Since the late 1800s, AC electrical motors have slowly replaced DC motors as the preferred choice for low and medium voltage applications. At first, AC motors came with their own set of problems, which seemed largely insurmountable until the 1980s. With the invention of variable frequency drive technology, however, AC motors experienced a surge in popularity within a large number of industries, from applications in factories and mining settings to use in small appliances. In recent years, the variable frequency drive has also become well-known for its ability to improve energy efficiency in a variety of ways.
Reducing Energy Consumption
Variable frequency drives, also known as variable speed drives, adjustable speed drives, AC drives, or inverter drives, can keep energy costs low in mechanisms that require regular variations in speed, torque, or acceleration. They allow users to change the abilities of the motor to suit different purposes. This has particular benefits for increasing the lifespan of the motor and the equipment that it drives, and keeping energy consumption as low as possible for different applications.
The US Department of Energy estimates that 60% or more of the nation’s electric energy use can be attributed to electric motors. Currently, less than 5% of those motors use variable frequency drives, despite their known energy reduction benefits. Switching to AC motors that use variable frequency drives has the potential to save nearly 20% of the energy that is currently being used for AC electric motors.
Improving Motor Starting and Functioning
In applications that may change speed or torque frequently, a variable frequency drive is more effective than soft starters in reducing the amount of energy needed to start the machinery. They can bring a motor up to full speed using less than 200% of full load amps, rather than the 350% used by many soft starters or 600% required to start most motors without soft starters.
Improving Renewable Energy Equipment
One of the most promising uses of variable frequency drives is their ability to act as an inverter for renewable energy equipment, such as wind turbines and solar panels. They receive a fluctuating input from the mechanism and put out a fixed voltage for use in generators and even on the power grid. We can hopefully expect to see many advances in green energy technology through the use of variable frequency drives.
Variable Frequency Drives from Five Star Electric
The experts at Five Star Electric can help you choose the Variable Frequency Drive Technology that is best suited to your needs. Contact a qualified Five Star Electric professional to start benefiting from the energy-saving abilities of low and medium voltage variable frequency drives today.
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