The European Union has set targets for cutting carbon emissions by 2020 and Europe’s pump manufacturers are expected to play their part.While better efficiency from individual pumps may be one solution, there is a strong argument that a systems approach may bring more substantial energy savings. World Pumps presents the situation as it is now.

Industries are no stranger to legislation and much of it, it has to be said, is well intentioned, at least from the outset. The European pump industry, a supplier to many other industries, is well used to the missives being directed at it from Brussels and the obligations to comply with the various Directives that have been issued. So far these include Directives on: Machinery, Pressure Equipment, Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX), Low Voltage, Electro Magnetic Current (EMC), Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFD), Drinking Water, WEEE & RoHS, Chemicals, Labelling, EU Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, Energy Services, Metric Units and Outdoor Noise, to name but a few.

Another upcoming Directive that will affect pump manufacturers is the proposals for an eco-designed product as part of the Energy-Using Products (EuP) Framework Directive – Directive 2005/32/EC. At the current rate of progress, the Directive will come into force in 2009. Putting it simply, the Directive means that pumps that do not reach an as-yet-unspecified efficiency rating, will not be CE-marked and allowed on the market. Manufacturers will have no choice.

Yet Directives from the EU are fairly general things; it is usually the individual industries that have to sort out the details voluntarily. In this case, if Europump can produce a suitable voluntary scheme, it prevents the Commission producing implementing measures. It will be up to the pump industry itself to work to this agreement and, because it is a methodology, Europump will later have to come up with an EN (European Norm) standard, similar to an ISO (International Standards Organisation).It is hoped that this will become a Mandated Standard referenced by the Directive. This will subsequently mean that anybody wishing to manufacture a pump and sell into Europe will have to produce it to that standard.

Specific standards for specific products

John Bower, a member of the Europump Joint Working Group (JWG) examining the implications of the EuP Directive, and the Chair of the sub-group working on the Systems Approach said: “Standards are absolutely vital to give Directives clarity and define the limits of their application; what is required are specific standards for specific products. Standards must be very clearly defined as they guide how manufacturers will work towards complying with the Directives. Manufacturers will need to be aware of the Directive when it is written and they will need to be aware of the Standards so they know how to apply the measures and to what pumps they apply.”

While Europump is already working out what that Standard will be, so to ensure that the new EN does not harm the industry, both Europump and the European Commission have agreed a staged cut-off year of 2020 by which time all pumps must reach a yet-to-be agreed level of efficiency. To do this Europump brought together more than 30 experts from different companies and countries within Europe to work within the Joint Working Group. Their brief was to develop a pump efficiency pass/fail scheme to identify low efficiency circulators (up to 2.5 kW) and water pumps. Circulators are fairly straightforward as there is already in place the Europump A-G labelling voluntary scheme. However, when defining efficient standards for water pumps proved it was harder to come up with a methodology.

John Bower explained:“In water pumps there isn’t the step-change in technology to give significant improvements, we are only able to make minor improvements to the hydraulic design, manufacturing techniques and accuracy and surface finish.On the circulators it’s a different issue.There has already been a technology step change to variable speed machines that can automatically adjust to the demands of the central heating system-and then you can get really significant savings.”

To assist it in its task to come up with a methodology to define what an efficient pump is, the JWG looked to Darmstadt Technical University to collect hydraulic data and appraised what the Chinese and Koreans were doing in their efficiency standards.As part of its research towards the EuP, the EU commissioned a report into pump efficiency from AEA Technology led by Dr Hugh Falkner. Called the Lot 11 report, it is frequently reviewed by the JWG.

One result from the JWG was to designate a ‘house of efficiency'(between 75% – 110% Best Efficiency Point) and, using this material as a base,the methodology was formulated as a three-dimensional way of looking at the hydraulic scatter collected.The chart places efficiency on the vertical axis and two horizontal axis, representing flow and specific speed, meet at the centre.When the hydraulic data supplied is put on the chart it is then possible to make definitions of high and low efficiencies from the scatter. From this, a methodology could be transferred to all rotodynamic pumps.

“As a group, Europump is in favour of reasonable minimum efficiencies because that keeps European industry competitive. There are already efficiency standards for pumps in China and Korea while there isn’t one in Europe,”said John Bower.

Among many other topics the report on water pumps identifies what electrical energy savings can be made by introducing a scheme that removes the lower efficient pumps and also how much this will cost the pump industry. The European Commission has indicated that they are looking for at least a 40% cut-off. This means that pumps below a set 40% cut-off line will no longer be suitable for CE marking. Europump’s preference would be no more that a 30% cut-off line.

Damage to the pump industry

Steve Schofield, Technical Director of the BPMA, gives the reasoning for not going beyond a 30% efficiency cut-off limit:“If you want to achieve a 20% saving it means cutting out a very significant amount of production – maybe 70%. This would cause an enormous amount of damage to the industry and a lot of cost, that’s why we didn’t want to go beyond a 30% efficiency cut off.” The Lot 11 report estimates that the savings for a 40% cut off will be 4 – 5 TWh of electricity with a cost to the pump industry of approximately 370 million Euro in redesign and new products.

Europump President Ken Hall feels that the effect on the pump industry should not be underestimated, “As it stands, if we were to accept the findings of the Lot 11 report, we’d wipe out 50% of pump production – there’d be a void that would have to be filled and probably not by high efficiency products.The market is still price driven.”Whatever the final decision, once the efficiency level is agreed, water pumps below that cannot be CE marked and therefore supplied to the market.

