Electricity use by machine drives varies significantly by manufacturing industry

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 19, 2013

U.S. Energy Information Administration: “Machine drives, which are primarily electric motors, pumps, and fans, account for about half of the manufacturing sector’s delivered electricity use and 8% of the sector’s total fuel consumption. Their wide use across many industries results in a substantial impact on the demand placed on power grids. EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) projects that the continuing increase in the energy efficiency of machine drives offsets an increase in industrial output, resulting in relatively flat levels of electricity consumption by machine drives. The level of electricity use in manufacturing or other activities has broader implications for total energy use. It takes three units of primary energy (from fuels such as coal, nuclear, and natural gas) to generate one unit of electricity, meaning that increased electricity use has a disproportionate effect on the amount of total primary energy required to support site-level energy use. Reported electricity use is based on energy consumption for end use (delivered energy). Both fossil fuels and electricity are used to power manufacturing processes. Fossil fuels may be used to drive turbines, reciprocating engines, and other prime movers that provide mechanical power for rotating machinery. Electric motors can also be used for the same purposes as well as for pumps, fans, and air compressors. In total, electricity powers about 89% of motors in manufacturing. Electric motors are used in a wide variety of materials handling and materials processing operations (e.g., machining).”

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