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Assessing the environmental impact of induction motors using manufacturer's data and life cycle analysis

Assessing the environmental impact of induction motors using manufacturer's data and life cycle analysis

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Herein is reported development and testing of a life cycle analysis (LCA) procedure for assessing the environmental impact of induction motors. The operating conditions of a given industrial application are defined by the mechanical power required, operating hours and service life of the three-phase induction motor involved. Based on manufacturer's data mainly, different three-phase induction motors for various sets of operating conditions, including oversizing, have been selected. To quantify the environmental impact of each motor, the Methodology for the Ecodesign of Energy Using Products (MEEUP) was applied, according to the quantity of each of the motor's main constituent materials used in the production phase, and to the two operating variables that directly influence the LCA results: output power and efficiency. The procedure was applied to different three-phase induction motors representing two efficiency categories (IE1 and IE2) and considering different oversizing possibilities. The total environmental impact of each motor was determined based on the production, service life and end-of-life phases. The best motor option was identified for different operating conditions. Given the potential for energy savings in electric motors, LCA-based environmental impact assessment should be performed when different motors are being evaluated for a given industrial application.

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