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European Commission announces motor and power converter efficiency directive regulation

  • December 2018
  • Number of views: 3793
  • Article rating: No rating

Rob Boteler
Confluence Energy LLC

On October 22, the European Commission submitted its plan to expand motor and power converter efficiency regulations. As part of the EcoDesign directive, the Commission has been working on expanded motor and drive regulations for several years. The European Union directive will address both motors and variable frequency drives (VFDs) from .75 to 1,000 kW (1 to 1340 hp).

Efficiency directives in Europe are drafted by the Commission with individual countries responsible for enforcement. Unlike the USA where the regulation is promulgated and enforced at the federal level through the Department of Energy, each country within the EU has enforcement responsibility. Though some complain that the DOE rule making process is very lengthy and stressful, it does provide all interested parties with an opportunity to be heard. The EU Commission also has a process for the development of regulations, and many would argue that the manufacturers are somewhat less of an integral part of the EU process.  

The directive that will cover the new EU motor and power converter regulations is referred to as the “annex EN.” It has yet to receive its reference number. EC640/209, the current directive, will be replaced. 

Covered motor products
Beginning January 15, 2021, the energy efficiency of three-phase motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.75 kW (1 hp), and equal to or below 1,000 kW (1340 hp), with 2, 4 or 6 poles, which are not brake motors, increased safety motors, or other explosion-protected motors, shall correspond to at least the IE3 efficiency level. This should align with NEMA Premium 50 Hz.

Beginning July 1, 2022, the energy efficiency of three-phase motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.12 kW (0.16 hp) and below 0.75 kW (1 hp), single-phase motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.12 kW (0.16 hp), and increased safety motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.12 kW (0.16 hp) and equal to or below 1,000 kW (1,340 kW) shall correspond to at least the IE2 efficiency level.

Also, the energy efficiency of three-phase motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.75 kW (1 hp) and equal to or below 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) with 2, 4, 6 or 8 poles, that are not increased safety motors, shall correspond to at least the IE3 efficiency level. 

The directive includes AC motors that NEMA would describe as special or definite purpose, making this new regulation quite broad in the range of covered products. The EU directive does include motors that cannot be tested with the addition of a temporary endshield. 

The directive will not include air over (AO), totally encloseTENV, high ambient (60° C), high altitude (4,000 meters [13,000 feet]), low ambient (-40° C) and maximum operating temperature (400° C). Additionally, the directive exempts integral brake motors and integral motors and controls (IMACs). 

The directive does not include technologies other than AC. However, it is not clear if there is any distinction within the single-phase designs (cap start cap run, cap star induction run, etc.).

Covered variable speed drives 
The regulation covers variable speed drives with three phases input that are rated for operating with one motor within the 0.75 kW – 1,000 kW (1 to 1340 hp) motor rated output range, have a rated voltage above 100 V and up to and including 1,000 V AC, and have only one AC voltage output.

Variable speed drive (VSD) means an electronic power converter that continuously adapts the electrical power supplied to the motor to control the motor’s mechanical power output according to the torque-speed characteristic of the load driven by the motor, by adjusting the power supply to a variable frequency and voltage supplied to the motor. 

Product information requirements for motors 
According to the regulation, the product information requirements below shall be visibly displayed on the technical data sheet or user manual supplied with the motor; the technical documentation for the purposes of conformity assessment pursuant to Article 5; on websites of the manufacturer of the motor, its authorized representative, or the importer; and the technical data sheet or user manual supplied with products in which the motor is incorporated.

The exact wording used in the following list does not need to be repeated. The information may be displayed using clearly understandable graphs, figures or symbols rather than text: 

  • Rated efficiency (ηN) at the full, 75% and 50% rated load and voltage (UN), determined based on the 50 Hz operation and 25° C ambient reference temperature
  • Efficiency level: “IE2,” “IE3,” “IE4” or “IE5,” as determined as specified in the first section of this annex, followed by the term “-motor” 
  • Manufacturer’s name or trade mark, commercial registration number and address
  • Product’s model identifier
  • Number of poles of the motor
  • The rated power output(s) PN or range of rated power output (kW)
  • The rated input frequency(s) of the motor (Hz)
  • The rated voltage(s) or range of rated voltage (V)
  • The rated speed(s) or range of rated speed (rpm) 
  • Whether single-phase or three-phase
  • Information on the range of operating conditions for which the motor is designed: 
    • altitudes above sea-level
    • minimum and maximum ambient air temperatures including for motors with air cooling
    • water coolant temperature at the inlet to the product, where applicable 
    • maximum operating temperature
    • potentially explosive atmospheres
  • Information relevant for disassembly recycling or disposal at end-of-life; 
  • If the motor is considered exempt from efficiency requirements in accordance with Article 4(2) of this Regulation: the specific reason why it is considered exempt. 

For motors exempt from the efficiency requirements in accordance with Article 4(2)(m) of this regulation, the motor or its packaging and the documentation must clearly indicate, “Motor to be used exclusively as spare part for” and the product(s) for which it is intended.

Efficiency requirements for variable speed drives 
Efficiency requirements for variable speed drives shall apply as follows: the power losses of variable speed drives rated for operating with motors with a rated output equal to or above 0.75 kW (1 hp) and equal to or below 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) shall not exceed the maximum power losses corresponding to the IE2 efficiency level.

This is the first regulation for VSD efficiency. Overall, the directive maintains references to IEC standards for both motors and VSDs that have been developed in collaboration with industry, regulators and energy advocates. Test methods will use IEC 60034, which delivers results similar to IEEE 112 or CSA 390.

The regulation in its entirety may be found at https://bit.ly/2PG0VaD.

The efficiency levels also reference IEC levels IE2 and IE3. Note that the directive includes a reference to IE4 and IE5 levels, which are not scheduled for implementation. Unlike NEMA, IEC has one efficiency table regardless of enclosure type calculated at 1.0 SF. 

One issue that will face motor manufacturers is the smaller size of IEC motors to power ratio. In some cases, this will force motors to jump one frame size. End-users and OEMs buying these higher efficiency motors will need to be cognizant of possible changes to the motor’s size that may cause form, fit and function issues in a specific application.

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