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Energy Department announces funding for industrial development

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World Cement,

In the US, the Energy Department has announced funding of up to US$20 million to encourage the development of high speed industrial motors and drives, using high power-density designs and integrated power electronics to increase efficiency.

Industry consumes more than 25% of electricity produced in the US and this figure is expected to increase significantly in the next 25 years. By replacing the less efficient systems that have fixed-speed motors and gearboxes with variable speed-drive motor systems, and incorporating recent power electronics advances such as wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, the industrial sector could save on energy costs and become more competitive. The Energy Department estimates that wide use of WBG system electronics could save 2 – 4% in industry’s electricity consumption and billions of dollars.

The Energy Department plans to select four to six projects, through the Next Generation Electric Machines: Megawatt Class Motors funding opportunity, that demonstrate the benefits of using WBG variable-speed drives. These projects are expected to target a 30% reduction in system losses and a 50% reduction in size for megawatt-scale motor and drive systems used in the chemical and petroleum refining industries, natural gas infrastructure, and general industry compressor applications like HVAC systems, refrigeration, and wastewater pumps. The selected teams will develop integrated motor drive system components including:

  • Front end power processing units.
  • Medium voltage class WBG semiconductor-based variable-speed drives.
  • High speed motors that can be directly coupled to appropriate industrial loads.

Adapted from press release by

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