ABB Technologies at core of Net Zero transition

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ABB IE5 SynRM motor and drive package

When it comes to advancing energy conservation and carbon reduction, countries around the world are implementing carbon taxes to accelerate their net zero transition and fulfill their climate pledges. As a global technology leader in electrification and automation, ABB is committed to collaborating with its customers and key stakeholders across different countries to enable a sustainable and resource-efficient future. A key aspect of this initiative involves unlocking the untapped potential of industrial energy efficiency.

The ABB IE5 SynRM ultra-premium efficiency motor represents a significant step forward

Narayanan, Group Senior Vice President & Head of ABB's Motion Business in Asia noted that achieving the 2030 carbon emissions targets set by the International Energy Agency (IEA) requires more than increasing the use of renewable energy. There is also a critical need to intensify energy efficiency progress and electrify essential infrastructure which includes transportation, energy, water and other components of a healthy economy.

According to R. Narayanan, industrial electric motors and the systems they drive account for approximately 45% of the electricity consumed worldwide. By 2040, the number of electric motors in the world is expected to double. With more than 300 million industrial electric motor-driven systems currently in operation, the potential for energy savings and reduction in CO2 is significant. For example, if all 300 million of these motors were upgraded to higher efficiency ones, global electricity consumption could be reduced by around 10%. The energy savings, coupled with cost and environmental advantages underscore the urgency of regulating minimum efficiency standards for industrial motors.

Currently, the EU Ecodesign regulation mandates a minimum standard of IE4 for motors with a rated output between 75 kW and 200 kW. However, in Taiwan the minimum requirement has remained at IE3, while in the Southeast Asian market, the requirement is only IE2 or even IE1.

Data compiled by ABB reveals that the IE5 synchronous reluctance motor-drive package (SynRM) can achieve 50 percent lower losses compared to the IE2-class induction motors that many facilities in the region still use. As most electric motors have long service lives of 20 years or more, the potential savings from electricity cost can be substantial providing companies with the right motivation to consider motor replacements.

Vincent Wu, Head of Motion Business at ABB Taiwan, expressed that with the recent increase of electricity tariffs in April and the planned implementation of carbon taxes starting next year, companies looking to reduce their operating costs should consider replacing old equipment and upgrading to high-efficiency motor solutions. Energy efficiency is vital in minimizing an electric motor's total cost of ownership (TCO). This is because around 97 percent of the TCO is typically attributed to energy expenses during the motor's lifetime, while the initial purchase price only accounts for about two percent.

Narayanan described the example of a sewage processing plant rated by the federal government in Germany, in which six old motors were replaced with four SynRM motors and drives. Additionally, three more SynRM motor and drive packages were used for the flocculation filtration system. Collectively, these upgrades have reduced the plant's power consumption by 40 percent. Similarly, Campbell's Australia's Shepparton plant also switched to an ABB solution, saving USD $9800 a year in energy costs and reducing carbon emissions by 131 metric tons. These successes underpin a crucial lesson as to why companies should not shy away from motor replacement based solely on the initial financial outlay. The long-term gains in energy savings, reduced emissions, and operational efficiency far outweigh the upfront investment.

Narayanan also added that, in some countries, it will be difficult to convince local customers to fully overhaul their motors as the electricity cost remains low. Thus, changes to electricity tariffs will also be a key factor in determining whether old motors will be replaced.

Turbines electrification is the new trend

Electrification is another vital strategy for accelerating decarbonization. ABB is helping countries in the Asian market to reduce carbon emissions by replacing processes or technologies that rely on high-carbon fuel like gas and steam generated from coal or oil. Gas turbines and steam turbines are commonly used both in Taiwan and other countries in industries to operate compressors or pumps. Replacing these gas or steam turbines with designs incorporating electrical motors and drive not only increases system efficiency but also allows integration with renewable energy sources, driving down carbon emissions further.

In recent years, ABB has broadened its initiatives in Japan and Asia to maximize the potential of hydrogen, which can be used in power generation and transportation, as well as carbon capture. However, ABB Motion's strategy remains on empowering industries with higher productivity, greater energy efficiency, improved reliability and lower carbon footprint.

Integrating circularity concepts into product designs for greater environmental friendliness and information transparency

As part of a global initiative, ABB founded the Energy Efficiency Movement in 2021 aimed at raising awareness and catalyzing actions to achieve energy efficiency progress at a scale and speed needed to limit global warming. To-date, the Movement has garnered participation from nearly 500 enterprises in more than 43 countries across 23 industries. Companies in Taiwan are also welcome to join in this endeavor.

These efforts clearly show that, with the global trend of carbon emissions reduction, ABB's solutions are capable of fulfilling the most stringent energy efficiency standards. With the increase in electricity prices and the impending implementation of carbon taxes starting next year, ABB aims to help alleviate companies' anxieties regarding carbon emissions and collaboratively work toward the global goal of net zero carbon emissions.