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ASD savings based on pump motor loading??
13

ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

(OP)
I was recently told that if the actual load on a pump motor were less than 50% of rated, there would be great potential for energy savings through the use of VFD’s.  Is there a “rule of thumb” or an equation that would help predict savings by using VFD’s on synchronous pumps?  

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

4
The VFD actually has nothing to do with the energy savings, its the system the pump (or load) is working in.  If you have varied flow or head requirements, then use of a VFD to match the pump to your system needs saves power over using things like recirc lines, throttled valves, and bypasses.  I have been told that a lot too by vendors for VFD's, is that where you happened to hear that from?  

My question back to the vendor usually is someting like.....you mean if I overdesign the motor to 2 times my need then VFD it down 50 percent to the actual power prequirement I will save more money that running the pump with the correct motor?  The answer is no, but that is not usually the response I get....LOL

VFD's are actually another inefficiency in the pump/motor system that must be figured into the efficiency of the pump and motor.  Again, if your system varies, they are worth their weight in gold insofar as the electric savings you can realize....

There really is no rule of thumb for the VFD but rather you need to calculate the way the system operates over a period of time and perform a summation of energy requirements at the various locations of the system curve if you throttle, or flows in the bypass lines.  

hope this helped....

BobPE

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

(OP)
Thanks BobPE...You saved me a lot of grief...to answer your question, yes I was given that "fact" from a vendor!

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

I agree with Bob. VFD's will only save you money if your running the motor at less than nameplate (to what degree is debatable and determined by application only) then the VFD may save some money as far as power factor penalties and such. If the system was oversized for some reason but the head is determined to be about the same over some period of operation, then it is more sensible to change the pump and motor (depending on cost) than install a VFD. The VFD may create additional headaches with equipment (or utilities depending on size) from the harmonics it places on the utility (and thus other circuits in the building). Line reactors may have to be installed (more money). Anyway, your VFD salesman is not atypical.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

I think you will find that most companies are similar, in that controlling flow rates tends to be determined by a flow control valve and not by variable speed. This is 'old' technology. In essence, the pump generates too much head for the required flow and the FCV then has to limit the flow. The energy required by the motor to generate the excess pump head is basically wasted energy.
In saying this, not all applications are suitable for VSD's, so I would suggest you contact your local ABB rep, as they have a free CD that not only calculates the energy saving, but also the CO2 saving that the rest of the world gets from the wasted energy not having to be generated in the first place!

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

The biggest savings associated with vfd's are reduction in fluid system losses, as discussed.

But, there are devices specifically targeted to improve efficiency of MOTORS operating at or below 50%. They are called NOLA devices. They reduced the voltage to reduce the associated core losses and magnetizing current I^2*R losses.  It sounds like perhaps this was the type of device the vendor was referring to.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

3
pumpedup:

Drives are good for some applications, but not all.  If your pump/motor operates at 100% load some of the time and 50% load some time you need to calculate the savings yourself.  

You also need to ask your drive supplier what the losses will be for the drive itself.  In most cases the drive will have heat losses anywhere from 2% up to 5% depending on the manufacture and type.  The drive will constantly have a low(er) power factor that can not be corrected even at 100% motor load.  

Drives are the best answer for some applications, but there are a lot of white elephants in operation too simply because the engineer is not smart enough to design a 60 hertz operation.  

One thing I consider is that I have seen a lot of D-O-L starters over 20 years old that have not been touched.  With drives if you operate 2 to 3 years without repairing it, it is a good drive.  You also add heat to the motor with a VSD, so if you add a drive you may need to upgrade the motor to a “VSD” designed or rated motor.

I sell pumping systems, but I don’t like drives.  I have a customer show me an absolute demand before I sell one.  They cost more up front and cause more headaches than a D-O-L type starter.  I will sell them where the need is such, but will let my customer know about all the negatives too.  There are times where the system and operation demand a drive, but I would recommend that you review all the added benefits and problems before buying one.

Good luck!
David

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

great comments, d23.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

The only type type of case where the use of a VFD is usually likely to be an easy choice is where ALL of the following conditions are involved:

(1) The required flow rate varies substantially.

(2) Much of the duty cycle is at significantly reduced flow rates.

(3) The VFD eliminates the use of a throttling valve in the system.
 
(4) The head required from the pump is simply to overcome frictional losses due to flow through pipes, heat exchangers, etc. with no great head needed such as to charge a pressure vessel.

