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How can you reduce the energy consumption of motor-driven pumps? Part 1

The amount of energy consumed in the US to transmit, treat, store and distribute water is staggering. A few years ago, water and wastewater services’ yearly consumption was estimated to be about 60 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). Due to population growth and demographics, this figure is destined to increase. It is also estimated that, from source to tap, it takes about 1,500 kWh for every million gallons of drinking water. The kWh usage for treatment, distribution, and storage are significant. To move water, pumping systems are required and motor-driven pumps present the highest cost for electricity for water utilities.

Gaining an insight about energy consumption can lead you to implement energy-efficient practices that can reduce consumption and save on electricity costs. The best way to find where you can save is by doing a holistic approach analysis of your energy equipment at your facility. The EPA offers methods on how to complete an energy audit to establish your benchmark. If you find yourself lacking the resources to research this, a good place to start is with your pumping systems. When looking at your pumping systems, you will find that by implementing a routine, tangible savings will be possible.

How much energy does your plant use?

In many plants, pumps run as often as or even longer than any other equipment at a facility. Almost 30 percent of the energy utilized by motor-driven equipment is used to operate pumps. It costs a lot of money to move water. Thus, energy consumption reduction goals can start by reducing the number of hours pumping systems operate.

How do you reduce high energy consumption of motor-driven pumps in the water and wastewater treatment sector?

As mentioned above, electrical energy consumption in water treatment and distribution accounts for a major expense at water utility plants. In fact, it’s so high that it ranks second to payroll at some plants. Thus, any manager who wants to improve the bottom line can evaluate when the most economical time to run pumps for full cycles is, and reschedule their off and on setpoints to reduce energy use. This has to make sense to his or her operation; making sure that any new economy pumping routine schedule does not interfere with the overall water management process. An extra benefit to consider is that the less energy is used, the less greenhouse gases are produced. In some cases, this too can be part of a mandate or regulation, which could represent a double win.

What is economy pumping?

Water utilities and water treatment plants are often subject to peak pricing schedules or variable rates set by electricity suppliers. Economy pumping deals with the reduction of electricity costs associated with motor driven pumps by reducing the number of hours pumps run during high rate periods. Some advanced ultrasonic level controllers <link> have software that supports energy-saving algorithms with a real-time clock that include daylight savings capabilities. You can configure the controller’s pumping routines to run pumps during the times electricity costs less, so that you continually save throughout the year.

To learn more about economy pumping, listen to my webinar!

On my next blog, I will cover what it takes to set-up a controller for energy savings, their return in investment and other benefits.

Have you estimated the yearly costs of electricity of your motor driven pumps?