As part of a concerted effort worldwide to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and the impact of industrial operations on the environment, various regulatory authorities in many countries have introduced, or are planning, legislation to encourage the manufacture and use of higher efficiency motors. This article looks at the development of the premium efficiency standard (IE3) and premium efficiency motors (PEMs) and associated environmental, legal and energy-related topics.
In 1998 the European Committee of Manufacturers of Electrical Machines and Power systems (CEMEP) issued a voluntary agreement of motor manufacturers on efficiency classification, with three efficiency classes:
The term “Premium efficiency” as discussed here relates to a class of motor efficiency. It is thought necessary to introduce this term associated with motors because of forthcoming legislation in the EU, USA and other countries regarding the future mandatory use of premium-efficiency squirrel cage induction type motors in defined equipment.
Several statements have been made regarding motor use and the advantages of using premium-efficiency or higher efficiency motors. These include:
Based on U.S. Department of Energy data, it is estimated that the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) premium-efficiency motor program would save 5.8 terawatts of electricity and prevent the release of nearly 80 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere over the next ten years. This is equivalent to keeping 16 million cars off the road.
Roughly 30 million new electric motors are sold each year for industrial purposes. Some 300 million motors are in use in industry, infrastructure and large buildings. These electric motors are responsible for 40% of global electricity used to drive pumps, fans, compressors and other mechanical traction equipment. Motor technology has evolved over the last few decades. Superior so-called "premium" products are now available, ready to change the market toward energy efficiency and to contribute in lowering greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
With using best practice energy efficiency of electrical motors can be improved by 20% to 30% on average. Most improvements have a pay back time of 1 to below 3 years. This in addition means a big potential impact on reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric motor systems consume large amounts of electrical energy and can provide an opportunity for significant energy savings. Energy represents more than 97 percent of total motor operating costs over the motor’s lifetime. However, the purchase of a new motor often tends to be driven by the price, not the electricity it will consume. Even a small improvement in efficiency could result in significant energy and cost savings. Investing a little more money upfront for a more efficient motor is often paid back in energy savings. Improving energy efficiency reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
The efficiency of an electric motor is defined as the ratio of usable shaft power to electric input power.
ηmot = Pshaft ÷ Pin
ηmot = motor efficiency [%]
Pshaft = shaft Power [kW] ( in USA HP with factor 1.34)
Pin = electrical input from power supply [kW]
The shaft power is transferred to the machine driven; the electric input power is what is metered and charged for. Loss in motor efficiency is determined by the difference between the input power and output or shaft power.
Ploss = Pin - Pshaft
Ploss = losses of electric motor [kW]
Motor energy loss is mainly heat caused by many factors, including loss from the coil winding (resistance), loss in the rotor bars and slip rings, loss due to magnetising of the iron core, and loss from friction of bearings.
On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) into law (Public Law 140-110). The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) actively participated in crafting major provisions on EISA. A critical provision that NEMA focused on was increased motor efficiency levels. The Motor Generator section of NEMA joined forces with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy to draft and recommend new motor efficiency regulations covering both general purpose and some categories of definite and special purpose electrical motors.
The Motor and Generator Section of NEMA established the NEMA Premium program for four main reasons:
Visit NEMA Premium Motors for more information.
A summary of EISA standards for motors:
In June, 2005, the European Union enacted a Directive on establishing a framework for setting Eco-design requirements (such as energy efficiency requirements) for all energy using products in the residential, tertiary and industrial sectors. Coherent EU-wide rules for eco-design will ensure that disparities among national regulations do not become obstacles to intra-EU trade. The directive does not introduce directly binding requirements for specific products, but does define conditions and criteria for setting requirements regarding environmentally relevant product characteristics (such as energy consumption) and allows them to be improved quickly and efficiently. It will be followed by implementing measures which will establish the eco-design requirements. In principle, the Directive applies to all energy using products (except transport vehicles) and covers all energy sources.
The table below shows the IEC 60034-30 (2008) efficiency classes and comparable efficiency levels.
|IE2||High efficiency||For 50 Hz considerably higher than EFF2 of CEMEP and identical to the U.S. EPAct for 60 Hz|
|IE3||Premium efficiency||New efficiency class in Europe for 50 Hz, higher than EFF1 on CEMEP and with some exceptions identical to NEMA Premium in the United States for 60 Hz.|
The standard also reserves an IE4 class (Super Premium Efficiency) for the future. The following motors are excluded from the new efficiency standard:
For 60 Hz operation, the IE2 and IE3 minimum full-load efficiency values are virtually identical to the North American National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)  Energy Efficient and Premium Efficiency motor standards, respectively. (NEMA does specify different full-load efficiency values for motors with Totally Enclosed Fan-Cooled and Open Drip-proof enclosures and from 200HP IEC IE3 efficiency is slightly higher than NEMA Premium Efficiency). The IEC minimum full-load efficiency standards are higher for 60 Hz motors than for 50 Hz motors. This is because as long as the motor torque is constant, I2R or winding resistance losses are the same at 50 Hz and 60 Hz. The motor output power, however, increases linearly with speed, increasing by 20% when the frequency is increased from 50 Hz to 60 Hz. In general, the 60 Hz efficiency is about 2.5% to 0.5% greater than the 50 Hz values. The efficiency gain is greater for smaller motor power ratings.
To show compliance with these new efficiency standards, motors must be tested in accordance with the newly adopted IEC 60034-2–1 testing protocol. This procedure provides test results that are largely compatible with those obtained by the North American IEEE 112B and CSA 390 test methods. The new standard also requires that the motor efficiency class and nominal motor efficiency be labeled on the motor nameplate and given in product literature and motor catalogues in the following format:
On 22 July 2009, Commission Regulation (EC) No 640/2009 implementing Directive 2005/32/EC states that in the EU, with the exception of some special applications, motors shall not be less efficient than the IE3 efficiency level as from 1 January 2015.