(5) The pump and motor involved are a reasonable combination for the duty.  (The flow rates and corresponding required head are well within the normal design capabilities of the pump, AND the motor is NOT significantly oversized.)

(6) The duty cycle involves at least 2000 hours per year (preferably much more).

The above may seem to be an endorsement of a simplistic selection process, but it should only be interpreted as a general guide for perspective.

When condition (2) involves relatively small flows for relatively large portions of the duty cycle, the energy savings provided by a VFD can appear to be quite dramatic, but prudent system evaluation should take other options into consideration.  For example, two (or more) pumps operating in parallel (operating individually or in combination) may actually be able provide better cost and energy saving benefits.

Pumpedup, the simple answer to your question is that there is no simple answer.  The implementation of a VFD in a system can provide astounding savings (pay back in under a year may be possible).  Conversely, a VFD installation can cost far more than any potential energy savings, and in the case of really poor choices, VFD induced energy burdens may result in a net increase in energy usage.

Another caution to be considered is to pay attention to the range of speeds involved.  Care must be taken to avoid operation at frequencies where harmonic effects can be troublesome.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

All good replys. In the lines of ccfowler's 4th point, if the static discharge head is substantial when compared to the frictional losses (for ex. multi storeyed buildings) VSD is not a good option. If the flow rate is continuously 50% then better go for a change in pump.

Regards,

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

2
pumpedup

I work for a company in the oilfield that provides both pumps and VSDs, i would challenge the statement made by the vendor.  Bob's points are very well made.

d23 and I work for competing companies and I am much more comfortable with drives than he is.  The fact that the VSD adds heat to the motor is undeniable, but in the applications he and I specialise in this is already designed into our motors.

Many of the issues that he raises can be addressed by proper set up of the converter firing angle in drives with a controlled front end as opposed to simple diode bridge front ends.

But having said all that, like any engineered product, they have their advantages and limitations.  They should not be looked upon as a panacea nor discarded because of a lack if understanding of them.  Any good engineer will investigate the advantages they bring and weigh this up against the cost.  We may be engineers, but these days we all get to be accountants too!


dadfap

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Rule of thumb: For centrifugal loads, 10% reduction in speed results in a 20% reduction in power demand.  See centrifugal affinity laws.

CB2

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

There is one control system benefit of VSD. As the discharge control valve (level control or flow control) will have reduced throttling duty , the life of the valve improves due to lower cavitation and wear. Also the control valve can operate within good controllable range.

goutamiam

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

goutamiam

I not trying to be smart, but if I paid X amount for a drive I would expect the system to operate without a control valve.  If I'm operating a control valve then I wouldn't want a VSD.

With my limited amount of industrial experience I’ve found that with two separate control systems, one electrical and one mechanical, operating on one system it is next to impossible to prevent nuisance oscillations on the system.  When you need less pressure or flow both devices attempt to control the system usually causing fluid oscillations.  

David

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

d23,

You are absolutely right about the matter of duelling control systems, but sometimes the control valve is left in place in retrofit VSD installations.  This is done to provide a redundant control system in case of a problem with the VSD.  The normal operating mode is with the control valve stroked full-open and the VSD system in full control of the system.  This arrangement necessarily involves additional fluid friction losses introduced by the control valve, so savings are necessarily compromised.

I agree with your general suspicion of VSD's.  There is way too much of a fad involved in specifying them now.  (Just notice how commonly they are simply presumed to be the answer to any and all problems--possibly including bad breath and dandruff.)

The various "electrical noise" and motor heating problems associated with the various adjustable frequency types of drives can eat up much of the expected savings unless they are fully and properly addressed from the very beginning.  Because of this, it is usually wise to consider the eddy current types of VSD's.  They avoid all the electrical problems of adjustable frequency drives, usually without much net relative energy penalty.

In thoroughly considered and properly designed systems, VSD's can provide excellent control and substantial savings.  They should always be given due consideration whenever their use can be of benefit.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

The efficiency of the eddy current type (magnadrive.com) is great at high speed but horrible at low speed.

Efficiency of the magnadrive itself decreases in proportion to speed.  At 90% speed it's 90% efficient. At 50% speed it's 50% efficient.  Could be a big problem if the machine spends most of its time at low speed.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Hi d23,

I am sorry that I did not mention the specific application of the concept in my earlier post. Actually these two controls are seen(VSD and control valves) in power plant boiler feed pumps (bigger capacities). The control of drum level is critical and in case of sudden change in levels the quick acting feed control valves operate to control the level. Subsequently the VSD will change the speed such that the pressure drop across the feed control valve is approximately constant. By making the feed control valve pressure drop approximately constant we are preventing larger pressure drop across the feed control valve at lower flows which results in large energy savinge in many cases.

