Remarkable energy savings potential in pumping systems

Improvement of process energy efficiency both in industrial and municipal applications is a key to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Pumping systems provide significant energy savings potential as their share may be even one-third of the total system electricity consumption.

Pumping systems are often equipped with separately selected and overdimensioned devices, leading to their operation at a low efficiency and with unnecessary energy costs. Remedies for this issue can be avoided with proper system selection, which has now been achieved in the Efficient Energy Use (EFEU) research program with the development of a Pumping System Optimization Tool. The tool allows dimensioning of the whole pumping system at once based on the given process requirements for flow rate and head. With this tool, a pumping system can be precisely dimensioned for the process, and consequently, it can be equipped with the best possible combination of a pump, a motor and a variable speed drive.

A simple remedy for overdimensioned pumping systems is their operation with a variable-speed drive (VSD) so that they are driven according to the present demand. Best results are, however, achieved when the VSD is operating the pumping system to optimize its energy efficiency while fulfilling the given process task. This is possible with modern variable-speed drives in reservoir pumping applications, which have a distinctive optimum speed profile. In the EFEU program, it has been shown both analytically and experimentally that a modern VSD is able to identify the basic characteristics of a reservoir pumping application and generate the optimum speed profile for the pumping system so that it is operated with the lowest possible energy consumption.

“Pumps and their control are the most significant application of electric drives; about half of ABB electric motors and variable-speed drives are used in pump and fan applications. We want to carry on developing solutions with enhanced energy efficiency, reliability and life-cycle costs to our customer needs. The results of the EFEU program are highly relevant both to us and to our customers,” says ABB’s Jukka Tolvanen, Chairman of the EFEU Program Steering Group.

Besides new monitoring capabilities, advances in power electronics have opened the way to the use of new motor technologies and freely varying rotational speeds in pumping systems. To take the lead on this development, the program has studied innovative designs for the next-generation pump-motor combination with energy and material efficient concept devices. The objective is to revolutionize the pump design, which has remained almost unaltered since the 1960s. When this variable-speed pump device is correctly dimensioned for the process and controlled with an intelligent VSD, the given process requirements will be met with optimum energy efficiency.

Seminar on September 14, 2015
To learn more about the results of the EFEU program, register now to the seminar Tomorrow’s Energy Efficiency Solutions which is held on September 14th in Sokos Hotel Presidentti, Helsinki. To register to the event, click on the following link:
Seminar program available at:

Further information:
Jukka Tolvanen, Chairman of the EFEU Program Steering Group, ABB Oy,, tel. +358 50 332 2897

Juha Leppävuori, EFEU Program Manager, CLEEN (VTT),, tel. +358 40 5329 378

The Efficient Energy Use program (EFEU) develops system-level energy efficiency solutions and services for fluid handling systems and regional energy systems. The EFEU consortium comprises 11 industrial partners and five research organizations. The budget of the program is over 12 million euros.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Juha Leppävuori

Program Manager

+358 40 5329 378

CLIC Innovation