These issues will be discussed throughout the rest of this year. However, whereas the Commission may eventually be persuaded to agree to a 30% cut-off, other groups may not. The European pump industry, represented through Euro pump, has only one seat on the consultation forum. This looks at all energy-using products and will be attended by representatives from many other organizations including customer bodies, the green movement and lobby groups. They will all have views from different ends of the spectrum – of which the European pump industry is just one – from ‘leave the pump industry alone’ to ‘shut it down in its entirety’.

Once it becomes law, scheduled for 2009, the Products Directive will affect all manufacturers in this sector and the European pump producers will become responsible for meeting minimum efficiencies for pumps. That will then benefit the users because they will be getting more efficient products.

Yet, while the Products Directive will give the users more efficient pumps, there are many savings to be made from a systems approach in the way pumps are used and controlled and users can influence that. Many users and manufacturers of pumps understand that increasing the efficiency of the pump may bring about small savings. The ‘Save’ report by AEA Technology and commissioned by the EU in 2000 identified that the hydraulics of centrifugal pumps could only save between 3 -5% in energy costs. This compared to a potential savings of 30-40% with the introduction of a systems approach scheme.

Steve Schofield continues to argue the case for a systems approach; “Within Europump, we have recommended that the pump industry should take proposals for a systems approach to the EU. Initially it was thought that this could be used to deflect the EuP Directive .” However, at the first stake-holder meeting on the EuP between Europump representatives and the EU, the Commission insisted that the EuP would be a product approach only . While it was acknowledged that there were greater potential savings from the systems approach that was not within the scope of the EuP.

Understanding the product approach

John Bower recognizes the EU strategy: “I can understand why the EU has gone for a product approach to begin with, because you can control products with legislation. Systems are more complicated as there are so many users of pumps and it’s more difficult to legislate against systems, but you can impose restrictions on manufacturers; remember there are tens of thousands of systems with only one pump in them.” John continues, “The EU knows that we are looking at systems and they are expecting us to come up with proposals about how a System Directive can be put in place. Right now, the EU is saying that what they are doing at the moment is products and that is going ahead, but they are not against looking at systems.”

Ken Hall agrees: “As it’s not in the EuP Directive, it’s not up for debate. The EU are not saying that you can’t have a systems approach, but insist that you can’t have it as part of the EuP Directive.”

Certainly a systems approach is much more difficult to quantify and measure, because once you have implemented a system where a pump is operating at its Best Efficiency Point, and no matter how efficient the pump may be, it is only when the system is being operated and run efficiently that real energy savings are possible. On the other hand if you improve the energy use of a product, you can demonstrate it. Yet, even if the EU does recognise that a systems approach is where the real energy savings are, there is no evidence to suggest that it has the resources to coordinate all the information to produce a comprehensive Systems Directive.

A question of enforcement

Whether a Systems Directive comes into being or not, one of the questions that remain uncertain if not unanswered is who will enforce the Directives? Currently, there is very little policing of any European legislation as there simply are not the resources. At the moment there is nothing to stop pump customers installing an inefficient system and there is no comeback if they do. It looks unlikely that voluntary scheme will be successful as not all companies would work to it. Ken Hall: “In the UK , the current thinking is that this task will be performed by the Trading Standards Commission, but they do not have the staff and this situation is happening across the 27 Member States of the EU.”

However, in Germany , it is the pump industry that will police itself. In fact, it is believed that this is part of German law which requires companies to check their competition. This is perhaps one reason why the Germans are very keen to have the EN standards as this would be a benchmark by which they can check the products of their own industry and those coming into Germany.

This opportunity has led to a change in attitude by many European pump manufacturers as they now see product-related Directives such as EuP as preventing their markets being lost to cheap inefficient pumps from other parts of the world.

Europump suggests that pumps should be tied to CE markings, making manufacturers comply and measure the efficiency of their products to a standard. If it does not meet a certain mark the product cannot have a CE marking. In this case, Europump is being more severe than the Lot 11 report suggests.“I think Europump has far more vision than the EuP Directive; it is an energy strategy for our industry and not just as a response to Lot 11,” says Ken Hall.
A massive amount of effort

The advocates of a systems approach acknowledge that to get it to work is going to require a massive amount of effort and full support from the different governments because customers have to be involved; at the moment there is no coordinated engagement with the end users. Ken Hall confirms that in the UK there are close ties with the pump industry and central government: “The BPMA is working with the government’s Market Transformation Programme, AEA Technology, the Carbon Trust and DEFRA because the last thing we want is for the UK government to legislate on end users because it is very likely that they will then take their business out of the UK – and out of Europe.

We’ve got to get our customers to come to the table, because when they are making their new plants they will have to be built to the new standards and everybody will be in the same arena.” Europump is looking to train the pump industry’s customers and accrediting people to carry out energy audits in these plants.

Yet some customers can see the benefits of becoming full involved in the drive towards greater energy efficiencies. In the US and Canada , power shortages are making the large power companies carry out energy audits. Not only are they willing to pay for the audits, but they will also pay 75% of the cost of bringing these plants into line with the report. This is cheaper for them than the cost of building a new power plant. This is the sort of incentive that is required to force major users make their plants more energy efficient.

Steve Schofield makes a final point: “At the moment, many users are not aware of the energy savings that can be made within a pumping system and if we gets things right there is a huge business opportunity for the pump industry and potentially massive energy saving for the customer. It really is a win-win situation.

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