Software-Controlled Switched Reluctance Motor

Smart motors integrate an innovative electric motor design with a programmable variable-frequency drive (VFD). Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) found that the smart motor was on average 4% more efficient than a premium motor combined with a VFD, and cost about half as much. View full-size infographic. [PDF - 237 KB]

GPG Findings 043, November 2019, Software-Controlled SWITCHED RELUCTANCE MOTOR. Opportunity: Why is GSA interested in smart motors? 38% of Electricity is used by motors in U.S. commercial buildings. 56% of motors are < 5 HP. Technology: What are smart motors? Software-controlled switched reluctance “SMART” MOTOR WITH PROGRAMMABLE VARIABLE-FREQUENCY (VFD) DRIVE. Measurement and Verification: Where did M and V occur? oak ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) assessed a 10 hp smart motor on a chilled water pump application at the Land Port of Entry in San Ysidro, California. A concurrent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) assessment of a 1.5 hp motor took place on condenser fans in a refrigeration system at a Walmart in Lakeside, Colorado. Technology was provided by Software Motor Company. Results: How did the 10 hp smart motor perform in M and V? MORE EFFICIENT under all circumstances.
  4% avg. savings compared to premium-efficient motor/VFD. 33% for 1.5 hp motor compared to standard-efficient motor/VFD (NREL assessment. O&M INSTALLATION COMPARABLE no additional O&M. Drop-in motor replacement.REMOTE MONITORING & CONTROL Possible but not tested. NREL assessment showed successful fault-detection and control.Immediate Payback When Replaced at End-of-Life. 44% less expensive than a code-compliant premium-efficiency motor and VFD. Deployment: When does the study recommend deploying smart motors? end-of-life replacement.Retrofits also worth considering for: fixed-speed motors; motors < 5 hp; and applications with lower installation costs such as motors that control fans. [PDF - 237 KB]

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Last Reviewed: 2022-09-25