Increasing motor efficiency to reduce energy consumption?

  • #1
Summary:
Motor controls and coil drivers that increase efficiency. Revolutionary ideas or old ideas dressed up with marketing?
I was looking into companies or startups that were doing things with motors to improve efficiency. I stumbled upon Turntide Technologies, which has a partnership with Amazon. Turntide is making a software-driven motor that "enables precise and reliable control to effectively use every watt of energy to reduce electricity consumption and achieve optimal efficiency." https://turntide.com/technology/

Then I stumbled upon, EXRO Technologies. "Exro's advanced motor control technology, the "Coil Driver", expands the capabilities of electric motors and powertrains. The Coil Driver enables two separate torque profiles within a given motor. The first is calibrated for low speed and high torque, while the second provides expanded operation at high speed." https://www.exro.com/technology/coil-driver

Do you all think this technology has a chance to really have a big impact or are these old ideas with a little bit of marketing added to them? Thanks for any thoughts you can share.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phyzguy
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Electric motors are typically 90% efficient or better, so I don't think there is a whole lot to be gained. However if you have a lot of motors, or have very high power motors, then every little bit helps. We would need more details to judge.
 
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  • #3
jrmichler
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Integral horsepower induction motors are subject to efficiency standards, and that efficiency is a function of motor size. Good search term to learn more is induction motor efficiency standards. This chart is from one of the hits: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/04/f15/amo_motors_handbook_web.pdf.
Motor Efficiency.jpg

These motors are already efficient enough that huge increases are just not possible. Smaller motors have more room for improvement. ECM motors (search the term) have been commonly available for about 30 years. They are popular in HVAC systems for both pumps and blower motors. This pump in my home heating system varies its speed depending on whether one, two, or all three zones are running. The photo was taken with two zones running:
Pump.jpg


Turntide has a new spin on 30 year old technology. Their design is a switched reluctance motor, Switched reluctance is an old design that became practical with the development of modern electronics. It competes with the permanent magnet rotor motor design in the pump shown above, and it competes with vector drive induction motors.
 
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  • #4
256bits
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Integral horsepower induction motors are subject to efficiency standards
Definitely a noticeable 'scale up' in efficiency wrt Hp of the motor.
 
  • #5
256bits
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Do you all think this technology has a chance to really have a big impact or are these old ideas with a little bit of marketing added to them?
There is still a lot of old 'crappy' motors being used in peoples homes.
But this isn't for that I would suspect.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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Summary:: Motor controls and coil drivers that increase efficiency. Revolutionary ideas or old ideas dressed up with marketing?

I was looking into companies or startups that were doing things with motors to improve efficiency. I stumbled upon Turntide Technologies, which has a partnership with Amazon. Turntide is making a software-driven motor that "enables precise and reliable control to effectively use every watt of energy to reduce electricity consumption and achieve optimal efficiency." https://turntide.com/technology/
...

Do you all think this technology has a chance to really have a big impact or are these old ideas with a little bit of marketing added to them? Thanks for any thoughts you can share.
I only looked at the first. It's a "switched reluctance motor", which wikipedia tells me was first patented in 1838 (!). So it's a really, really old idea. It's been refined of course.

For small motors running at low RPM, efficiencies drop substantially and this type of motor may help avoid that. How much of a benefit? It's tough to know: Yes, there is a lot of marketing hype in there and no detailed case studies.

More concerning is that I don't see a way to buy one, and I see the company's name changed last year (from "Software Motor Company"). It looks like a startup that isn't actually off the ground yet. The cynic in me thinks they originally picked "Software Motor Company" because they thought it would make venture capitalists backsides tingle and they are hoping to market it by putting internet into it.
 

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