EC 60034-30, IE3 Premium Efficiency (%) is presented in the table.
IE3 Premium Efficiency
50 HZ / 60 HZ
50 HZ / 60 HZ
|6 pole |
50 HZ / 60 HZ
|0.75||80.7 / 77.0||82.5 / 85.5||78.9 / 82.5|
|1.1||82.7 / 84.0||84.1 / 86.5||81.0 / 87.5|
|1.5||84.2 / 85.5||85.3 / 86.5||82.5 / 88.5|
|2.2||85.9 / 86.5||86.7 / 89.5||84.3 / 89.5|
|3||87.1 / -||87.7 / -||85.6 / -|
|3.7||- / 88.5||- / 89.5||- / 89.5|
|4||88.1 / -||88.6 / -||86.8 / -|
|5.5||89.2 / 89.5||89.6 / 91.7||88.0 / 91.0|
|7.5||90.1 / 90.2||90.4 / 91.7||89.1 / 91.0|
|11||91.2 / 90.0||91.4 / 92.4||90.3 / 91.7|
|15||91.9 / 91.0||92.1 / 93.0||91.2 / 91.7|
|18.5||92.4 / 91.7||92.6 / 93.6||91.7 / 93.0|
|22||92.7 / 91.7||93.0 / 93.6||92.2 / 93.0|
|30||93.3 / 92.4||93.6 / 94.1||92.9 / 94.1|
|37||93.7 / 93.0||93.9 / 94.5||93.3 / 94.1|
|45||94.0 / 93.6||94.2 / 95.0||93.7 / 94.5|
|55||94.3 / 93.6||94.6 / 94.4||94.1 / 94.5|
|75||94.7 / 94.1||95.0 / 95.4||94.6 / 95.0|
|90||95.0 / 95.0||95.2 / 95.4||94.9 / 95.0|
|110||95.2 / 95.0||95.4 / 95.8||95.1 / 95.8|
|132||95.4 / -||95.6 / -||95.4 / -|
|150||- / 95.4||- / 96.2||- / 95.8|
|160||95.6 / -||95.8 / -||95.6 / -|
|185||- / 95.8||- / 96.2||- / 95.8|
|200||95.8 / -||96.0 / -||95.8 / -|
|220||95.8 / 95.8||96.0 / 96.2||95.8 / 95.8|
|250||95.8 / 95.8||96.0 / 96.2||95.8 / 95.8|
|300||95.8 / 95.8||96.0 / 96.2||95.8 / 95.8|
|330||95.8 / 95.8||96.0 / 96.2||95.8 / 95.8|
|375||95.8 / 95.8||96.0 / 96.2||95.8 / 95.8|
Design of Premium Efficiency Motors needs special knowledge, experience and test facilities, equipped with precision instrumentation. The task of design is, to get the efficiency up by minimizing and balancing the single losses, especially those created in the stator coils, the stator iron (magnetizing) and the losses within the rotor by slip. In comparison to standard (e.g. IE1) electrical motors, more iron and copper material are used. IE3 motors are heavier and physically bigger than IE1 motors.
Typically use of higher slot fill in the copper winding, use of thinner laminations of improved steel properties, reducing the air gap, better design of cooling fan, use of special and improved bearings etc. can ensure higher efficiency in the motors.
The high electrical conductivity of copper versus other metallic conductors enhances the electrical energy efficiency of motors. Increasing the mass and cross section of conductors in a coil increases the electrical energy efficiency of the motor. Where energy savings are prime design objectives, induction motors can be designed to meet and exceed National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) premium efficiency standards.
The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee adopted a NEMA-advocated provision that created a premium energy-efficient motor rebate program, also known as a “crush for credit” program, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The program provided a $25 per horsepower rebate and a $5 per horsepower rebate for the disposal of the old motor. The latter program was needed to offset the cost difference between new, more expensive, efficient motors and the lesser cost to repair the older, more inefficient motors, NEMA says. This program allowed the federal government to spend $350 million in incentives for the widespread adoption of NEMA Premium motors.
The "Crush for Credit" provision contained in the Senate's version of the "Energy Policy and Conservation Act" (EPCA) ran for five years, and included the following proposed funding:
Within the EU, various Capital Allowance Schemes encourage companies to purchase equipment incorporating premium-efficiency motors. For example, in the UK, the Enhanced Capital Allowances Scheme  provides a tax incentive to businesses that invest in equipment that meets published energy-saving criteria. The Energy Technology List (ETL) details the criteria for each type of technology, and lists those products in each category that meet them. It is managed by the Carbon Trust, on behalf of the Government, and has two parts:
The ETPL also contains details of the maximum claim values  for qualifying products which comprise a component in a larger piece of plant and machinery, which does not itself qualify for ECAs.
Key Features of the ECA scheme are
A similar scheme in Ireland, Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) run by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI)  lets a company cut its taxable income by 100% of the capital cost of eligible energy-efficient equipment in the first year of purchase. This compares to just 12.5% for ineligible plant and machinery.
With the existing Capital Allowances tax structure, when money is spent on “capital equipment” companies can deduct the cost of this equipment from their profits proportionally over a period of 8 years, i.e. the annual taxable profit is only reduced by 1/8 of the total equipment cost.
With new ACA, when money is spent on “Eligible energy efficient capital equipment”, the company can deduct the full cost of this equipment from their profits in the year of purchase, i.e. the taxable profit in year one is reduced by the full cost of the equipment.