospital Street, Cleveland, Johannesburg.

P. O. Box 40018, Cleveland, 2022.

Tel: +27 (0) 11 607 1700.

Fax: +27 (0) 86 524 0757

DIVISIONAL MANAGEMENT: R. Spoon (Chairman), R. Botton (Managing), M. Chamberlain, H. de Swardt, J. Grobbelaar, B. Hitchcock, D. Liebenberg, H. Marthinusen, C. Megannon

Article Published in Vector 1 of April 2003:

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy?

By Henk de Swardt, Engineering Director, Marthinusen & Coutts

Introduction

Lately many articles and advertisements were published promoting “High Efficiency Motors”. Almost every OEM of electrical motors to the South African market published his opinion and punted his range of “High Efficiency Motors”. But what does “High” mean?

These High Efficiency Motors are said to save the customer hundreds of thousands of Rand every … well, every year, month, day, minute – depending on whom you ask. This should be excellent news for the stock brokers! In reality we all know that there really is no such thing as a free lunch or perpetual motion!

HIGH compared to what? Compared to LOW of course!

“High” efficiency motors is said to reduce the “Total Cost of Ownership” (another buzz word) of the motors. With this article I aim to place into perspective, and quantify what High Efficiency Motors should mean and place the saving into real Rand and cent terms.

What is EFFICIENCY?

Let’s first investigate how the efficiency of an electric motor is defined: A motor drives a load. The load requires a torque of say 1000 Nm at 1480 rpm. This equates to 154.99 kW. Unfortunately the motor needs more than this to be able to deliver 155 kW. This is because there are inherent losses in the motor. If the total losses are 10 kW, then the motor requires 165 kW of electrical power input to deliver the required 155kW. The efficiency (in percentage) of this motor is thus 93.94 %. Some might say that an efficiency of 93.94 % is LOW, while others might consider it to be HIGH.

This efficiency is calculated by Equation 1: (The symbols in square brackets indicate the units of measure.)

Mechanical Output Power

 η [%] = *100

Electrical Input Power

Equation 1: Calculation for motor efficiency.

1 Vector is the Journal of the Institution of Certified Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and the Journal of South African Institute of Electrical Technician Engineer.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 2 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

The losses in the motor consist of the several components, as listed below, together with typical rations to the total losses:

Core losses (1.5 %)

Stator copper losses (1.5 %)

Rotor copper losses (1.0 %) or Rotor aluminium losses (1.75 %)

Stray losses (0.5 %)

Friction and Windage losses (1.5 %).

The percentages listed are general losses and will definitely change for each specific motor design. One thing that will remain, is the ratio between the rotor losses for copper and aluminium – for the same cross sectional area. This is because the resistivity of aluminium (26.5 ρ Ωm) is 58 % higher that that of copper (16.8 ρ Ωm). The stator copper losses will probably also increase slightly for an aluminium rotor in stead of a copper rotor. For this reason I find it very difficult to believe claims of High Efficiency motors when OEM’s still use die-cast Aluminium rotors! To truly increase the efficiency, surely copper rotors should be used?

Increasing the EFFICIENCY by reducing the losses

The total losses of the motor can be reduced by reducing any of these individual losses, which will the increase the efficiency of the motor.

Core losses:

The core losses are dependant on the flux in the core, which is dependant on the number of turns per coil in the slot. This also influences the power factor, current, starting and pull out torques, etc.

Stator copper losses:

The stator copper losses can be reduced by increasing the cross sectional area of the conductors. This can be done by reducing the number of turns (which changes the performance as indicated above) or by increasing the slot size, which increases the core losses, because the core size is less.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 3 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

Rotor copper / aluminium losses:

The rotor copper losses can be reduced by increasing the cross sectional area of the conductors or by changing the conductor material. The cross sectional area can be increased by increasing the slot size, which again reduces the core size, which increases the core losses. The conductor material can be changed, from Aluminium to Copper for instance, resulting in approximately 60 % less losses – but also changing the torque characteristics of the motor. The conductor can also be changed to a material with even higher conductivity, for instance silver or gold – this is however not economical at all!

Stray losses:

The stray losses can be reduced by a increasing the air gap, changing the rotor bridge opening to depth ratio, etc. These do however also affect other performance characteristics of the motor, which can again increase other losses.

Friction and Windage losses:

The friction and windage losses can be reduced by optimised fan designs, changing to water cooling, smaller fans, etc.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 4 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

Real EFFICIENCIES in real Motors:

Let’s now consider typical efficiencies of real electrical motors. The scenario is as follows, several motor sizes, running for a period of time, as specified. Assume an industrial site, with an electricity cost of R 0.23 /kW. 2 The calculated energy costs are listed in Table 1.

