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Practice & Operations

Pump Performance
Juned Ansari, Secure Meters Limited

A Comparison Between Conventional and Thermodynamic Methods

E Thermodynamic Method
nergy conservation is the need of the hour. Pumps
are found in abundance in almost every industry and Unlike conventional methods involving ow measurements
utility. Of them, the most common are centrifugal for eciency evaluation, the thermodynamic method mea-
pumps due to their great versatility and wider operating sures the ineciency of the machine, making the readings
range. hey vary in size from a few kilowatts to towering more reliable. his is an ideal method. It is suitable for
megawatts and operate between eciencies of 20 and 90 per- smaller machines, too. he method is based on the rst law
cent. A poorly selected pump or a pump that does not run of thermodynamics and requires dierential pressure and
at optimum design duty point is a classic symbol of wasted temperature measurements across the machine to evaluate
energy. It, therefore, becomes important to evaluate the per- its eciency. When this is combined with power measure-
formance of these pumps using the available methods. ments, ow can be accurately calculated as shown below:
he operating versatility of centrifugal pumps have
made them widely used despite the fact that this versatil- 1 Pi x m x p
p = Q=
ity does not guarantee an energy ecient operation over a Cp x T xgxH
wide operating range. A centrifugal pump is most ecient
at its best eciency point (BEP), which may or may not be
( 1+
its duty point. Again, the important term is operating point Where,
rather than the duty point or BEP, which may or may not Cp = Speciic heat of the luid (KJ/Kg-K)
coincide with the latter two. herefore, selecting the proper T = Diferential temperature across the pump in mK
pump for a particular application becomes important, giving (milli Kelvin)
due consideration to the future requirements and attempting H = Pump head in meters (m)
not to under- or overestimate the design margins and end up Pi = Input power to the motor in kW
with an undersized or oversized pump. p = Pump eiciency (%)
When a centrifugal pump is already in place, nothing Q = Pump low rate in m3s
much can be done except to evaluate, accurately, the operat- m = Motor eiciency (%)
ing point and the associated parameters governing the spe-
cic power consumption and to make the pump operate as his method has been widely used for more than 25
close as possible to the duty point to attain energy eciency years on more than 12,000 pumps, blowers, compressors
in a real sense. his can be achieved either by measuring the and hydro turbines throughout the world with great success.
ow, power and head and calculating the eciency (conven-
tional method) or measuring the eciency, power and head Need for Performance Evaluation
and calculating the ow (thermodynamic technique). As stated earlier, centrifugal pumps ratings vary from a few
With the increasing cost of electricity, more importance kilowatts to megawatts. Even the operating eciencies vary
is due to the operational costs rather than the capital cost between 20 and 90 percent. Monitoring the operating e-
of the machine set. his approach is life cycle cost (LCC) ciencies becomes critical to get an idea of the energy savings
of the asset. On average, depending on the application, the potential and also to visualize the asset condition. he poorer
operational cost is almost 60 to 65 percent of the total LCC the machine, the more the operating cost and the higher the
of the machine. his article discusses the advantages of asset energy savings potential.
performance evaluation using the thermodynamic method A pump operating away from its duty point badly aects
instead of the conventional method.


Practice & Operations

Figure 1. The BEP, duty point and operating point Figure 2. The radial force variation

