March 22, 2010
Energy efficient Variable Speed Drive for shipboard motors passes Navy test
Earl Industries, Portsmouth, Va. has passed a significant milestone in a multiyear development program for a new line of energy efficient Variable Speed Drives (VSD) for electric motors that promises energy savings of 30--50 percent compared with traditional motor controllers.
Earl's new 10-horsepower VSD, which uses breakthrough AC-link power conversion and control technology, has successfully completed a series of qualification tests proving the drive meets the electromagnetic interference, power quality, and volume requirements of the Navy's rigorous performance standards and specifications. These tests ensure the device can integrate into a ship's electric power system without affecting power quality or injecting noise into other sensitive shipboard equipments and systems.
Earl's drive is now cleared for installation in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system for the Flexible Infrastructure Space of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va. This next generation HVAC system is designed to support the variable ventilation demands of the rapidly reconfigurable Flexible Infrastructure space.
While the commercial marketplace has used VSD for many years, routinely realizing major energy savings, those drives do not meet the Navy's power quality requirements. Accordingly, they cannot be used in Navy shipboard applications without expensive and inefficient power conditioning and interference filtering electronics.
"The Navy has been trying to put variable speed drives into ships for over 30 years but has been unable to find a drive that meets stringent shipboard requirements," explains RADM Jeff Brooks USN (Ret.), Chief Operating Officer of Earl Industries. "This drive meets all those requirements and allows the Navy to immediately harvest significant energy savings by more efficiently powering shipboard systems."
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has set the Navy ambitious energy goals to reduce petroleum fuel use and adopt alternative and renewable energy. These can best be accomplished through innovative technology such as the AC-link technology used in the Earl VSD. Developed by Earl's team mate, Princeton Power Systems of Princeton, N.J., the AC-link technology is applicable to the many engineering challenges presented by the Navy's long-range shipboard electrification strategy, particularly those outlined in its Next Generation Integrated Power System (NGIPS) program.
"We have been investing aggressively toward new technologies that address the Navy's growing demand for alternative energy and energy savings products," says Jerry Miller, President of Earl Industries, adding that the 10 horsepower VSD is the first in a full series of drives of various frame sizes under development by Earl and Princeton Power Systems.