K M Pauwels

Energy auditor, Laborelec, Industrial Applications, Belgium

Ths paper focuses on the economic benefits that can be obtained by replacing mechanical flow control of pumps and fans with variable speed drives. Firstly, different topologies of variable speed drives are discussed: rectifier topologies (thyristor, IGBT) as well as the control of invertors with Pulse Width Modulation. A short overview of the advantages for the different topologies is given. The most important restrictions are also mentioned.

A variable speed dnve (VSD) essentially consists of two main parts: rectifier and invertor (fig. 1).

The core of the paper consists of three case studies, which are taken from our energy consulting experience in Belgian industry. Case study 1 discusses VSD installation on the circulation pumps of the electrocoat bath in a car assembly factory. Before, flow was controlled by valve regulation. Installing a variable speed dnve instead generated a yearly saving of 176.400 kWh for one pump. The payback time amounts to approximately 14 months. Case study 2 explains the economic benefits of VSD on lubricated screw compressors. Depending on the load profile, energy savings up to 41 YO can be obtained by applying frequency regulation instead of loadunload regulation. Case study 3 shows the case of a convertor in a stainless steel factory. Two 800 kW fans blow air into the convertor. The air flow is controlled by a valve. Replaclng the valve with a VSD implies a yearly saving of4.188.277 kwh. Fig. 1 - concept o f a VSD

Nowadays, two main topologies are used for medium power rectifier units:


diode rectifiers The rectifjmg unit consists of a diode bridge. This means that .the DC link voltage is fully depending on the AC supply voltage. Some typical characteristics of diode bridges are: - Good power factor: phase shift between voltage and current is very low. - No control needed. - Introduction of line-side harmonics: a diode bridge is a non-linear load. This means that a non-sinusoidal current is taken from the feeding line. Current harmonics cause voltage harmonics. These voltage harmonics can disturb nearby charges.


IGBT rectifiers To eliminate the disadvantages of diode (and thyristor) rectifiers, new solutions are developed.


CIRED2001, 18-21 June 2001, Conference Publication No. 482 0 IEE 2001

Authorized licensed use limited to: Nanyang Technological University. Downloaded on June 11,2010 at 08:28:06 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

2 . Older types of thyristor control (based on switching at zero voltage) can be disturbed. Some features of Active Front Ends are: .3 -Pulse Width Modulation RESTRICTIONS In spite of all the advantages. Nearby capacitor banks can be damaged severely by harmonics.good power factor.25 These solutions are all based on the principle that the diode bridge is substituted by an inverter consisting of IGBT components (Fig. some problems can occur with Variable Speed Drives. Power electronics always take a distorted current from the feeding line. linked by a DC-circuit (Fig.. the capacitor is the only energy storing element. In the DC-circuit.activefiont end Invertor The'invertor uses the DC voltage from the DC bus to create an AC voltage with variable frequency (and amplitude).PWM technology reduces harmonic distortion to a very low level F Fundamental sinewinr. Nowadays. Production of harmonics Fig. motor-side harmonics are also generated. Next to line-side harmonics. Restrictions apply. 1). Transmission line theory tells us that matching impedances for all components are required to reduce reflection as much as possible. Some problems that may occur with lineside harmonics are: Harmonics cause supplementary heating in transformers. Fig. cables.rectifier is controlled by means of Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . Downloaded on June 11. PWM control (Pulse Width Modulation) is widely used for control of the IGBT switches. all invertors are equiped with IGBT (or similar) components..2010 at 08:28:06 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Invertors with IGBT rectifiers are called Active Front End (ME) invertors. the stored energy is low. PWM control consists in rapidly switching on and off the IGBT switches in such a way that pulses with variable width constitute a sinusoidal waveform (Fig. Even with a big capacity. even better then diode rectifier bridge . .4. The problems are all related to a deteriorated power quality. 3).. . This causes line-side current harmonics. Authorized licensed use limited to: Nanyang Technological University. IGBT stands for Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor.. One of the big problems caused by motor-side harmonics is overvoltage: overvoltage appears due to reflections of the voltage waveform at both ends of the transmission cable. . Sensitivity to voltage dips and short interruptions An invertor basically consists of a rectifjmg and an inverting unit. 2). This fastens the aging process.

