Did you know that pumps account for up to 50% of the total energy used in pumping intensive industries? Pumps are an integral part of many industrial and commercial processes. However, they can also be a major source of energy loss. Improving the energy efficiency of pumps can lead to significant cost savings and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Be wary of oversizing a pump

When it comes to improving energy efficiency, many users think that bigger is better. However, when pumps are concerned, this is not always the case. In fact, oversizing a pump can actually lead to a number of problems, including reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear.

Oversizing a pump can have a number of consequences, all of which can lead to increased energy usage and costs. For example, oversizing a pump can lead to:

  • Reduced efficiency: An oversized pump will have to work harder to achieve the desired flow rate, which leads to increased energy consumption.
  • Increased wear and tear: An oversized pump will also experience increased wear and tear, which can lead to reduced lifespan and increased maintenance costs.
  • Poor performance: An oversized pump might not be able to meet the demands of the application, which can lead to poor performance.

Trim or replace the impeller

As mechanical devices, pumps are constantly subjected to wear and tear. When a pump's impeller becomes damaged or worn, it can cause a significant decrease in the pump's efficiency. In some cases, simply trimming or replacing the impeller can restore the pump to its original level of performance.

To determine if an impeller needs to be trimmed or replaced, it is crucial to first inspect the pump. If the pump is not working as efficiently as it once did, or if it is making more noise than usual, then it is likely that the impeller is damaged. In some cases, damage to the impeller can be caused by debris that has gotten into the pump. If this is the case, then simply removing the debris and cleaning the pump can restore it to its original level of performance.

Use a variable speed drive (VSD)

A VSD is an electronic device that controls the speed of an electric motor by varying the frequency of the power supply. By reducing the speed of the motor, a VSD can save significant amounts of energy.

There are many potential applications for using a VSD to improve energy efficiency in pumps. For example, a VSD can be used to control the flow rate of water in a pipeline or irrigation system. By reducing the flow rate, less energy is required to pump the water through the system. Alternatively, a VSD can be used to control the speed of a pump that is used to circulate water in a cooling system.

Pumps in parallel

Energy efficiency is a top priority for many companies, and one way to improve energy efficiency is to install pumps in parallel. Pumps in parallel can increase the flow of liquid while using less energy, which can lead to significant cost savings.

Pumps in parallel work by dividing the flow of liquid between two or more pumps. This allows each pump to operate at a lower flow rate, which uses less energy. Additionally, when operated in this manner, the risk of cavitation is reduced as there is less chance of one pump being overwhelmed by the flow.

Optimize piping

Piping is often overlooked as a means of optimizing energy efficiency in pumps, but it can have a significant impact. Here are some tips on how to optimize piping for energy efficiency:

  • Use appropriate pipe sizes. Too small of a pipe will create excessive friction and pressure drop, while too large of a pipe will result in wasted energy.
  • Use long radius elbows instead of short radius elbows. Long radius elbows have a lower friction loss than short radius elbows.
  • Use valves wisely. Valves can be used to control flow and pressure, but they can also create significant friction losses. Use valves judiciously to minimize energy losses.

Review the motor

There are many factors that contribute to the efficiency of a motor. The most important factor is the design of the motor itself. The most efficient motors are those that are designed specifically for the application they will be used in. For example, a pump motor should be designed specifically for use with pumps. Other important factors include the manufacturing process, materials used and assembly procedures.

In addition to the design of the motor, the way it is operated also affects its efficiency. For example, a motor that is frequently started and stopped will have a lower efficiency than one that runs continuously. Similarly, a motor that is operated at or near its maximum load will be less efficient than one that operates at partial load most of the time.

Control systems

By installing a control system, operators can more easily manage the energy use of pumps and make sure that they are operating as efficiently as possible. There are a few different things to consider when choosing a control system for pumps.

The first thing to consider for a control system is to decide what type of system is optimal. There are two main types of control systems: on-off and variable speed. On-off control systems turn the pump on or off based on a set schedule or in response to a sensor reading. Variable speed control systems can be used to adjust the speed of the pump based on demand.

Pump wear and maintenance

Pump wear occurs when the pump's internals start to wear down, which can cause the pump to become less efficient. Maintenance, on the other hand, can help keep the pump running at peak efficiency by keeping the internals clean and free of debris.

To avoid any issues, it's important to regularly inspect and maintain your pumps. This includes things like checking for leaks, cleaning the pump's internals and replacing worn parts.

Summary

While there are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of pumps, the eight tips outlined here are a good place to start. Of course, every pump and application is different, so it’s important to consult with an expert before making any irreversible changes. That said, if you’re looking for ways to reduce energy costs — and who isn’t? — then these tips will help get you headed in the right direction.