Motors moving to IE codes

Major energy efficiency gains for electric motors

By Janice Blondeau

Electric motor systems are estimated to account for 46% of global electricity use(1). Converting electrical energy to mechanical energy, they rotate pumps, drive compressors, move materials and run fans, blowers, drills or mixers. Electric motors could rightly be called the “workhorses” of industry.

apex drive laboratories high efficiency electric motors
Electric motor systems are estimated to account for 46% of global electricity use

Energy efficiency classes to reduce consumption

For industrial applications alone, it’s estimated that electric motor systems account for approximately 70% of electricity consumption(1). As such huge consumers of electricity, even small improvements can lead to large energy savings.

IE codes drive efficiency

The IEC has put in place energy efficiency classes for electric motors, known as the IE code, which are summarized in IEC International Standard: IEC 60034-30-1:2014. The Standard includes four levels of motor efficiency:

  • IE1 Standard efficiency
  • IE2 High efficiency
  • IE3 Premium efficiency
  • IE4 Super premium efficiency.

Widespread adoption

The IE codes help regulators to determine the minimum efficiency levels for electric motor energy performance in their regulations. The IEC 60034-30-1 classification system has stimulated competition among motor manufacturers and generated massive technology improvements. While IEC International Standards are voluntary, the European Union (EU) and numerous other countries have adopted the IEC classification system.

New rules in the EU from January 2015

In the EU, Directive 640/2009, effective as of January 2015 for motors with a rated output from 7,5-375 kW and from 2017 for motors with a rated output from 0,75-375 kW. This measure, which is generally referred to as EU Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS), is expected to result in energy efficiency improvements of 20% to 30%.

Moves to increase energy efficiency

In the US from 1997 (Energy Policy Act) the minimum required level was set at the equivalent of IE2. In 2007 MEPS were raised to the equivalent of the IE3 level (NEMA Premium).

Australia and New Zealand set MEPS levels for electric motors at IE2 effective since 2001.

In China MEPS for small and medium three-phase asynchronous motors to start with have been in place since 2002 (GB 18693). The standard was updated in 2006, and in 2012 it was harmonized with IEC Standards. At the same time, the MEPS were increased from IE1 to IE2 and now IE3.

Japan has harmonized its national regulations with IEC efficiency classes and has included electric motors at the IE2 and IE3 level in its Toprunner programme in 2014.

India has a comparative efficiency label since 2009 and a voluntary national standard on IE2 level since 2012.

Testing electric motors

The IEC has also developed IEC 60034-2-1:2014 for the testing of electric motors. Many countries use national test standards but at the same time also reference the International Standard IEC 60034-2-1.

1. Paul Waide, Conrad U. Brunner et al.: Energy-Efficiency Policy Opportunities for Electric Motor-Driven Systems, International Energy Agency Working Paper, Paris, 2011.

Gallery
apex drive laboratories high efficiency electric motors Electric motor systems are estimated to account for 46% of global electricity use
energy saving motos As such huge consumers of electricity, even small improvements can lead to large energy savings (Photo: ABB)
energy motors IE codes help regulators to determine the minimum efficiency levels for electric motor energy performance in their regulations