Thanks,

goutamiam

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

A few gripes about the typical VSD discussions.

Few people ever mention the natural reduction in current that inductive motors experience when coupled to centrifugal pumps.  This reduction in current requires no fancy expensive equipment, and works good when flows are 75% - 100% of BEP on pure centrifugal pumps.  Power saving for free with no attention required.  Throttling valves in that 75%-100% range do not waste power.

Few people ever get into the high costs associated with drives.  Initial purchase costs are high especially when surge protection/ line reactors are included, higher set up costs, exposure to potential replacement costs that are unexpected.  Also, regionally there are places where drives are a nightmare because of all the electrical surges from lightning: Central-South Florida, Texas Gulf Coast, and a few other places are big VSD destroyers. I have seen abandoned VSDs hanging on walls replaced by Across the Line stuff in desperation as the money ran out replacing VSDs.

Trusting VSD guys to give the straight scoop on cost savings is just a little like the fox watching the chicken coop if you ask me.  Some salesmen have good morals, but many do not and figure it is your problem while they put out the dope.

I have a magazine article that followed a complete change over to VSDs in Venezuela oil field.  Immense savings were available so that it had to be done.  Savings not fully realized as they continue to replace drives from electrical surges.  Project paid off in dollars, but aggravation factor makes it about even.  Two experts brought in from the States to install protection.  Nothing has worked so far.  Money is being saved, but there are problems.

We do drives, but it is hard to analyze stuff because of all the hype.

Want a rule of thumb I read?  When comparing VSD to straight centrifugal pump ACL, if the pump can be run at less than 50% for 50% of the time, begin looking at VSD alternative.

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

(OP)
Since I don't want to trust "the fox watching the chicken coop" let me run these potential disadvantages/ facts by you:
- Harmonic current introduced into the motor windings causing a 5% nominal motor heating.
- Real power is reduced as a result of harmonics created by the VSD which might cause the power factor to decline between 0.75-.8
- Starting torque is lowered to 130% of the rated full-load torque (which is significantly less than what the motor could deliver otherwise).
- Pump should have a service factor of 1.15 for VSD implementation


I didn't receive any of these facts for the sales people, I got them from misc readings.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

guys

at great personal risk I need to admit that I am comfortable with drives and I do sell them.  (OUCH....)

Ok, I agaree with many of the comments made by you all regarding the negatives of the VSD and as I said in my previous post, they should NEVER be considered a panacea and in many applications the overall picture needs to be looked at.  Additionally, I know that I am still ethical enough not to try and snow my customers, I also get to deal with them face to face on a daily basis if they go wrong!, not cut and run.

Here are some of the reasons I like drives and many of them pertain specifically to the industry in which I work and sell to.

1.  Reduction in inventory carrying costs for the end user, they can "make" systems fit wells in their fields
2.  Many applications can be on a stand alone generator and the VSD has the added advantage of the soft start capability reducing the expenditure on the engine
3.  My applications tend to be very dynamic, well bores with gas slugs, water breakthrough etc and the VSD can be set up by competent technicians to allow the motor to be either sped up or slowed down to maintain FLA and thus protect the equipment.
4.  The costs of replacing the "incorrectly" specified pump often outweigh many of the issues raised above.  And before anyone takes me to task about inability to size a pump, remember that we get all of the info needed to size the pump from the end user and as d23 can attest, their info is not always the best
5.  The enhanced motor protection provided by way of current limits, the ability to alter the speed of the unit to accomodate changing operating conditions etc can factor heavily in the operator's decision to purchase a VSD
6.  The VSD with which I deal is rated at 55C, NEMA3r and as such often finds itself in remote, dusty and downright hostile environments, yet with a correctly sized and set up drives, we have a component MTBF of almost 2.6 years
7.  Many of my customers like them because they can install smaller equipment and run it faster.  Savings are therefor realised in capital expenditure of the expensive submersible pump, the payback is quicker and we still get decent runlives even running equipment at 80Hz.
8.  On a personal note, I despise choke valves, they allow lazy engineering and mean that often "wasted" horsepower is installed

As I said in my previous post, we often get to be accountants as well as engineers and it is incumbent upon us to do a damn good job of evaluating the possibilities of all systems available to us.

looking forward to your responses.

dadfap

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Dadfap, I used to install and troubleshoot your brand of equipment for the same company you work for. These were almost all used in oil wells or water wells. I agree with your comments. On a new well, especially, a drive can save lots of dollars. The best estimates for well production are often incorrect and the drive allows the well to be optimized for production eliminating the need to pull the motor/pump/seal by a workover rig that costs $500/hr plus. If a well proves to have a repeatable production rate, then when the motor or cable or whatever needs to be reworked then maybe a switchboard should be installed with the properly sized motor/pump. Besides, when you work in the oil industry, money is not that big of a deal but production is.  

