What is the imop?
The imop is an innovative device designed to optimise electricity consumption —
‘imop’ being a more user-friendly term for ‘inductive motor optimisation panel’. It can be used on heaters, motors, some fluorescent lighting, any ‘inductive load’ — in
other words, any piece of equipment that relies on a magnetic field for operation.
The imop is installed as near to the motor as possible, either on the floor or mounted on the wall. It only takes up about as much space as a briefcase but each one is individually tailored as a result of a patented diagnostic device known as a sizing kit. This is designed to precisely optimise each inductive load to its maximum efficiency, also known as power factor correction
The clever box
The sizing kit is unique to the imop system, and the reason we can confidently boast that we have no competitors. Five years in development, this innovative box of tricks immediately selects the correct size of imop required to make the inductive load work at its most effective. So when one of our specially trained electricians visits a potential client’s site, he or she can instantly demonstrate and guarantee the electrical savings on each piece of equipment. Without the sizing kit, the costs associated with precisely defining the inductive load requirements would be too great to be economically feasible. And the beauty of the imop system is that we can demonstrate and prove the energy savings before the client has had to spend any money.
How the imop works
Electrical power is made up of two components: active power and reactive power. Active power is referred to as the ‘useful’ or working energy source, which enables the electrical equipment to perform its function. Reactive power, however, does not perform ‘useful’ work. Its only function is to develop the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in order to grind the induction windings of the motor.
The imop works by reclaiming, storing and then supplying the reactive power element of electricity to inductive motors and loads. As the electrical equipment operates, this reactive power is ‘pulled and pushed’ to and from the imop by the motor. Reactive power is then recycled by the imop, which is able to supply it on the spot without having to draw it from the national grid. Saving on electricity bills is just one of the benefits because the motors will also run cooler and more efficiently, and of course require less maintenance. Since cooler motors live considerably longer there is the added bonus of reduced expenditure on capital purchases.
Why use the imop?
Demand for electricity is expected to increase over the next ten years but capacity will not increase in line with requirements. In some countries, this is already a major problem. In South Africa, Dubai and India the electricity supply is frequently disrupted or even turned off because of national power shortages.
In Europe, the pressure is on governments to be able to generate enough electricity and still satisfy the carbon emission targets set by 20-20-20. But with renewable resources still unable to contribute anything but a fraction of electricity requirements, governments have added another strand in their strategy to avoid an energy crisis.
Instead of producing more electricity, penalise anyone who is perceived as wasting it. Force businesses to reduce their electricity consumption or make them pay the price. Enforce stricter controls on inefficient equipment and encourage a more energy-efficient approach to replacement technologies. Add in stringent carbon tariffs to encourage green consciousness or, again, make companies accountable for their ‘excesses’.
In the UK alone, energy prices are set to rise by as much as 25% by 2020 — and may
spike even higher in the interim. With a guaranteed return on investment of less than three years, can any business user afford not to consider an imop?
GREEN AND LEAN: The imop ticks all the boxes
Saves on energy bills – instantly
Reduces amps by up to 50%
Energy savings can be demonstrated at survey stage for 100% consumer confidence Reduces carbon emissions
Reduces motor heat
Equipment works more efficiently
Motors require less maintenance
Equipment has a longer lifespan
Fast and simple installation
Rapid return on investment
Profits increased in a critical economic climate
Can easily be retro-fitted
Accreditation from the Carbon Trust & Tritech ETV
Our energy-saving claims have been independently verified by the European Union’s Environmental Technologies Verification scheme (Tritech ETV). Funded by the EU’s Life Environment Programme, this new scheme validates the performance of green-based technologies. As well as Tritech certification, the imop qualifies for funding under the Carbon Trust’s interest-free loan scheme. See Funding
The UK’s Carbon Trust are so convinced of the benefits of the imop it already qualifies
for installation under their interest-free loan scheme. So, in the UK, you can instantly start making savings on your electricity bill, avoid attracting associated government charges for carbon emissions and gain green credentials without making any initial investment if you meet Carbon Trust criteria.
The imop is a custom-built unit manufactured to Ip65 standards with CE approval. With no moving parts, failure rates are extremely low. Even so, we provide a product warranty for five years. In terms of health and safety, the imop is wired in parallel therefore will not affect the normal working of the inductive load in the unlikely event that a failure occurred.
Distributors FAQs Contact us News How electricity is generated and arrives at your premises
Around the world, many different energy sources are used to generate electricity at power plants. What they all have in common is the need to produce enough energy to drive the blades of gigantic turbines that will in turn generate electricity.
Traditionally, fossil fuels, oil, nuclear fission and gas are used to heat water in furnaces to produce steam vapour that will eventually move the blades of the turbines. In the case of gas, it can also be used to produce hot combustion gases that pass directly through and spin the blades of the turbines. So far as green technologies are concerned, hydro and wind power also use direct systems for converting energy into electricity; whereas geothermal, solar thermal and biomass methods (increasingly used in countries such as India) rely on producing enough heat to create steam as the first part of the process.
Inside the turbine, the heat energy is converted into mechanical energy with the spinning blades. These operate a generator, which converts the mechanical energy into electricity.
