The Energy Department today announced up to $20 million in available funding to spur the development of high speed industrial motors and drives, using high power-density designs and integrated power electronics to increase efficiency. The industrial sector consumes over a quarter of the electricity produced in the United States and is projected to increase its use by approximately 30% by 2040.
Replacing less efficient systems that have fixed-speed motors and gearboxes with variable-speed direct-drive motor systems and incorporating recent power electronics advances, such as wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, could help industry save on energy costs and improve their competitiveness. WBG components—which control or convert electrical energy into usable power—can operate at higher temperatures, voltages, and frequencies, and are more durable and reliable than silicon-based counterparts. In fact, widely deploying these WBG system electronics could save 2% to 4% in industry's electricity consumption and billions of dollars. Details