the life of the seals, bearings, wear rings and shaft. he radial USFM requires at least 10 times the pump ange diameter of
forces in the pump are lowest at the duty point and increases straight length pipe work for its installation. his number limits
with the shifting of the operating point on either side of it. the accuracy of the ow measurement for existing installations
herefore, to maintain the assets integrity, to have a record of in which such distances are not available. All these limitations
the operating eciency and assess the energy savings potential, make the conventional methods uncertainty higher than that
pump monitoring becomes a regular requirement. of the thermodynamic method. Sample calculations in Table 1
illustrate this fact.
Advantages of the Thermodynamic he pump eciency calculated conventionally is 80.25
Versus the Conventional Method percent. he uncertainty associated with the eciency calcula-
he conventional method involves the measurement of ow for tion is 5.05 percent using the root mean square method. he
an eciency calculation. So, its accuracy largely depends on uncertainties in power and ow measurement are assumed to be
the accuracy of the ow measurement in addition to that of 0.7 percent and 5 percent respectively, while the uncertainty
power and head. However, using the best of techniques, the in specic hydraulic energy is calculated as 0.31 percent.
ow measurement accuracyusing a non-intrusive, ultrasonic he uncertainty in eciency is directly governed by the
ow meter (USFM)is bound to be less than 5 percent in uncertainty in ow measurement. herefore, the ow measure-
the eld. his can be improved by increasing the number of ment has to be most accurate to precisely evaluate the pump
passes with a USFM or permanently installing a magnetic eciency using the conventional method.
ow meter in the line. Both these, however, are not justied he pump eciency calculated by the thermodynamic
as the former makes the eciency evaluation too costly while method is 83.73 percent. he uncertainty associated with e-
the latter requires pipeline modication (cutting the pipe and ciency calculation is 2.11 percent using the root mean square
installing the magnetic ow meter) for permanent installation. method. he uncertainties in pressure, velocity head, elevation
Noise and vibration is another factor that largely inuences head and dierential temperature are assumed as 0.3 percent,
the accuracy of ow measurement and, therefore, the eciency 5 percent, 0.01 meter and 3 milli Kelvin, respectively.
calculation. Besides this, accurate ow measurement using It can be seen that the uncertainty in eciency is directly

Table 1. Conventional test data

Suction Suction Suction Delivery Delivery Delivery Measured Motor Measured Pump
Pressure Probe Pipe Pressure Probe Pipe Power Efficiency Flow l/s Efficiency
kPa Elevation Diameter kPa Elevation Diameter kW % %
mm mm mm mm
23.44 120 400 637.39 120 300 120.34 94.34 148.12 80.25


Table 2. Thermodynamic test data (Remaining data is the same as above)
Differential Water Measured Motor Pump Calculated Uncertainty in
Temperature mK Temperature C Power kW Efficiency % Efficiency % Pump Flow l/s Efficiency %
34.54 14.12 120.34 94.34 83.73 154.42 2.11

governed by the uncertainty in the dierential temperature energy management group.

measurement. herefore, the dierential temperature measure- Energy savings potential helps the plant personnel with
ment has to be most accurate to precisely evaluate the pump decision making. It helps them decide whether to undertake
eciency using thermodynamic method. a particular project on a monetary savings basis or not. It also
helps them decide whether to go for reaping clean development
Conclusion mechanism (CDM) benets or carbon credit earnings. All in
As seen above, uncertainty in the eciency evaluation is high all, if the factor used for decision making in itself is misleading,
at 5.05 percent for the conventional method as compared the decisions will also be misleading. his will eat up the noble
to 2.11 percent for the thermodynamic method. Moreover, cause of energy management and energy conservation. It is rec-
uncertainty with the conventional method will likely get worse ommended to get your energy consuming pumps (for example,
at lower ows for the same pump curve due to the induction of boiler feed, cooling water and condensate extraction pumps)
turbulence and noise in the ow. tested thermodynamically to supplement decision power.
It is also worthwhile to note that the conventional method P&S
may misguide plant personnel as it has a tendency to make a Juned Ansari is a gold medalist mechanical engineer and a
pump look better or worse depending on the ow measure- qualied energy auditor working as energy eciency ana-
ment. During the acceptance testing for new installations, it lyst at Secure Meters Limited. he companys website can be
may cause outright rejection or acceptance of the pump, which reached at Ansari can be reached
may cause losses to the company or the pump manufacturer. at or junedansari@hot-
At the same time, it has an equal tendency to show a higher
or lower energy savings potential, which is misleading for the

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