The electricity produced by the generator travels from the power plant along cables to a ‘step-up’ transformer. This raises the pressure of the electricity from low voltage to high voltage. The reason for this is that, by increasing the voltage, electricity can be carried more efficiently across long distances – it can be raised as high as 756,000
volts. Then, power lines are used to carry the electric current to sub-station transformers, where the voltage is reduced to between 2,000 and 13,000 volts. From the sub-station, electricity is run through further power lines to another transformer (either on a pole or underground), where the pressure is lowered again to between 120-415 volts prior to being distributed directly into premises.
Electricity: supply versus demand
Unless there is a dramatic cut in usage, customers are going to be paying sharply higher energy bills by 2020, according to the UK energy regulator Ofgem. Energy prices will rise by up to 25% and could spike even higher in the interim. “Life could get pretty cold”, says Ofgem chief executive, Alastair Buchanan, unless the UK implements an investment programme in the region of ?200 billion to prevent demand outstripping supply.
Many large electricity generators are due to close in 2015 because they will be unable to meet stringent European Union emissions targets and air quality standards
set down in the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD). Of these, some will be existing nuclear plants, all but one of which will have closed by 2023 (Sizewell B).
Of course, there has been endless speculation about the creation of new nuclear plants, but it is unlikely that they can be built in time to avert a crisis. The UK has a legally-binding target to ensure 15% of our energy comes from renewable sources by 2020, but at the moment that figure is at about 7%.
There seems little doubt that current and immediate-future production is going to centre on traditional sources such as gas, fossil fuels and oil – with the attendant
disadvantages of fluctuating commodity prices.
Distributors FAQs Contact us News Inductive motor
Electric current as it is supplied by a utility company is actually comprised of two components: active power and reactive power. Active power, which produces ‘useful’ work, is measured in kilowatts (KW or 1000 watts). Reactive power, which performs no ‘useful’ work, is needed to generate the magnetic fields required for the operation of inductive electrical equipment. It is measured in KVAR (1000 Volt-Amperes reactive). The total power, or combination of the two, is measured in KVA (1000 Volt-Amperes). The ratio of active power to total power is referred to as the power factor (or pf).
The imop is an ‘inductive motor optimisation panel’ designed to be installed at or near to inductive electrical equipment. It is able to optimise the power factor of that electrical equipment close to 1.0 (or unity). It does this by providing the reactive power needed by the inductive electrical equipment, thereby replacing the reactive power previously supplied by the utility company. Since the reactive current required by the inductive equipment is now being provided by the imop, the current flowing through the distribution system is significantly reduced.
Use of the imop also results in improved voltage regulation (because of reduced line voltage drop). This directly results in motors performing more efficiently, which means less energy turning into heat in the windings. Since cool motors last longer, this is just one of the many benefits of using the imop.
When it comes to billing, it is common for utility companies to apply an extra charge to compensate them for the capital investment they have had to make to serve a facility’s peak load. By improving the power factor to close to 1.0 (or unity), this will reduce this peak load and result in further cost savings.
Cool motors live longer
The carbon footprint left by inefficient motors has been the focus of attention by European Union research bodies for some time. According to a 2006 status report on Electricity Consumption & Efficiency Trends in the Enlarged European Union, 65% of total industry consumption in the EU was attributable to motor-driven systems such as pumps, compressors, ventilation etc. Furthermore, motor-driven systems were responsible for 10-20% of losses in electricity consumption in the process of converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.
It is a known fact that an extra 10 degrees C in a motor’s temperature will reduce its
life by half. By ensuring the running temperature is reduced to its designed parameters, an imop not only increases the lifespan of the motor but also reduces its carbon emissions.
Global power factor correction
Anyone who has global power factor correction installed may believe that they have already increased their building’s efficiency. This is a common misconception. Global power factor correction only improves the power factor (or pf) from where the unit is installed back to the electricity supplier. In fact, the only savings that are being made are between the global pf correction unit and the meter. Often these are installed next to each other anyway!
Unlike global power factor correction, imops ensure power savings are made throughout the infrastructure of the building. The fact that they are located on individual pumps etc means that they are able to make the electrical savings from each point, throughout the building infrastructure back to the meter.
Distributors FAQs Contact us News Glossary – some of the
Alternating current. This is where the current first flows one way, then the other (repeatedly). Mains electricity is alternating current.
The measurement used for current.
A charge storage device. It allows AC signals to pass through but it blocks DC signals.
The amount of electricity present or flowing. A charge can be positive or negative. There is an electric field in the vicinity of a charge. A charge can be stored in a capacitor or battery.
The flow of charge through a system. Current has two forms, AC and DC.
This is where the current flows in the same direction at all times. It normally implies constant value as well as direction. Batteries produce direct current.
A measure of work done.
The relationship between voltage, current and resistance. It only applies to resistive loads.
The measure of work done in a period of time. If a battery contains a certain amount of energy it can power a device for a period of time. If the power requirement is less, the battery can power the piece of equipment for longer.
The resistance to the current flow, an important concept in any electrical circuit.
