VSDs to lose exemption from tough new Euro motor efficiency rules
3 Mar 2020
Variable speed drives will be included for the first time in stringent new rules for electric motors intended to promote energy efficiency.
The Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) was imposed more than a decade ago by the EU Commission for motor products but until now has permitted significant exemptions including for those used in hazardous areas.
The EC 640/2009regulation required motors of 0.75-375 kW to reach international standards set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for single-speed three-phase motors.
It contains three classes of motor: IE1 describes standard efficiency, IE2 is high efficiency and IE3 is used for motors with premium levels of efficiency.
Updates to the legislation in 2016 specified that electric motors had to attain the highest energy efficiency class of IE3 but stipulated motors used with a variable speed drive (VSD) were eligible for IE2 class instead.
Marek Lukaszczyk, European and Middle East marketing manager at WEG, explained that previously, the scope of the regulations only covered 3-phase motors ranging from 0.75 kW to 375 kW only. From 2021, this will no longer be the case.
However, the forthcoming change requires all new 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-pole motors in the power range of 0.75-1000kW to meet requirements for the IE3 efficiency class, while sizes from 0.12-0.75 kW will need to meet IE2 class.
Said Lukaszczyk: “Explosion-proof or flame-proof motors were exempt from the previous regulation, out of precaution for the higher-risk environments they were used in. From July 2021, new ATEX motors entering the supply chain must be rated IE3 or higher with ‘Ex eb’ increased safety motors being the exception. These… will need to be at least IE2 efficiency level by 2023.”
In Europe, it is estimated, there are more than 8 billion electric motors in use, consuming nearly two thirds of the electricity generated across the continent.
Lukaszczyk added that the continent’s electric motor market has rapidly reflected the shift in regulation. Whereas motors classed as IE1 and below represented 80 per cent of European market share in 2009, by 2016 they accounted for just 17 per cent.
During the same timespan, IE3 premium class motors rose from 0 per cent to 29 per cent of the Euro market share.