A new commercial refrigeration fan motor called a permanent magnet synchronous motor entered the market last fall. It is being hailed as the greatest breakthrough in motor efficiency in over 50 years.
This groundbreaking technology, developed by Kansas City based QM Power, has been recognized as a “High Impact Technology” by the Department of Energy and is quickly gaining interest and adoption from utilities, grocers, manufacturers and others for its ability to save over 30 to 80 percent of the energy used by other motors.
The benefits of this technology go beyond the potential energy and demand savings impacts for a utility due to its improved power factor. Having a more efficient motor with a higher power factor can provide significant benefit to the grid as a whole.
Such improvements can help utilities maximize their current-carrying capacity, improve voltage to equipment, reduce power line losses, improve the reliability of the equipment , lower electric bills for customers and increase their profits.
SDG&E recently sponsored a study on permanent magnet synchronous motors which found such motors to have significant benefits to utilities.
It is not often that a technology leapfrogs everything else before it, which is one of the reasons why the new motor design is expected to disrupt the commercial refrigeration and HVAC markets in a big way.
With 350 or more refrigeration fan motors in the average grocery/supermarket, the energy savings and power factor benefits to the utility could have significant impacts to help improve the efficiency of the utility distribution system. In California, this technology in grocer applications alone was estimated to save as much as 570 gigawatt-hours per year, with demand reduction of 17.2 megawatts.
Given the consistent and assured energy savings, it is no surprise that major utilities are already looking to replace or supplement their existing incentive programs to encourage such efficiency gains.
It won’t be long before and end users begin demanding the motor in all new OEM equipment, wholesalers and distributors start stocking supply for service contractors, and utilities and regulatory bodies increase their minimum efficiency requirements to meet new higher standards.
P.J. Piper is co-founder and chief executive of QM Power.