Electrical pressure. It can be likened to the amount of pressure water creates on the walls of a reservoir as the level rises.
Case studies and testimonials of the imop in action Company: Nampak
Business: Packaging & Print
Location: Gillingham, Kent, UK
Nampak commissioned independent testing of the imop to establish the electrical and carbon savings achievable in their business. The equipment selected was on a printing line and it already had an inverter installed. The equipment was in use for 16 hours per day, 20 days per month.
Based on the running time of the machine, the electrical savings were identified as 44,928 KWh per annum. This equates to a 15.96% reduction in the electrical costs for running this piece of equipment. It also represents a carbon tonne reduction of 24.12tCO2e.
Furthermore, the relationship between the costs of the installation of the imop and the savings achieved meant a return on investment for Nampak of just 10.8 months.
To view the full report, download the Nampak imop case study here.
What does the word imop stand for?
The term imop is an acronym for inductive motor optimisation panel, however it could equally stand for intelligent motor optimisation panel. In an age where companies are not only being encouraged to use energy efficiently but also penalised for excessive carbon emissions, the imop allows a more intelligent approach to electricity consumption. Back to top
How does the imop save me money?
The imop is installed as close to the motors or electrical equipment as possible. Reactive energy is stored within the imop unit itself, and this supplies the motors that same reactive energy that they need to run. Since the reactive energy is stored within the imop, there is no longer a need for it to be supplied by the electricity company.
Now, the power is no longer being pushed through your electrical infrastructure and wasted within your facility. The power being supplied to the individual pumps and motors is as close to 100% efficient (unity) as possible. This is known as optimising the power factor. This results in a cooler distribution system where heat is no longer being lost in the form of watts (the unit in which you are billed). This also accounts for the reduction of between 6% — 25% electricity use, as there is no longer the
need for excess power to be supplied. Instead, it is being constantly stored and recycled between the imop and your motors.
Depending upon the rate structure of your electricity company, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money on your electricity bills — both in terms of
reduced consumption and in avoiding exceeding carbon tariffs. Optimising the power factor can also help to offset the charges some utility companies make to compensate for their capital investment in serving a peak load. Other ancillary benefits to be gained by optimising power factor are lower energy losses, better voltage regulation and released system capacity. Typically, motors show a higher starting torque and a shorter start-up time. By reducing heat in the motors, their lifespan is extended — so there are also gains to be made in capital investment.
The energy-saving claims of the imop have been independently validated by the European Union’s Environmental Technologies Verification (Tritech ETV) scheme for
green-based technologies. Back to top
How does the imop affect my carbon footprint?
Installation of the imop affects an organisation’s carbon footprint in two different ways. Firstly, since the majority of electricity is generated using traditional resources such as gas, fossil fuels and oil, the fact that there is an impact on greenhouse gases is self-evident (see How electricity is generated). What may come as a surprise, however, is the true extent of that impact. The Carbon Trust has a calculation that determines the carbon footprint of every kilowatt of electricity: 1 kilowatt x 0.57302
? 1000 = 0.000573 tonnes of carbon (tCO2e). Consequently, 1 carbon tonne (tCO2e) = 1754.5 kilowatts. See Calculating your carbon footprint
Secondly, the increased lifespan of each motor reduces the frequency of replacing capital equipment and so results in a further carbon saving. As governments in Europe and worldwide start to target every area of industry and commerce to meet looming energy commitments, the pressure will be on every business to establish a strategy for becoming carbon neutral. Back to top
What is power factor correction?
In simple terms, power factor is the efficiency of real power being used compared to the apparent (total) power being supplied. Power factor is often expressed as a percentage, which is a measurement of how efficiently volts and amps work together. Optimum efficiency would be expressed as 1.0 (unity), which represents 100%. If the power factor reading was 0.6, this would mean that the motor, for example, would be running at 60% efficiency (and, of course, 40% inefficiency). Back to top
How much does the imop cost?
The imop starts from just a few hundred pounds sterling, depending on the application. With 93 different custom-built units in the range, the prices are specific to individual motor or equipment loads within each commercial, industrial or public sector installation
The imop can be purchased by contacting a local distributor. If you need help finding a distributor in your area, contact us at minimise Ltd and we will be glad to assist you. Back to top
How big is an imop?
An imop is just a bit bigger than a briefcase. It comes in two depths, 150mm and 200mm, and is 350mm high. CE approved, it can be wall-mounted or installed on the floor and has a sealed, waterproof construction (exceeding the requirements of Ip65). It features a left or right cable exit and is easily retro-fitted. Back to top
Will the imop affect the normal working of my equipment?
Other than affecting motors and equipment in the way it is supposed to, ie making them run more efficiently, the answer is no. The imop is designed to be completely passive. There is no solid-state circuitry and there are no moving parts. In the unlikely event that the imop were to stop working, you would simply stop saving money. Back to top
How close to the motors is the imop installed?
The closer to the inductive load (motor) the imop is installed when the reactive amps are removed (and the power factor is optimised), the greater the overall benefits. Savings are made from the point of the installation of the imop back to the meter,