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Extended Product Directive – a pump is not a light bulb

01 May 2020

The EU Eco-Design Directive aims to improve the environmental impact of energy-intensive products by optimising their design. Since pumps require a lot of energy, some inevitably fall within the scope of this directive. A better design could significantly reduce their energy consumption. However, considerably more can be achieved if the pump is not viewed in isolation but as part of the overall system along with its electric motor and controller.

On this basis, Europump, the European pump association has developed the extended product approach (EPA).

After China and the USA, Europe has the third largest electricity consumption in the world – around 3,300 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year. More than 300TWh of this is accounted for by electric pumps. That is equal to the generated output of 30 large coal-fired power plants. No wonder the EU Commission also considered regulating pumps at an early stage in the process. The Commission selected those products and product groups that have the highest energy consumption and from which the greatest savings potential was available. Pumps clearly belonged to this group. 

In contrast to many industries that see themselves restricted by regulation, the European pump industry has welcomed sensible regulation from the outset. Using water pumps as an example, Europump found that its annual electricity consumption of 137TWh could be reduced by 35TWh – the equivalent of shutting down four coal-fired power plants. This saving can be achieved by adjusting the pumping capacity precisely to the pumping requirement. This works with the help of a controller, for example, a frequency converter – which makes it possible to reduce the speed of the motor driving the pump and, thus, the power of the pump. Normally, the motor of a pump runs at a fixed speed, even where the need for pumping power varies. 

Read the full article in the May issue of DPA

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