Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Variable speed pumping: A guide to successful applications
- Author(s): Tutterow, Vestal
- McKane, Aimee T.
- et al.
Pumping systems account for nearly 20% of the world's energy used by electric motors and 25% to 50% of the total electrical energy usage in certain industrial facilities. Significant opportunities exist to reduce pumping system energy consumption through smart design, retrofitting, and operating practices. In particular, the many pumping applications with variable-duty requirements offer great potential for savings. The savings often go well beyond energy, and may include improved performance, improved reliability, and reduced life cycle costs.Most existing systems requiring flow control make use of bypass lines, throttling valves, or pump speed adjustments. The most efficient of these is pump speed control.When a pump's speed is reduced, less energy is imparted to the fluid and less energy needs to be throttled or bypassed. Speed can be controlled in a number of ways, with the most popular type of variable speed drive (VSD) being the variable frequency drive (VFD). Pump speed adjustment is not appropriate for all pumping systems, however. This overview provides highlights from Variable Speed Pumping A Guide To Successful Applications, which has been developed by Europump and the Hydraulic Institute as a primer and tool to assist plant owners and designers as well as pump, motor,and drive manufacturers and distributors. When the requirements of a pump and system are understood, the user can consult this guide to help determine whether variable speed pumping is the correct choice. The guide is applicable for both new and retrofit installations and contains flowcharts to assist in the selection process.