As a regulation that affects the industrial market on a daily basis, Andrew Jones, Technical Product Engineer at Axair Fans, reflects on previous industry legislation and explains how the next ERP directive (Energy related Products) could have the biggest influence yet on the industrial fan market in general.
With Eco-design directives, the European Union defined requirements for the environmentally sound design of energy consuming products. These directives still form part of the 20-20-20 target, which aspires to the rule that energy use should be reduced by 20% and the share of renewables energies increased by 20% by 2020 so with the application of this legal regulation, only energy efficient fans should be sold in the EU. More beneficially to the end user, this use of energy efficient product can save up to 65% energy costs, depending on the application.
In terms of cooling components within the industrial and OEM markets, fans and motors are tested in a strict set manner, taking into account motor and impeller types. The specific type of fan is then assigned an FMEG figure (fan mean efficiency grade), this is the specific target the fan must meet to be declared a pass for ERP. The FMEG figure for specific fan types is predefined and the results from fan testing are inputted into an equation which gives the fans score or FMEG.
ERP was first introduced in 2013, round one if you like, this had the effect of killing off some of the rather inefficient fan/motor combinations that the industry was used to using. This had an effect on the way industrial fan manufacturers thought about air movement and overall fan efficiencies, effectively changing thought processes both in fan manufacture and fan application.
Just as a basic example, forward curved less efficient fans are assigned a lower FMEG figure than higher efficiency backward curved fans, but the figures for forward curved fans are certainly challenging for manufacturers and often the only way to have forward curved impeller units meeting ERP standards, is to use a highly efficient Electronically Commutated EC motor.
In situations where an application may have traditionally used a forward curved single inlet fan with an oversized motor, there had to be a switch out to backward curved fans with smaller motor and higher motor and impeller efficiencies.
In 2015 the second round of ERP was introduced, this was in the same format as ERP 2013 but the efficiency target scores fans and motors had to meet was considerably higher. Again this had the same effect, fans that had marginally made it through the first round of ERP again were killed off and the industry had to push the boundaries of what was possible relating to efficiency.
According to the EU, ventilation units account for 2% of the total EU electricity consumption, making them the most important electricity consumers in the building environment after lighting, heating and cooling. The scope for further reducing the energy consumption of ventilation units is substantial especially as ventilation units may be installed by the hundred throughout a building and in turn connected to a whole building system of ducts and pipes. So changes to the energy efficiency requirements and specific fan power of these can have significant implications on the overall design and performance.
The third round of ERP is set to be even tougher but is not yet confirmed when this will be enforced, this new regulation is set out to achieve maximum efficiency possible and will effectively kill off certain types of inefficient, energy consuming fans. For now companies such as Axair Fans will be encouraging their technical teams to fully understand the forthcoming regulations and work closely with the fan manufacturers association (FMA) and other responsible industry bodies to ensure that the industrial fans available to manufacturers and consultants adheres to the next stage in the directive.