VFDs made in Wales will help drive the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ green deal

Variable frequency drive (VFD) technology designed and manufactured in Wales will play a significant part in reducing greenhouse emissions as part of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ green deal.

That’s the message from Invertek Drives, one of the leaders in the innovation and manufacture of VFD technology, based at Welshpool, Powys.

Announced on 14 July, the EC has set out its European Green Deal to reduce net greenhouse emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This is part of delivering its European Climate Law which comes into force this month (July). The new law sets out tighter regulation on electric motors and VFDs.

Around eight billion electric motors consume nearly 50 per cent of the electricity produced in Europe. Globally, 40 per cent of electricity is used to power industry, with two-thirds of this used by electric motors. And yet less than 20 per cent of electric motors are controlled by VFDs.

“Electric motors account for a significant proportion of electricity usage globally. And it’s not just in industry. Our everyday lives are impacted by AC motors in one way or another, from HVAC building systems to retail refrigeration,” said Kes Beech, Technical Manager at Invertek Drives.

“Inefficient motors create higher energy use which in turn generate increased carbon emissions. And it’s not just the energy that’s contributing to these emissions. The processes themselves, such as those in manufacturing, the water industry and ventilation, can also impact on emissions or have environmental ramifications if they are not accurately controlled.

“Globally, variable frequency drive technology is already cutting energy use by up to 30 or 40 per cent in many applications. This is leading to reduced carbon emissions. But with less than 20 per cent of electric motors controlled by drives, significant in-roads can be made to meeting the new EC climate ambitions.

“The EC’s green deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. That might seem some time off, but, and in terms of industry, it’s not.

“VFDs can be easily retrofitted on to existing electric motor processes as well as integrated into new applications. We don’t need to look to the future and yet to be developed technology. It already exists. But we, in the drives industry, governments and trade organisations, have to promote and encourage greater use of VFDs in existing and future motor-controlled applications.”

He added: “As with all technologies, drives are constantly evolving. At Invertek we have a large innovation and research and development team working on advancements in VFD hardware and software technologies. This is leading to even more efficient motor control.

“With more motor-based systems integrated with VFDs we can create greater efficiencies, reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions.”

Invertek’s Optidrive VFDs can be used in most electric motor driven applications. With IP66 / NEMA 4X enclosures, they can even operate in harsh environmental conditions.

More details about Invertek’s VFD technology can be found at www.invertedrives.com.