Submersed efficiency

After listening to its customers, ABS has created a new range of submersible sewage pumps with premium efficiency motors

A chance to go back to the drawing board and create a product from scratch,
based entirely on drivers given by your customers, is not a situation that comes long too often, but this is exactly what gave rise to the new ABS EffeX range. At the UK launch on 15 October at the Williams F1 Conference Centre, the reasons why a company would go to these lengths rather than just improving existing designs quickly became clear.

Paul Fisher, technical standards manager at Severn Trent Water, explained: "If you look at efficiency in relation to the CRC, 60% of Severn Trent's energy use is pumps. "In the last financial year we used 922GWh. As much as 163GWh of this is supplied from a big renewables programme but, even so, in strategic terms, pressures on operation expense are critical, so lowering whole life cost is the key."

The result of ABS's efforts is the world's first range of submersible sewage pumps with premium efficiency motors, compliant with the IE3 standard and offering efficiencies in excess of 93.9%. The company has coupled these superefficient motors with a brand new hydraulic, offering total efficiency increases of up to 20% and a raft of additional benefits.

Clive Patten, ABS UK MD, outlined some of them. "The EffeX pump represents one of the best whole life cost options available, a 15-20% efficiency saving in real terms means a significant cost saving, plus it has implications for sustainability. It will mean less CO2 output, the ability to repair rather than replace means huge savings and the new design has a fantastic capacity to avoid blockages, which will mean less downtime for pumping stations," he said.

"Other systems address the ragging problem by reversing the pump but our solution removes this problem at the design stage." The numbers are impressive - the bearings used in the EffeX range have been bulked up, giving guaranteed lifespans of 50,000 hours for the smaller units (under 9KWh) and 100,000
hours for the larger units. The impeller is an all-new design as well, created to deal with sewage media with as little need for a cutting solution as possible.

Ciaran Quirke, ABS global product manager, wastewater collection, was part of the team responsible and explained further: "Many of the solutions employed today are dependent on cutting - when this function is lost the system no longer performs, energy consumption increases and eventually breakdowns occur.

"Our research shows that 60% of all pump station breakdowns are pump related and, of these, around 60% are due to clogging. The EffeX range overcomes this by employing an impeller that deals directly with 80% of the problem, with only a 20% need for cutting." This is a problem that is set to become more and more critical - the ABS research also showed that as water usage in homes decreases the rag to water concentration in the system is increasing, while more and more products are being flushed that do not break down in water.

This perhaps explains the 5,000 man hours that the company devoted purely to watching how rags in water behave. Ciaran Quirke explains: "We quickly found
that most often it was the leading edge of the impeller that was the key area responsible for clogging, so we optimised our design using a variety of cutting-edge techniques to prevent this and create an action whereby clogging is not an issue."

In simple terms the new impeller appears to use a 'scooping' action to swiftly pull in the rags and pass them through the system without harm. At the launch, the assembled industry stakeholders raised the question of cost, and once again the ABS team was prepared, offering an online tool that will calculate the savings the new technology will bring and even demonstrate how quickly this money will allow a shift from 'fire-fighting' to preventative maintenance.

The team is also lobbying Defra to include this type of product within the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme - a change that may take a couple of years but will then assist the industry as a whole to move to these more sustainable technologies. This is being done in partnership with the industry, including Severn Trent Water, as Paul Fisher outlined: "With products like this the OPEX savings will be high. We will support the push to add this type of product to the ECA as it will then encourage the industry to adopt them, which is better for both energy efficiency and also reducing carbon."

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