Pumps and fans

Pumps and fans are used widely throughout industry. Pumps transfer liquids and gases for processing, to provide cooling, heating and lubrication, and to power hydraulic systems. Pumps are also used in the water supply and treatment sector to move water and process sewerage. Fans are used widely in both industrial and commercial applications, for ventilation, air circulation, blowing and drying.

Pumps and fans account for around 40% of the end uses of motive power in Australian industry. Potential energy savings in fan and pump systems can be as much as 50% and in some cases even higher.

Opportunities to save

Most energy-efficiency opportunities for pumps and fans fall into the following categories.

Reduce demand for pumps and fans

Large savings can be achieved by reducing the demand for the service provided by the fan or pump by optimising the whole system of which the fan or pump forms a part. In some cases, it may be possible to eliminate the need for the fan or pump system.

Optimise the use of existing pump and fan systems

Switching fan and pump systems off when not in use, and ensuring these systems are appropriately controlled will result in energy savings. Ensuring that the fan or pump system is appropriate for the load and duty (which may have changed since installation) can produce large savings.

Energy consumed by fans and pumps is proportional to the cube of the motor speed, so reducing speed by 20% would drop power consumption by around half. Optimising existing variable speed drives allow pumps and fans to efficiently deliver varying outputs. Power factor correction and proactive maintenance can also contribute to reduced energy costs and extended equipment life.

Upgrade and replace pump and fan systems

Investing in new efficient pump and fan systems, as well as making significant changes provide the opportunity to achieve large energy savings and minimise total life-cycle costs. System changes might be triggered by changes to manufacturing processes, increasing or decreasing flow rates, equipment wear or failure or lack of spare parts. Even without these triggers, the potential energy savings justify investigating upgrades or replacements of an existing, functioning fan or pump system.

More information

Australian Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide: Pumping Systems Sustainability Victoria

Measurement and Verification Operational Guide: Motor, Pump and Fan Applications NSW Office of Environment and Heritage