Ultra-low harmonic drives save Australian council’s water facility 30 percent on energy costs

Ultra-low harmonic drives save Australian council’s water facility 30 percent on energy costs

AlburyCity Council in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, operates two water supply systems that provide water to residents and businesses. The clean water reticulation system depends on a water boosting pump station, which pumps water to a storage tank uphill. The pumps need to be on standby constantly, and they typically operate for around six hours each day in the winter and up to 16 hours per day in the summer.

Drawing the significant amount of electricity required to power these pumps disrupts the local grid. Electrical disturbance includes dimming of the lights in nearby buildings any time the pumps start or stop. The council aimed to eliminate these disturbances and upgrade the pump motors to more efficient models, in line with Stage 1 of the NSW Net Zero Plan.

Experts from Remtron, an ABB Channel Partner, worked with the council to identify the root of the issue: the system’s softstarter motor controller was introducing harmonic distortion into the power network. Harmonics lower energy efficiency and can cause issues for other electrical equipment on the network.

The experts recommended installing a variable speed drive to enable the pumps to operate closer to their best efficiency point (BEP). The council selected an ultra-low harmonic drive for the pur-pose. A typical 6 pulse drives produce 30-45 percent Total Harmonic Distortion (THDi), while ULH drives generally emit less than 3 percent. Now, even when the motor’s speed is varied, harmonics reduction ensures the network remains stable.

The council also replaced the motor with a more modern, efficient model. The combined benefits of variable speed operation and a more efficient motor have resulted in overall cost savings of up to 30 percent.

“The results are genuinely impressive. Using energy efficient motors and ultra-low harmonic drives, with the added benefit of Unity Power Factor, has allowed us to capture cost savings in total power consumption,” says Mitch Palmer, Electrical Supervisor for Construction and Mainte-nance at AlburyCity.

Naveen Nadesan of Remtron, an ABB Authorised Value Provider in Australia, and Mitch Palmer from AlburyCity Council in New South Wales, discuss how cooperative efforts to provide greater energy efficiency has resulted in multiple benefits.