Variable-speed drives have short ecological payback

The environmental costs of manufacturing and disposing of variable-speed drives can be compensated for in a few days or, even, hours of operation.

With just half a day of use, a variable-speed drive can compensate for the environmental cost of its manufacture and disposal — according to a study from ABB carried out with Tampere University of Technology in Finland.

The ecological payback was calculated for three ABB drives of 750 W, 7.5 kW and 250 kW. The shortest payback of half a day was for the 250 kW drive, with 1.1 days for the 7.5 kW drive and six days for the 750 W drive.

An ABB industrial drive will typically provide total lifetime savings of around 7500 MWh or 3800 t of CO2.

This ecological payback is relevant to organisations that work to reduce their carbon footprint, with a new installation only starting to make a positive contribution to the environment after it has compensated for its own manufacture and disposal. That saving, and financial payback, is made by reductions in energy consumption of up to 70% compared to throttling mechanisms to regulate the flow of air and liquids.

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