Blueflux motors on

Whenever you need to move a liquid without having gravity on your side you need a pump to do it. So it should then not come as a great surprise that it is estimated that pumps use 10% of the global electrical power. In the EU, motors in general, consume 30% of all the EU electricity used and 20% of these motors drive pumps.

So regardless of how you look at it the saving potential that pumps and their motors offer us is staggering – especially as we know that 90% of pumps currently in the installed base could be more efficient and that two thirds of all pumps could save up to 60% energy with a variable frequency drive.

In terms of the EU installed pump base, there are an incredible 110 million pumps in the professional sector alone. This means that the potential for monetary and emissions savings is enormous as we know that pump motors use 259TWh a year of which 46TWh is used in the tertiary sectors, 50TWh by pumps in the domestic sector and an incredible 163 TWh is used by pumps in industry.

To put this in some sort of perspective, let’s look at the saving potential of motors in comparison with more traditionally recognised energy saving equipment in figure 1. This saving of 135TWh is actually the equivalent of Sweden’s annual electricity consumption.

Address the problem

The latest EU Directive is attempting to address this by specifying binding eco-design requirements for electric motors. The legislation is being introduced in three stages starting in 2011, when all motors must meet the IE2 high efficiency standard and all motors below this rating will be prohibited.

From 1 January 1 2015 all 7.5kW to 375kW motors must meet the IE3 standard or meet the IE2 standard and be equipped with a variable frequency drive (VFD). And in the last stage of the directive, which comes into effect in 2017, all 0.75kW to 375kW norm motors must meet the IE3 standard – or meet the IE2 standard and be equipped with a variable frequency drive (VFD). The Directive’s overall aim is to reduce the EU’s total electricity consumption by 5% a year.

The new classification ratings are as follows:

• IE1 = Standard efficiency (comparable to current EFF2 standard)

• IE2 = High efficiency (comparable to current EFF1 standard)

• IE3 = Premium efficiency (new standard)

At Grundfos we produce 16 million pump units annually and are very conscious of the far-reaching consequences that go hand-in-hand with this responsibility, which is why we have continued to invest so heavily in producing high efficiency motors. This is not just something that we have been focusing on recently, as since 2001, Grundfos has been helping to save money and energy by supplying the market with 260,000 high efficiency motors each year.

This is important as energy generally accounts for 85% of a pump’s overall life cycle costs and without precisely the right motor, even the best pump will fail to perform optimally. This is why at Grundfos the decision was taken to develop an in-house range of motor technology solutions specifically designed to drive pumps.


The next generation of Grundfos motors are called Blueflux. This registered trademark evolved through combining the words Blue, which is a well-known term in the market for high-performance technologies and Flux which is a technical term used with regard to the magnetisation of the rotor and stator within a motor.

What this means is that this new generation of motor technology now enables pump operators to further optimise the energy consumption of their pumps by up to 60% and cut out needless waste which means that they already meet IE3 premium efficiency standard now.

So what makes Blueflux motors better? This technology represents the best from Grundfos within energy efficient motors and variable frequency drives (MG motors, MGE motors and CUE drives). Grundfos Blueflux solutions either meet or exceed legislative requirements and many models are available now, with the rest being launched periodically throughout 2011. The complete Grundfos Blueflux range will be available by January 2012.

New generation

This new generation of motors benefit from a complete holistic approach having been taken to both the individual parts as well as the dynamics between all the various elements of their design. This means that motors and VFDs are designed to interact perfectly with each other, this in turn ensures greater efficiency, reliability and improved operational control.

All aspects of the motor have been designed to minimise energy loss as well as to improve performance and reliability. So these motors use less energy, have a lower operating temperature than standard motor solutions and can run efficiently across a wide temperature range. Operating at lower temperatures also means less wear and tear and by default a lower service requirement.

Grundfos CR is the first of many pump series that has already been added to the Grundfos Blueflux range. These Grundfos CRs are available in hundreds of pressure-sizes, four basic materials (including titanium) and provide over one million possible configurations. You can get exactly the pump you need without having to give up the advantages of an off-the-shelf, standard solution. This is excellent news as these work-horses are used in a wide range of applications including packaged booster set solutions.

Switching to high efficiency motor technology can mean a life cycle reduction of up to 50% – and while high efficiency motors can initially cost a little more, the payback period is often within two years and can be even less on larger applications. This point was proven by a recent commissioned IPF Research Programme entitled Costing Energy Efficiency Improvements in Existing Commercial Buildings which found that: “Replacing fixed speed pumps with variable speed pumps is the most cost effective opportunity for offices as part of a refurbishment scenario………….the electricity saved by using variable speed pumps will pay for the capital cost after year one and give an IRR of over 100%”. And this statement was made before the benefits of introducing Blueflux motors were known.

Grundfos Blueflux technology marks an important point within motor engineering evolution and represents the ongoing commitment Grundfos has made to only offer our customers the best energy solutions.

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