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DOE Takes Next Step on Energy Efficiency Standards for Industrial Pumps

Green Manufacturer
September/October 2013 - for the online version go HERE.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has taken the next step in establishing first-time energy efficiency standards for industrial and commercial pumps. The agency is in the process of putting together what is called a negotiated rulemaking committee composed of users, manufacturers, and environmentalists who ostensibly hammer out a standard which then flies through the rulemaking process, without any objections.

The DOE previously released a request for information in 2011 and then a framework document last February providing some direction on where it expects to go, in terms of the categories of pumps covered and the kind of metrics that could be used to set new efficiency standards. The pump manufacturers, represented by the Hydraulic Institute, are pressing for "an extended product approach" using an energy efficiency index (EEI) which would take into account the pump, motor, variable speed drive and control and feedback systems. The HI has been working with environmental groups such as the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Alliance to Save Energy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on consensus standards with those efforts focusing on clean water commodity-type pumps. 

However, environmentalists want to expand the types of clean water pumps to include double-suction and circulator pumps. The EU already has a Directive (547, 2012) on efficiency standards  for clean water pumps, and the DOE generally intends to follow it. Charles Llenza, project manager for the rulemaking, says, "We have sort of borrowed from their playbook a little until we get our footing with this rulemaking and  the stakeholders input in the U.S. industry."

The DOE estimates clean water pumps represents about 70 percent of sales by value and 90 percent of  pump energy use. Those pumps can be used for chemicals and other liquids, and the DOE is considering roping "chemical" pumps--to the extent any are used primarily for that end use--into the new standard. But wastewater, slurry, API 610 pumps are outside the purview of this rulemaking.

A major issue will be whether to include variable speed drives (VSDs) in the standard. Greg Towsley, Director, Regulatory and Technical Affairs, Grundfos Pumps Corporation, the Danish concern which claims to be the world's largest pump manufacturer, wants VSDs to be included.  

But Steve Rosenstock, Senior Manager, Energy Solutions, the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, says, "EEI does not support establishing standards or test procedures based on pump performance with a variable speed drive controller. Pumps are used in a variety of applications and not all are a good fit for VSD."