European Motor Renovation Initiative (EU-MORE): Embracing Energy-Efficient Motors for a Sustainable Future

The European Motor Renovation (EU-MORE) initiative aims to accelerate the replacement of old, inefficient electric motors used in industry and the service sector. In the EU, these two sectors accounted for approximately 900TWh of energy use per year, as of 2020. The EU’s Ecodesign Directive sets minimum efficiency levels for sales of new motors and has made the international IE4 (super premium efficiency) energy-efficiency level mandatory for certain categories by July 2023. As a result, the EU will become the first region in the world to mandate this high level of efficiency. However, its impact on energy savings at national level is hindered by low replacement rates. While theoretic lifetimes for motors range from 12 to 20 years, in practice these motors often have long lifetimes up to 30 to 40 years, leading to a slow replacement rate and limited energy savings. The EU-MORE project seeks to develop new policies and tools to accelerate the replacement of old, inefficient motors. The savings opportunity could reach up to 100 TWh/year, which represents the electricity consumption of the Netherlands. 100 TWh/year, which represents the electricity consumption of the Netherlands.

The success of the EU-MORE initiative relies on the cooperation between various stakeholders, such as:

  • Policymakers: Develop and enforce energy-efficient regulations to push industries to adopt modern and energy-efficient motors.
  • Industry Leaders: Increase investments in energy-efficient technologies and participate in the early replacement of old, inefficient electric motors.
  • Researchers and Technical Experts: Gather data, design tools for projection and monitoring, and provide expertise on new and emerging energy-efficient technologies.

These stakeholders must collaboratively work together to ensure the timely advancement and implementation of environmental policies and practices, ultimately achieving the energy-savings potential offered by the EU-MORE initiative. An essential component of the EU-MORE Initiative is forging strong partnerships and collaborations between various stakeholders, including policymakers, industries and experts in the field of energy efficiency. Partners include research institutions, energy NGOs and industry leaders which provide specialized technical expertise to the program implementation. These partnerships will be vital in ensuring the initiative is well-supported, benefits from diverse expertise and remains aligned with current trends and innovations in energy-efficient motor technologies. The EU-MORE is funded by the European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency1.

Advancing Environmental Protection with New Technology

With electric motors accounting for around 50 percent of global electricity consumption, investing in more energy-efficient models can significantly reduce environmental impact. Worldwide, the adoption of energy-efficient electric motors could lead to an annual 185 million tonne reduction in CO2 emissions. The shift toward energy-efficient motors also offers considerable economic advantages. The use of energy-efficient electric motors can result in lower electricity bills for users. In addition, retrofits present a unique opportunity to address measures that can contribute to further savings, such as appropriate motor sizing, digitalization, sensorization and elimination of unnecessary transmissions. The EU-MORE initiative aims to accelerate the adoption rate of these energy-efficient motors in industrial sectors, which will undoubtedly lead to further technological advancements in the field.

Implementing the EU-MORE Initiative

A key strategy of the EU-MORE initiative is the development and implementation of a policy framework that captures the benefits of early motor replacement, facilitating the adoption of higher energy-efficiency motors and other associated saving measures. In doing so, the program aims to:

  • Assist EU Member States in meeting their energy-efficiency targets, beginning with an initial baseline assessment.
  • Develop a model to analyze policy impact, gathering data and modeling the influence of various policy scenarios on energy use and emissions.
  • Increase adoption of energy-efficient motors by linking motor renovation with energy-efficiency best practices.
  • Promote the circularity of valuable raw materials used in energy-efficient motors, such as copper—the best nonprecious conductor of heat and electricity.

Recognizing the importance of capacity building and training, the EU-MORE Initiative also seeks to empower local stakeholders with the necessary knowledge and skills on best practices of motor renovation, contributing to accelerate the implementation of energy-efficient motor technology in the European market.Additionally, this focus on training will facilitate the growth of a workforce that is capable of implementing and maintaining complex energy-efficiency projects, thereby contributing to the overall goals of the European Green Deal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in the EU.

Funding under the LIFE call, LIFE-2021-CET-POLICY, with grant agreement N° 101076631.

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