the flow has to be the same in the two cases. the capacitor in the DC-link is limited to avoid too big inrush currents at switching on. Restrictions apply.8 Hz (nominal frequency = 50 Hz) in order to obtain the required flow rate. the absorbed power amounts to 15 kW. To maintain temperature and concentration of the paint in the bath.2010 at 08:28:06 UTC from IEEE Xplore. the paint is continuously circulated by pumps. For these compressors. none of this solutions guarantees complete protection to short interruptions and voltage dips. the frequency of the drive needed to be set to 34. Furthermore. During the time that the vane is closed. the following parameters have to be measured: CASE STUDY 2: COMPRESSORS LUBRICATED SCREW Introduction In industry. lubricated screw compressors are widely used. 3) Frequency regulation Air flow is regulated by controlling the speed of the electric motor. even when there’s no production.25 Example: the stored energy in a 10 mF capacitor (600 VDC)is Measurement results An ultrasonic flow rate measurement (case of valve regulation) revealed a flow rate of 194 m3/h. To compare the energy consumption for the three methods.4.0005kWh . the power has to be measured. 0’01 . However. Characteristics of the pump Nominal power: 45 kW Nominal flow rate: 280 m3h I ) Loadhnload regulation Air flow is regulated by opening and closing the inlet vane. In the worst case. CASE STUDY 1 : CIRCULATION PUMP Gain . For thls case. three regulation methods exist: 1) flow rate: In order to have a reliable comparison between the two regulation methods.15)kW x 24 h/d x 7 dlw x 50 WJY = 176. 2) Valve regulation Air flow is regulated by a valve that can be put in all positions. The paint is attached to the body work by applying a DC voltage to the body work. In the case of valve regulation. the control of the VSD simply blocks. Measurements -To be able to know the energy saving with Variable Speed Drive. the payback time (investment + installation) amounts to approximately 14 months. The use of VSD thus implies a yearly saving of: (36 . Most important consequence of the low capacity to store energy.is the fact that invertors are very sensitive to short interruptions and voltage dips. Flow regulation is effectuated by means of valves.car assembly factory paints the body works by means of an electrocoat bath. +. In the case of frequency regulation.payback time Short description (of the original set-up) The pump functions continuously during 50 weeks a year. Nowadays. a lot of constructors provide different kinds of techniques that improve this weak point. The measurements were limited to one circulation P-P. the absorbed power amounts to 36 kW. .400 kWWy. measurements were carried out. the motor is running unloaded. Authorized licensed use limited to: Nanyang Technological University. Taking into account the nominal flow rate of 280 m’h. ‘Oo2 L = 1800J = 0. 2) Power: for the two regulation methods. Downloaded on June 11.

6 -profile C These profiles have been simulated by using control valves of different flow rate connected to a compressed air vessel (2000 1). 5 -profile B profiles were simulated during one week. The power of the compressors is 45 kW.3 profiles). the three load Weekly profi (Sundi to Saturday) Fig. . The control was made by PLC (fig. 4 --profile A 120 1 ! I I ' I I' Fig. 4) 2) profile B: compressed air consumption all day. not during weekends (fig. -mo. Downloaded on June 11. Load profiles Each of the compressors has been tested for three different load profiles: Weekly profile (Sunday to Saturday) 1) profile A: compressed air consumption all day. each with a different flow regulation. 5) 3) profile C: compressed air consumption during working hours (5 am to 20 pm).25 To do so.2010 at 08:28:06 UTC from IEEE Xplore. 6 ) Fig. Authorized licensed use limited to: Nanyang Technological University. not during weekends (fig. . Restrictions apply. The power (1/4 h average) was measured and registered for each of the 9 situations.t i l l i l l weekly profile (Sunday to Saturday) Fig. This makes a total measuring time of 9 weeks (3 compressors .4. 7 -picture of the vessel + valves Measurements For each of the three compressors. three compressors of the same installed power were taken from one constructor. even during weekends (fig.7).

9 % up to 8. 9) gives a yearly saving of 4. Depending on the load profile. Line-side as well as motor-side harmonics are created. air is blown into the convertor to oxidise the carbon. The air flow isregulated by valves. Invertor technology is improving continuously: more performant components in combination with more performant control increase accuracy and speed of control. a valve regulation gives a saving from 3.l YOin comparison with loadunload regulation. . a variable speed drive gives a saving from 15.4. Software simulation Simulation on software (fig. Including the estimated installation cost. the position of the valve of 1 fan was registered. The three case studies taken from industry show clearly that installing variable speed drives generates important energy savings. 8 . The opening of the valve appeared to be 60 % on average. The average saving amounts to 8. Downloaded on June 11.7 % up to 41. P m IS E 8 io .software simulation 800 kWfan A large stainless steel manufacturer uses an AC arc furnace to melt the steel. Results Figure 8 gives an overview of the obtained results: 0 Depending on the load profile. The average saving amounts to 37. especially in relation with deteriorated power quality. the payback time comes to 14 months.277 kWh (for one fan).2010 at 08:28:06 UTC from IEEE Xplore.188. The molten steel goes from the arc furnace in a convertor to reduce the percentage of carbon.overview savings CASE STUDY 3 Introduction Fig 9 . Authorized licensed use limited to: Nanyang Technological University.8 YO in comparison with loadunload regulation. Screw compressors.s :o F5 profile A profile B profile C average Fig.2 %. Restrictions apply. and reduces current harmonics.000 euro. However. U 0 c ) $ 46 ' $ 0 g * c '5 Taking into account an investment of 105. CONCLUSIONS Essentially. invertors are in the mean time very sensitive to short interruptions or voltage dips. centrifugal pumps and fans with mechanical flow regulation are especially suited for variable speed regulation.25 Measurements During one week. one has to be aware of the fact that electronic speed regulation also implies some restrictions. the payback time amounts to 8 months. Two 800 kW fans blow the air into the convertor.l %.

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