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Motor and Drive Energy Performance Rules Set to Change

Motor and Drive Energy Performance Rules Set to Change

From July 2021, the latest Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 applies to low-voltage induction electric motors rated up to 1,000 V AC and, for the first time, to variable speed drives. ABB’s Rich Gee explains the new energy performance requirements.

Many projects, particularly those in hazardous environments, can have a long lead time, often taking many months to move from planning phase to implementation. It is critical, therefore, to be aware of a significant change on 1st July 2021 in which new regulations will now encompass a range of motor types that were previously excluded from earlier efficiency regulations. Failure to embrace these changes now could prove costly for any project currently under design and build.

From this date onwards, IE3 efficiency levels are mandatory for:

  • motors with rated output from 0.75 to 1,000 kW
  • three-phase single speed motors 50 Hz, 60 Hz, 50/60 Hz up to 1,000 V
  • safe area and motors for Ex t, Ex ec, Ex d and Ex de rated for S1, S3 > 80%, S6 > 80% duty
  • Totally Enclosed, Air Over (TEAO) motors
  • brake motors with external brake

IE2 efficiency will be required for three-phase motors from 0.12 kW and below 0.75 kW.

This is the latest on a roadmap of efficiency improvements to motors – and now variable speed drives – that started over a decade ago. EU member countries agreed the more demanding requirements in the new regulation EU 2019/1781 repealing and replacing Regulation 640/2009. The earlier regulation allowed an IE2 motor to be used with a VSD. However, as from 1st July 2021, this ceases to be an option.

Regarding VSDs, the earlier regulation stipulated no efficiency requirements. This has now changed. From 1st July 2021, three-phase standard drives (diode rectifier) from 0.12 kW to 1,000 kW are included. For low voltage VSDs, the following are excluded from the regulation: regenerative drives, low-harmonic drives (THD < 10%), multiple AC-output drives and single-phase drives. Several other drive types are also excluded including MV drives, DC drives and traction drives.

Meanwhile, 1st July 2023 will see additions to the first step described here. From 2023, IE4 will become mandatory for safe area three-phase motors with 2, 4, or 6 poles between 75-200 kW. The coverage is also extended to Ex eb motors and single-phase motors. But more about that nearer the time.

In the meantime, manufacturers like ABB are ahead of the curve, already offering comprehensive motor portfolios that comply with the new requirements, including motor types that are exempt in the current regulation like Ex motors, TEAO motors and motors for the 60 Hz network. Furthermore, all major drive products can also be confirmed as compliant, with product documentation and manuals being updated to reflect this.

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