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

As all the previous comments suggest, VSD's are not the answer for everyone. If you are using throttling devices on pumped liquids or damper control for air movements and theses devices are continually varied to change output then yes VSD's may provide some good energy savings, and cut down on pipework shock/damage etc.

If, however, you continually run your plant at 50% speed then you should think about changing your motor to a lower speed variety.

By removing throttling devices from systems and allowing the VSD to match demand to output I have measured my own systems and found that the manufacturers figures are accurate.
At 100 speed power = 100%.
At 80% speed power = 50%.
At 50% speed power = 13%.

% speed cubed = power is the rule of thumb I have seen quoted on many occassions.

The pump experts will have more knowledge than I do and I will happily stand corrected.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Just another "little" thought.
I have seen where those making the decisions to spend the big bucks on VSDs will spend the rest of their lives if necessary to prove their decision was correct.  They are the only ones who could tell us if they thought the VSD was a good buy, but they will not give us that information accurately just because they must defend the money they lobbied for and obtained at a risk to their own career.

My biggest need is for unbiased information.  Are there are University sponsored studies or research that results in usable information?  I have looked hard and long and have found little to none as far as really useable stuff.

dadfap - You like most of the guys commenting seem reasonable enough and I could enjoy working with you.  But I do have one comment about "choke" valves.  That is not an accurate or correct word to use.  It reveals a lack of appreciation for the true beauty of centrifugal pumps and incuctive motors.  They do not have to be run at BEP to be highly efficient machines that are very easy to use, simple, cheap, and better whenever they are used correctly because they are a simple and beautiful thing.  Run a centrifugal at 10, 15%, 20% under BEP with a "choke" valve and just sit back and enjoy the savings, highly efficient and very simple compared to a VSD.

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

I'm jumping into the fray on this a bit late, but here is my 2 cents worth.

Like Dadflap, I too sell VFDs. I cannot speak for the entire industry but there are some general misconceptions throughout the above posts that I feel need clearing. I have read many other posts from d23 and Pumpdesigner and respect your opinions, but it appears to me that you have passionate feelings about this issue, possibly created by inexperienced or unscrupulous vendors. This is most unfortunate but, I admit, all too common in our industry. Regrettably there is no equivalent of an engineering license, journeyman card or operating permit for the sales profession. If there were, there would be a lot less salesmen  P-)

1) Most if not all payback calculation programs DO in fact take the normal energy savings of a throttled system into account. True, many vendors who use them do not understand this, but it is done in the algorithms nonetheless. The same holds true for initial cost analysis. In the instructions we are specifically charged with including all aspects of the installed cost, including labor and harmonic mitigation. Do some vendors selectively leave that out in order to make their case more spectacular? Absolutely. Do buyers have a responsibility to protect themselves from said vendors by reviewing the accuracy of the statements? I think this question predates VFDs by a few thousand years. The Romans used the term Caveat Emptor!.

2) While true that as speed goes down, efficiency goes down and heat loss (rate) goes up, this is relative to the fact that energy consumption went down drastically at the same time. To use the early example of 50% speed, energy consumed at that speed went down to 12.5% of that consumed at full speed. So even though throughput efficiency dropped to 95%, that is 95% of the 12.5%, not 95% of the 100%! The same holds true for heating effects as well. The motor is getting more heat PER UNIT OF POWER CONSUMED, but that number just went down drastically so the net efect is that at 50% speed, the motor is seeing less heat than at 100% speed with a throttling valve. Drive losses, same issue.

I think ccfowler summed it up very well in his first response and I voted him a star. VFDs do not work in every application and in fact, I sell quite a few Soft Starts for that very reason.  That does not mean that we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Energy savings are real and proven, but only when the application alows VFDs to be used at their fullest potential. If you apply them just because a salesman told them to, you get what you desrve.

