With greater volumes of groundwater being pumped to meet rising global demand, energy efficient pumping technology is increasingly vital for utilities and companies aiming to reduce energy bills and meet carbon reduction targets.
Groundwater provides drinking water to at least 50% of the global population and accounts for 43% of all irrigation water, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
“There are cities and even countries that depend entirely on groundwater for their water needs,” says Feroz Khan Mohammed Jaffer, Grundfos regional market development manager for groundwater. “This means a lot of energy is consumed extracting groundwater every day.”
Mohammed maintains that any initiative to reduce this power consumption will assist in decreasing the carbon footprint of the groundwater being used.
As a company that is constantly innovating to makes its pumps more energy efficient, Grundfos has recently taken another step significant step forward with its SPE range of groundwater pumps. The new range was released to the global market recently in an online virtual launch.
“The efficiency and reliability of the Grundfos SPE range makes it a best-in-class groundwater pumping system,” Mohammed says. “Lower running costs and lower maintenance costs mean even more economical cost of ownership for municipalities, utilities and other users.”
Kim Jensen, Grundfos senior vice president for water utility solutions and marketing, highlights that the company cares about water and the climate. With its understanding of local regulations and international standards, Grundfos has long been a trusted partner in the market.
“It’s the first time we have introduced permanent magnet (PM) motors to our submersible pumps,” says Jensen. “This allows customers to save on energy consumption and to conduct smarter asset management.”
The inclusion of PM motors in the Grundfos SPE pumps means significant energy savings into the future, according to Jakob Overgaard, Grundfos global chief product manager for water utility and submersibles.
“Our field trials show that customers have experienced energy savings of 20 to 30% and even more,” says Overgaard. “This means a payback time as short as one to two years.”
Grundfos has extensive experience in the use of permanent magnets in its smaller solar pumps, where this technology has been employed for 20 years already, says Mohammed. The company’s SQF solar pumps have been well proven in community water supply, for instance, including remote villages where grid power is not available. This range only goes up to 1,4 kW, however the Grundfos SPE range extends from 7,5 kW to 45 kW.
“There is a significant efficiency gain in the SPE range, with a 90% plus motor efficiency in the PM motor compared to the 80% plus of the standard asynchronous motor,” he says. “Remember that this comparison is between Grundfos asynchronous motors, so the gain would be even more when compared to other asynchronous motors in the market.”
As solar power becomes more popular as a renewable power source in remote areas, the efficiency of the Grundfos SPE range brings further savings in the number of solar panels required and the space necessary for solar facilities, he says.
The Grundfos SPE pumps are available in nine nominal flow rates – SPE 17 to SPE 215 – allowing a maximum flow rate of 300 cubic metres per hour and a maximum head of 670 metres. There are three material variants for different applications – SS304 for drinking water, SS316 for slightly aggressive water; and SS904L for aggressive water. The pumps can withstand liquid temperatures of up to 60⁰C.
“The SPE system includes a variable frequency drive (VFD) for operating the PM motor, adjusting the speed of the motor to control its performance and run it at close to its best efficiency point,” Mohammed says. “This optimises not only the energy consumption but also the reliability.”
VFDs also allow for smooth start-up and slow-down, reducing motor stress and protecting against over-load or under-load, as well as over-voltage or under-voltage.