Copper: The ‘green’ material for energy efficiency
By E Swanepoel, Copper Development Association Africa (CDAA)
Download the full article on Copper: The 'green' material for energy efficiency in PDF format.
Electricity+Control, November 2013 (pages 48 - 49)
Around the world, energy demands are growing at a rapid pace, and developing countries outrank industrialised nations with projected increases in electricity consumption. Given that motors and motor driven systems consume 43 to 46% of electricity worldwide and that inefficient electric motors waste electrical energy, copper is essential for building the energy systems of the future.
Increasing the amount of copper in motor windings and coils in an energy-efficient motor reduces resistant current losses, thereby saving electrical energy and reducing electricity requirements. Second only to silver, copper has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals. Copper is commonly used in motors, including the highest quality motors because of its high electrical conductivity. Copper is an excellent metal for motor windings and coils because it has less electrical resistance than almost any other non-precious metal; it is easily made into wires; it is not too expensive; it can perform and survive at high temperatures and it can easily be recycled when the motor needs to be replaced.
Electrical equipment that contains more copper runs cooler and saves money. The more copper that electrical equipment windings and cabling contain, the less costly energy will be lost as heat. Copper upsizing also minimises costly operations problems, particularly downtime due to overheated or failed equipment. Reliability and service life of electrical equipment are substantially increased and there can be significant savings in the cost of air handling and cooling that is no longer needed.
Energy efficiency brings a competitive advantage and copper can play an important role in achieving this.
- Copper is essential for building the energy systems of the future.
- Copper is commonly used in motors because of its high electrical conductivity.
- Increasing the amount of copper in motor windings and coils in an energy-efficient motor reduces resistant current losses.