Electrical Contracting News (ECN) June 2016 - Page 42

SPECIAL FEATURE RENEWABLES & SUSTAINABILITY CURRENT AFFAIRS Choosing the correct voltage optimisation application can save energy and improve equipment efficiency. Dr Alex Mardapittas of Powerstar discusses voltage optimisation and its benefits for businesses. V oltage optimisation (VO) is a proven and effective technology that has been saving industry millions of pounds in wasted electrical energy. Savings Market-leading VO systems deliver an average annual electricity saving of 1215 per cent, extending to 17 per cent on high voltage side electronic variable optimisation, with the significant proportion of these savings achieved through induced negative power (back EMF). Typical return on investment is between two and three years depending on kWh cost. The concept behind the technology is simple. On the whole, power is supplied at a higher voltage than is necessary. Although the ideal voltage required for most electrical equipment in the UK is 220V, the average delivered is actually 242V – voltage can be delivered at levels as high as 253V. The mismatch between voltage required and voltage delivered results in a waste of energy and, of course, money. VO corrects the over-voltage and brings it in line with the actual needs of the equipment on site, through use of a device installed in series with the mains electricity supply. True voltage optimisation systems will also clean and condition the power supply, reduce power quality issues, such as suppressing harmonics and providing some protection against small power spikes. Why is voltage optimisation required? Voltage optimisation is needed to correct the supply issues caused by the High Voltage infrastructure. The voltage supplied to a site will generally be at a higher level than the equipment on site needs to run effectively. The extra voltage supplied is not needed but ultimately the user will be paying for this. 
If a company operates its own high voltage (HV)/low voltage (LV) infrastructure then it is more efficient to tackle these 42 42-44 R&S – Powerstar.indd 42 12/05/2016 14:20