Process and control today | Are you ready for new eco-design measures?

European regulations will help manufacturers reduce their energy bills

There are around eight billion electric motors in use in the European Union. It is therefore not surprising that these devices will be subject to more stringent eco-design requirements in the future. Here, Neil Ballinger, EMEA Manager at global automation parts supplier EU Automation, addresses the key elements of the latest regulatory requirements.

It is estimated that electric motors consume almost half of the total amount of electricity produced in the EU. With growing pressure to implement policies that will reduce our carbon emissions, in addition to a growing energy crisis resulting from the conflict in Ukraine, there are growing incentives to encourage the adoption of more fuel-efficient engines. in energy and the increased use of variable speed drives (VSD).

The Electric Motors and Variable Speed ​​Drives Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 was introduced in 2019 and entered into force in July 2021. The new regulation is broader in scope than its predecessor, covering single-phase or three-phase motors, with rated power between 0.12kW and 1000kW, and rated voltage between 50V and 1000V.

Energy efficiency levels are expressed in classes, ranging from IE1 to IE5. Under the new rules, motors sold in the EU must achieve IE2, IE3 or IE4 depending on power rating and other characteristics. This makes the EU the first place in the world to make IE4 mandatory for certain engine categories.

Regulations for VODs

Electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical energy in the form of rotation. A variable speed drive adjusts the rotational speed of the motor according to the needs of an application. For example, a motor that can vary its speed and its torque would be better suited to a pump delivering a flow that changes over time, compared to a motor that must operate at continuous speed. The use of VODs can generate considerable cost savings for manufacturers and the EU is keen to encourage their adoption.

The latest regulations are the first to extend the regulations to workouts given their growing use. Previously, regulations stated that motors equipped with VSDs had to achieve an IE2 or IE3 level, but these rules were not extended to VSDs themselves. As of July 2021, 2019/1781 requires all VSDs within its scope to achieve IE2 level. In practice, this means that VSDs that only achieve IE1 standards are banned from sale in the EU.

Broader context

In 2009, the European Ecodesign Directive established a framework for the introduction of mandatory ecological requirements such as those stipulated in 2019/1781. These are therefore part of a much wider framework of environmental requirements for energy-using and energy-related products, including both consumer and industrial products.

The ultimate goal is for manufacturers to design motors and other energy-using products to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact at the design stage. It is estimated that the new regulations will result in annual savings of 110 TWh by the end of this decade, which is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumption of the Netherlands. This means that 40 million tonnes of C02 emissions will be avoided each year, but it also means substantial savings for manufacturers.

You can find out more about Regulation 2019/1781 here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2019/1781/oj. To keep up to date with the latest manufacturing news, visit the EU Automation Knowledge Hub.

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