Mechanical
Energy Cost per Year
Output
Efficiency
Cost
Saving
Cost
Saving
Cost
Saving
Power
1 h/day
12 h/day
24 h/day
STD
77.05%
R
109
R
1,308
R
2,617
1 kW
R
16
R
188
R
377
High
90.00%
R 93
R
1,120
R
2,240
STD
89.85%
R
935
R
11,220
R
22,439
10 kW
R
32
R
380
R
760
High
93.00%
R
903
R
10,840
R
21,679
STD
94.15%
R
8,923
R
107,073
R
214,146
100
kW
R
80
R
958
R
1,916
High
95.00%
R
8,843
R
106,115
R
212,229
STD
94.90%
R
44 k
R
531 k
R
1,062 k
500
kW
R
0 k
R 4 k
R 8 k
High
95.60%
R
44 k
R
527 k
R
1,054 k
STD
95.30%
R
88 k
R
1,058 k
R
2,116 k
1000
kW
R
1 k
R
16 k
R 33 k
High
96.80%
R
87 k
R
1,041 k
R
2,083 k
STD
95.50%
R
440 k
R
5,278 k
R
10,556 k
5000
kW
R
7 k
R
82 k
R
163 k
High
97.00%
R
433 k
R
5,196 k
R
10,393 k
Table 1: Energy costs for various motors.
The costs are calculated using Equation 2: (The symbols in square brackets indicate the
units of measure.)
Mechanical Output Power [kW]
Cost [R]
=
*Hours Running Per Day*365.25*Energy Cost [R/kW]
Motor Efficiency [%] * 100
Equation 2: Calculation for the direct energy cost.
For this example I used 525 Volt, 4 pole motors for the ratings less than and equal to
100kW, and 6600 Volt, 4 pole motors for the higher ratings.

Is HIGH EFFICIENCY worth the COST?

From these real-world examples we can see that a HIGH EFFICIENCY, 1000 kW motor, running 24 hours a day, for a full year, the saving in energy cost will be only R 33 k! For such a large motor, the high efficiency option will typically cost 30% more (R 520 k compared to R 400 k) than the standard motor! Thus, the return on the additional investment is 3.6 years. Any accountant would frown at this long period.

2 Energy cost for an industrial site in 2006. Please check with your electricity supplier for the applicable energy cost.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 5 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

For the small motors it only makes sense to take the efficiency into consideration if these are very large quantities of these motors installed!

Now, let’s look at another value that is often overlooked: the Power Factor, and investigate it’s influence on the “Total Cost of Ownership” of the motor.

A REAL cost saving Alternative?

The power factor of the motor is related to the efficiency, but a high efficiency motor can have a low power factor, etc.

Input Power [W]
Voltage [V]*Current [A]*
3
VAR

The power factor of the motor is defined as shown in Equation 3: (The symbols in square brackets indicate the units of measure.)

Power Factor =

Equation 3: Calculation for the power factor.

The power factor is by definition less than – or equal to one. The higher the power factor, the closer the input power will be to the product of the Voltage and the Currents (and the square root of three for a three phase supply).

Power factor is also known as the cos φ of the motor. This is deducted from the power angle vector diagram, Figure 1:

VA
φ
P

Figure 1: Power angle diagram.

The following equations apply:

P =

3.V .I .cos(φ)

Equation 4: Calculation of Active Power.

VA =
3.V .I
Equation 5: Calculation of VA.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 6 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

VAR =

3.V . I .sin(φ)

Equation 6: Calculation of Reactive Power.

(

VA = P + VAR

)

2

() (

2

)

2

Equation 7: Relationship between VA, Reactive and Active Power.

Where:

P is the real power, measured in Watt (or kilo-Watt).

VA is the “maximum demand”, measured in Volt-Ampere’ (or kVA).

VAR is the reactive power, measured in Volt-Ampere’ (or kVA). φ is the power angle, measured in degrees (or radians).

V

I is the current in Ampere’.

is the Voltage in Volt.

Why Maximum Demand and not Maximum Power?

The “VA” is known as the Maximum Demand. This is a huge concern for the supplier of electricity, because this, and not the Maximum Power determines the sizing of switchgear, transformers, distribution cable sizes, distribution Voltages, etc.

This is also the reason why Eskom, as well as municipalities charge a huge premium for the maximum demand. One of the rules are as follows 3 : The MAXIMUM maximum demand that is recorded during the whole of the month – even just for one minute – will be used in the calculation of the electricity account, as if this maximum demand was consumed the whole of the month. The rate for maximum demand is R 50 /kVA 4 in this case is.

Now, let’s consider our previous example of the price comparison again, but now using the maximum demand, and thus also the power factor to determine the real cost savings between a standards and a high power factor design.

