Principal investigator: Kofi Adu, Gary Weisel and Mihai Comanescu
University: The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona
Industry partner: Electric Motor & Supply, Inc.
Electric motor driven systems account for 43% to 46% global energy consumption, giving rise to approximately 6040Mt of CO2 emissions. By 2030 global energy consumed by electric motors is expected to reach 13360 TWh per year, generating 8570 Mt of CO2 emissions per year. In the US, more than 68% of electricity consumed for process and non-process end uses drives machine systems. Thus, more efficient electric machines could yield major reductions in energy consumption and environmental impacts. Energy losses in motors fall in five categories: core, stray load, windage and friction, stator resistance (I2R) and rotor resistance (I2R) losses. The I2R losses are very significant in motors operating at powers < 500 HP, especially for small motors operating at powers < 1 HP (losses are > 55%). The most viable way to reduce losses and enhance efficiency is to reduce I2R losses. Further improvements in efficiency through conventional state-of-the-art approaches are becoming very cost prohibitive and extremely difficult as they approach their limits. The next efficiency breakthrough will likely be reducing the heat generation in the motor’s conductors. This can be achieved by increasing the thermal and electrical conductive properties of the motor conductors. We already have developed a novel manufacturing system for continuous production of high-performance ultra-conductor wires. The main goal of this proposal is to streamline the manufacturing process of these ultra-conductor wires. Such ultra-conductors could revolutionize the electrical cable and motor industries while reducing electrical energy demands and associated greenhouse gas emissions. This process will directly address three state and national priorities: (1) sustainable local, state and national prosperity (2) national energy security and (3) advancing knowledge to sustain US global leadership. This proposal is a joint collaboration between Penn State-Altoona and the Electric Motor Supply, also in Altoona Pennsylvania.