Pump Efficiency & Best Practices

Optimization of pumping systems has the potential to save significant amounts of money and energy while reducing maintenance costs and increasing productivity for U.S. companies and municipalities, according to the Department of Energy (DOE, www.energy.gov). In fact, DOE studies show that pumping systems account for nearly 20 percent of the world”s electrical energy demand and about 25 percent of industrial electrical energy consumption in the U.S.

To help industrial end-users learn more about the opportunity for savings through pump efficiency, the DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) has joined the Hydraulic Institute (www.pumps.org), a DOE Allied Partner, to begin a new education and outreach initiative called Pump Systems Matter. The vision for the program, which is being spearheaded by the Hydraulic Institute, is to help industrial pump users in North America gain a competitive business advantage through strategic, broad-based energy management and system performance optimization approaches. The Hydraulic Institute announced the Pump Systems Matter program in March and held a strategic planning session with interested manufacturers, service providers, and government agencies in May. The program will also be the subject of a presentation later this month at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE, www.aceee.org) Summer Study for Industry conference in West Point, N.Y.

“We are still in the formative stages of the [Pump Systems Matter] initiative, and one of the next major steps is that we will be presenting a paper outlining the vision for the program and some concrete milestones,” says Robert Asdal, executive director of the Hydraulic Institute. Asdal says the paper presentation will shed some more light on the tools that will be made available to users through the Pump Systems Matter program, such as current, new, and re-branded educational materials and resources and supporting outreach activities. It will also outline some of the unique characteristics of pumps and how they operate in a systems environment, highlighting the need for users to focus on the entire pumping system and not just the pump.

So far 33 Hydraulic Institute member companies have signed on to participate in the Pump Systems Matter program, and Asdal expects to generate more interest after the paper is presented and users, utilities, energy-efficiency and regional market transformation organizations and others have a better feel for the ultimate goals of the program.

“Lots of times it takes a little while to get everyone’s buy-in and agreement on the overall direction of these types of programs,” says Chris Cockrill, a senior project manager for the DOE, who has been involved in some of the early discussions on the Pump Systems Matter program. “Right now the specific outcomes and products of the program are still very much to be determined.”

One of the tools that will definitely be part of the program toolset is the DOE’s Pump Systems Assessment Tool (PSAT). PSAT, which has been available to pump users through the DOE since the late 1990s, is designed to help determine if pumps in a system are operating at their Best Efficiency Point (BEP). “We will also be rolling out another software tool, called Pump System Improvement Modeling (PSIM), that will serve to educate users on operations and improvement techniques,” says Asdal. He says this offering will allow users to model pump systems and determine how changes to architecture will affect overall performance.

While the Hydraulic Institute has not yet set an energy savings goal for the Pump Systems Matter program, Asdal says on average a facility should be able to achieve 20 percent savings by employing pump optimization practices. The DOE estimates the program could yield up to 28,000 GWh of energy saving per year nationwide based on a midrange estimate.

— Flow Control Staff

For more information on the Pump Systems Matter program, contact Robert Asdal at rasdal@pumps.org or 973 267-9700, ext. 13.