Real Power Factor and Maximum Demand in real motors:

From the rules for the determining of the maximum demand, it is clear that it is irrelevant how long the motor runs during the month. If it runs at all during the month, the customer will be charged for the maximum demand for the whole month. These costs are calculated and listed in Table 2.

3 This is one of the rules for calculating maximum demand. Please do confirm you electricity supplier’s rules and rates from them.

4 Energy cost for an industrial site in 2006. Please check with your electricity supplier for the applicable energy cost.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 7 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

Mechanical
Output
Power Factor
Maximum Demand Cost
per Year
Power
Cost
Saving
STD
0.79
R
759
1 kW
5% increase
0.83
R
723
R
36
10% increase
0.87
R
690
R
69
STD
0.84
R
7,143
10 kW
5% increase
0.88
R
6,803
R
340
10% increase
0.92
R
6,494
R
649
STD
0.87
R
69 k
100
kW
5% increase
0.91
R
66 k
R
3 k
10% increase
0.96
R
63 k
R
6 k
STD
0.87
R
345 k
500
kW
5% increase
0.91
R
328 k
R
16 k
10% increase
0.96
R
313 k
R
31 k
STD
0.87
R
690 k
1000
kW
5% increase
0.91
R
657 k
R
33 k
10% increase
0.96
R
627 k
R
63 k
STD
0.87
R
3,448 k
5000
kW
5% increase
0.91
R
3,284 k
R
164 k
10% increase
0.96
R
3,135 k
R
313 k
Mechanical Output Power [kW]

Table 2: Maximum demand cost for various motors.

The costs are calculated using Equation 8: (The symbols in square brackets indicate the units of measure.)

Cost [R]

=

Motor Efficiency [%] /100*Power Factor

*Maximum Demand Rate [R/kVA] *12

Equation 8: Calculation of the maximum demand cost.

For this example I again used 525 Volt, 4 pole motors for the ratings less than and equal to 100kW, and 6600 Volt, 4 pole motors for the higher ratings.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 8 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

Is INCREASED POWER FACTOR worth the COST?

From these real-world examples we can see that a 5 % increase in power factor on a 1000 kW motor, running at least once a month, the saving in maximum demand cost will be R 33 k per annum! For such a large motor, a 5 % increase in power factor would probably only cost an additional 10 % (R 440 k compared to R 400 k) compared to the cost of a standard motor! Thus, the return on the additional investment is just 1.21 years. Any accountant would smile at this quick return on investment.

For the 10 % increase in power factor, the motor will pay off the additional cost for the high power factor option with the savings in maximum demand itself within just over three years even if this high power factor motor costs 50 % more than the standard motor!

Again, for the small motors it only makes sense to take the power factor into consideration if these are large quantities of these motors installed!

So what is the answer?

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 9 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007

Conclusion:

Many customers have been fooled by “High Efficiency” motor options, purely because the industry does not properly understand the concepts. Customers need to ensure that when they specify motors they purchase from companies that can truly assist them to reduce the long term total cost of ownership of their plant.

These suppliers should be willing (and able) to test, measure, record, and justify the long term energy costs of the motors they supply to the South Africa market.

We are proud to engineer quality solutions for our valued customers.

Henk de Swardt
Engineering Director
Marthinusen & Coutts (Pty.) Ltd.
B. Eng. Electric and Electronic (RAU)
Marthinusen & Coutts (Pty.) Ltd.
A division of Savcio Holdings (Pty.) Ltd.
Our Service.
Tel: +27 11 617 1700
Fax: +27 86 502 0084
E-mail: henkd@mandc.co.za
Henk de Swardt has a B. Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He has more than eleven years of
electric motors experience, both in the electric motor repair industry, as well as the electric motor
manufacturing industry. He was employed for several years by the Largest OEM in South Africa. He also
received specialized training in France on the designing of Electrical Motors. He is currently serving the
Electric Motor industry at the Largest repairer of MV and HV motors in Africa. For a full C.V. visit
http://www.qtime.co.za/CV_Main.html
Other articles written by the Author:
• Can a small Voltage increase be used to improve an electric motor’s efficiency?.
• Centrifugal Fans: Direction of Rotation Explained.
• Critical Speed on an electric motor explained.

Electric Motor Design Enhancements: Ensuring high quality and long term reliability.

Electric Motor Failure Prevention: Wedge Failures.

Electric motor Revitalisation Program: Case Studies 1 - 4.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy?

How does build-up of residue in water heat exchangers influence their cooling efficiency?

Star-Delta Starting and Dual Voltage Motors Explained.

The effects of an increased air gap of an electric motor.

The Locked Rotor Test Explained.

Torque and Starting of High Inertia Loads Explained.

Winch motor failure analysis.

High Efficiency Motors: Fact or Fallacy? By Henk de Swardt

Page 10 of 10 Rev. 07, Date: 10/2007