Final thought: As our friend the Rooster would say, "Just because the fox isn't in the henhouse it doesn't mean the hens are going to be left in peace.... Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!"

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

jraef - I agree with your statements absolutely.  There are very honest foxes that will protect the chickens, in other words the analogy is useless when a good salesman is on hand presenting accurate information.

I am not generally negative because of a bad experience in a job.  Fortunately, by the time drives came along in the late '80s I was already seasoned enough to be careful.  I have never been hurt on a VSD job and our general experience has been excellent.  The last years we have been using the GE AF300 without a single problem.

My general negativity probably comes from two factors:
1. Still too much overall ignorance in this issue, partly because full studies have not been done that fully deal with replacement costs, maintenance issues, etc.

2. The largest problem I have is in the irrigation industry.  I can see that VSDs have great use in many industries, but very little value in the irrigation industry.  And yet I have to face that issue in the irrigation industry constantly.  The nature of irrigation pump and system design is to maximize use of the pump and water the turf/crop as fast as possible.  Generally, most irrigation systems use the pump at full BEP almost all the time.  And yet many pump station manufacturers promote VSDs like they were the only thing any sensible person would use.

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

PUMDESIGNER,
Too bad about the irrigation industry. That has been a powerhouse market for soft starters for the exact reasons that you mention. The only viable application issue that I have seen is matching recovery rates on wells in areas where the water table fluctuates greatly. That is only a handfull of places though. With as many times as I have seen pump panel fuses replaced with pieces of pipe, I shudder to think of a farm worker having to troubleshoot a VFD that has been baking in the hot sun for months.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati - Even though I took Latin in High School, I am very lazy and do not feel like looking it up.  What does your sign off mean?
Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

pumpdesigner

I use the term "choke valve" simply because it is an standard term for the oil industry.

The main reason that I don't like them is that where the dynamics of either the well bore or the surface manifold, piping, process plant or seperator dictate a reduction in flow for extended periods of time (months in many cases) I hate the thought of the wasted horsepower that has been installed.

all the best

dadfap

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

dadfap - I understand exactly what you are looking at.  I think that is why VSDs have such a good potential in the oil industry, if only they would last longer, like 20 years without failing, you know, sort of rock solid pieces of iron.  I had a former engineer with Pratt and Whitney tell me that in his and others opinions solid state equipment will never achieve that reliability.

I thought it wise to also comment more accurately as to where much of the baloney comes from.  Most of what I have seen comes not from the actual drive manufacturers, but the OEMs that market their stuff with the drives.

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

pumpdesigner

problem with many people who market drives is that they lack the understanding of many of the applications.

problem with many people in the pump industry who sell pumps and drives is that they don't understand drives.

oh and on 20 years, give me enough money to design one and get me people who are willing to pay for them once they are designed and I can possibly do it.  the other problem with wanting 20 years out of electronics is the dinosaur problem, one small change to the electronics industry and they are obsolete.

all the best

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

dadfap - I agree with that obsolete concept, sort of stops us in our tracks about building too good at too high a cost.  I wonder however if that paradigm will ever change?  When paradigms do change the change is slow and often catches us off guard.

PUMPDESIGNER

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

PUMPDESIGNER

"When the going gets tough, play dead!

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Long life from electronic components is possible but not with the all-to-common cheapest possible alternative equipment selections.  Use of all "Mil-Spec" components despite their greater cost is almost always necessary in industrial settings to deal with conditions that are likely to be encountered intermittently, if not continually (high or low ambient temperature, abnormally high voltages, etc.).

Beyond this, generous protection provisions for voltage spikes, high temperatures, hostile ambient materials (corrosive fumes, etc.) are important in assuring a long life for electronic components.

In cases where VSD's can provide significant economic or operational advantages, the cost of a durab VSD and suitable additional provisions is likely to be

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

Sorry about the dandy little key stroke error that provided my incomplete entry above!

In cases where VSD's can provide significant economic or operational advantages, the cost of a durable VSD and suitable additional provisions is likely to be relatively trivial in comparison to the benefits that it can provide.  If relatively powerful advantages are not available from the installation of a VSD, it is probably best to avoid installing one.

RE: ASD savings based on pump motor loading??

ccfowler - I like the way you put that:
"If relatively powerful advantages are not available from the installation of a VSD, it is probably best to avoid installing one."

If all providers of the VSDs (especially OEMs), would use that approach and speak that way then this discussion would never have taken place and I would have no gripes.

PUMPDESIGNER

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