High-efficiency motors and variable speed drives help cities to cut energy consumption
Energy efficiency plays a vital role in climate change mitigation. As almost all things in this world need motors to operate, improving the efficiency of these motors is critical. With the increasing rate of urbanisation in ASEAN, technologies may help the region address this energy efficiency issue.
Acknowledging the importance of energy-saving, ABB Motion held a roundtable discussing high-efficiency motor systems that could cut global energy consumption by up to 10 per cent. The roundtable featured Morten Wierod, Dr Nuki Agya Utama and R Narayanan.
ABB Motion is the global leader in driving the low-carbon future for industries, cities, infrastructure and transportation. The company offers drives, motors, generators products, and integrated digital powertrain solutions to help industries optimise their energy efficiency and improve their safety and reliability.
High-efficiency motors and drives reduce energy consumption
ABB Motion Business Area President Wierod shared that energy consumption would increase due to growing population and urbanisation and emphasised that it was necessary to consume it sustainably.
“What we will also see is the world goes electric. It is not just in the field of electric transportation, which is one of the critical areas, but it’s everything around us today.
“Therefore, we will see an increase in energy consumption, but at the same time, we would need energy efficiency. With the use of technology, with the high-efficiency motors and variable speed drives, we can do exactly that,” he stated.
Wierod said 45 per cent of the world’s electricity was used to power electric motors in building and industrial applications. Investing to upgrade the equipment used in these systems will yield significant rewards in terms of efficiency and sustainability.
“Using the right technology is critical, so we can reach carbon neutrality and have the right efficiency rates for the future,” he said, adding that another unsung hero in realising energy efficiency would be variable speed drives.
“That’s a power semiconductor device, and I like to call it energy efficiency in a box. It’s what gives the motor running at the correct speed.”
Wierod believed there was a massive opportunity at hand, sometimes forgotten regarding energy efficiency.
“We even have motors that are designed out of the IE5, which is the ultra-high-efficiency motor. Using that new technology, we can have more than 50 per cent lower energy losses.
Highlighting the importance of using the right technology in the climate journey, he said: “The timing is now. We need to act today. My call to action is let’s use the technology of high-efficiency motors and drives available today. You will see some great examples of how that technology is already used in many applications. Together, we can do much more.”
Energy efficiency during ASEAN’s energy transition
With 87 per cent of Southeast Asia’s energy supply coming from fossil fuels, Nuki, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), said its prices could increase significantly.
“Therefore, we need to have both the alternative energy coming from beyond fossil fuels and secondly, the energy efficiency, which is a low hanging fruit, the cheapest way to omit the target of facing increasing of energy demand,” he said.
Nuki then revealed the key strategies for APAEC Phase II: 2021-2025, including Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C). The programme aimed to reduce energy intensity by 32 per cent by 2025 and encourage EE&C efforts, particularly in the transport and industrial sectors.
The outcome-based strategies (OBS) under this programme were aligned with reducing energy intensity in the region while keeping up the economic growth. The five strategies were:
• Expand, harmonise and promote energy efficiency standards and labelling on energy-related products
• Enhance participation of private sector and financial institutions including energy service companies (ESCOs) and clusters for EE&C promotion
• Strengthen sustainability of energy efficiency in buildings
• Pursue energy efficiency in the transport sector
• Advance energy efficiency and energy management in industry
“In the acceleration of energy transition and sustainability, ASEAN will optimise the role of energy efficiency and conservation, market transformation initiatives in favour of energy standard, business model and efficient technologies (and they) will be implemented in buildings, transport and industrial sectors to achieve the target that we have in APAEC.”
He then shared that financing was the most crucial factor in promoting EE&C implementation in the region. Investors backed down from the EE deals while business was thriving in Southeast Asia.
Future-proofing ASEAN megacities through energy efficiency
According to R Narayanan, Senior Vice President, Asia, ABB Motion Business Area, megacities have emerged in Southeast Asia over the last 30 years to become economic powerhouses, innovation centres, and prosperity hubs. However, at the same time, they were the significant consumers of energy, sources of carbon dioxide emissions and parts of the reason for climate change.
“Asia is home to some of the world’s largest megacities. We have three large megacities in Bangkok, Manila, and Jakarta” said Narayanan.
“So, the battle against climate change will be won or lost in the megacities. The cities are the hub of economic growth, and they generate almost 80 per cent of GDP in most countries in Asia. However, at the same time, they also consume 80 per cent of the region’s energy and are responsible for 75 per cent of the carbon emissions.”
He said the cost of the action was enormous, stating that three of 10 countries most affected by climate change were Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Due to climate change, Indonesia might also shift its capital city to Kalimantan (Borneo).
“’Forty-five per cent of energy consumption was done by motors, whether in buildings or industry. That’s where it’s important to have a minimum standard for the efficiency of the motors.
“Most of the regions have a minimum standard as far as efficiency of motors is concerned. However, we only have Singapore in Southeast Asia, which has mandated that we should use minimum IE3 premium efficiency,” added Narayanan.
He then listed some critical areas in megacities to increase energy efficiency:
• Accelerating energy efficiency in buildings
• Decarbonising urban mobility
• Scaling up the food supply and security
• Increasing resilience of water and wastewater infrastructure
He then shared ABB’s success stories regarding energy savings, including the Gresik drinking water project and Metro Manila project.
“At ABB, we keep the world turning while saving energy every day.” — @Green