Energy efficiency is one of the most critical aspects in industries as it directly impacts the overall output and the bottom line of the business. One factor that plays a crucial role in deciding the plant’s overall energy efficiency is the operational efficiency of the pumps.
The energy efficiency of pumps is the ratio of the pump’s output power to its input power. The output power is the amount of work that the pump can do, and the input power is the amount of energy that the pump requires to do that work. The higher the energy efficiency of a pump, the less energy it will require to do a given amount of work.
Optimizing the energy efficiency of pumps is important because it can help reduce the operating costs of a pump and will also reduce the environmental impact of a pump. Several factors can affect the energy efficiency of pumps, including their design, their size, and their operating conditions.
Which Factors Affect Pump Energy Efficiency:
1. Fluid Properties: The physical properties of the fluid being pumped significantly affect pump energy efficiency. For example, a highly viscous fluid will require more energy to be pumped than a less viscous fluid.
2. Pump Design: The design of the pump itself can also affect its energy efficiency. For instance, a centrifugal pump will typically be more energy efficient compared to rotary pumps. At the same time positive displacement pumps have high efficiency but that is offset by its higher operation and maintenance cost.
3. Operating Conditions: How a pump is operated can also impact its energy efficiency. For example, operating a pump at higher speeds will typically result in greater energy consumption than operating it at lower speeds. Pump manufacturers design pumps for certain operating conditions and if the pump is not operated in those conditions it would be less energy efficient.
4. Drive System: The drive system used to power the pump can also affect its energy efficiency. For example, a pump powered by an electric motor will typically be more energy efficient than one powered by a gasoline engine.
5. Viscosity: The viscosity of the fluid being pumped significantly affects pump energy efficiency. For example, a highly viscous fluid will require more energy to be pumped than a less viscous fluid.
6. Suction Lift: The height of the suction lift can also affect pump energy efficiency. A higher suction lift will typically result in greater energy consumption than a lower suction lift, as the pump will have to do more to push the fluid.
Now that we have understood the different factors that affect pumps’ energy efficiency let us dive deeper to figure out major and minor points that can help improve the energy efficiency of pumps.
How to Improve Pump Energy Efficiency?
1. Make sure your pump is the right size for your application. Oversized pumps can consume up to 50% more energy than necessary.
2. Avoid operating your pump at low speeds. Pumps are typically most efficient when operated between 70-80% of their maximum speed. For details regarding optimum speeds, you can consult your pump manufacturer.
3. Use a variable frequency drive (VFD) to control the speed of your pump and match it to actual demand. This can result in energy efficient pump operation and save on power costs.
4. Select a high-efficiency pump model whenever possible. Newer models are often much more energy-efficient than older ones.
5. Remove any dirt or debris from your pump regularly. This step will help it run more smoothly and efficiently.
6. Lubricate your pump regularly. This will reduce friction and help it run more efficiently.
7. Check the alignment of your pump regularly. Misaligned pumps can cause excessive wear and tear and decrease efficiency.
8. Inspect the seals on your pump regularly. Worn or damaged seals can lead to leaks, decreasing efficiency, and waste energy.
9. Make sure the piping around your pump is the correct size. Too small of piping can restrict flow and cause pressure losses that decrease efficiency.
10. Keep your pump area clean and free of clutter. This step will help ensure proper airflow and cooling, both of which are necessary for energy efficient pump operation.
11. Ensure your pump has proper ventilation. This will help it run cooler and more efficiently. If the pump runs in a high heat environment, explore adding an auxiliary cooling system.
12. Avoid using valves or other fittings that create excessive turbulence in the flow around your pump. This can cause energy losses and decreased efficiency.
13. Use straight, smooth piping wherever possible to minimize turbulence and allow for smooth flow around your pump.
14. Use as few fittings as possible in the piping around your pump. Each fitting creates additional resistance and can decrease efficiency.
15. If you must use fittings, select those that generate the least amount of turbulence. Turbulence can cause significant energy losses in pumps.
16. Ensure all pipes and fittings are adequately supported, so they don’t rub against each other or vibrate excessively because this can lead to wear and tear and decreased efficiency.
17. If needed, use insulation on all piping to minimize heat loss. This will help keep the fluid being pumped at a consistent temperature, resulting in improved energy efficient pump operations.
18. Install your pump in a location that minimizes the need for long runs of pipe. Every foot of pipe adds friction and resistance, which can decrease efficiency.
19. Use larger pipes whenever possible to reduce pressure losses due to friction. This step will help your pump operate more efficiently.
20. Ensure all requisite valves are fully open when your pump operates. Partially open valves create resistance and can decrease efficiency.
Ensuring that your pumps run at the best possible energy efficiency is a continual task. Nevertheless, you can achieve this through preventive and predictive maintenance and by making some minor changes in the overall process.
At the same time, it is imperative that you take care of energy efficiency while pumping procurement itself. Choosing pump manufacturers who have a good track record of energy efficient pumps will be advantageous. A minor drop in the energy efficiency of pumps across the plant can lead to a major cumulative loss to the system. Hence whenever you are procuring new pumps, always keep the energy efficiency of pumps as one of the deciding factors and opt for a reputed pump manufacturer that can provide you with good quality and energy efficient pumps.