Voltage optimisation – an electrical energy saving technique in which a device is installed in series with the mains electricity supply to provide an optimum supply voltage for the site’s equipment – is a technology dedicated to matching power demands to the needs of electrical equipment. The installation of a voltage optimisation system offers a quick, cost effective, and proven method to lower carbon emissions and reduce energy costs.

Dr Alex Mardapittas, managing director of voltage optimisation company EMSc (UK), explains the reason voltage optimisation can have such a significant impact on energy used is because on the whole, it is because the National Grid supplies a higher voltage than is generally required. “Although the nominal voltage in the UK is 230V, the average delivered is actually 242V. This ‘over voltage’ means that energy consumption is significantly greater, the result of which is higher energy bills,” he explained.

“Companies are realising the impact this technology can have and the exceptional results it can deliver. Voltage optimisation saves on average 12% – 15% of total electricity consumption and related CO2 emissions, all without compromising the supply to electrical equipment. The payback period after installing the product is typically between 0.8 and 2.5 years,” added Mardapittas.

In addition to saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, voltage optimisation is proven to improve power quality by balancing phase voltages and filtering harmonics, as well as transients, from the electricity supply, leading to reduced maintenance costs as less demand is placed on electrical equipment.

While virtually any site can benefit from reducing and controlling their voltage, Mardapittas emphasised that savings will be determined by the type of system used, as well as site specifications, as conditions and loads differ from site to site. An installation of the company’s voltage optimisation solution, Powerstar, at AESSEAL’s global headquarters in Rotherham has shown how effective the technology is.

AESSEAL is a major specialist in the design and manufacture of mechanical seals and support systems used in pumps and rotating equipment to prevent liquids and gases from escaping into the equipment, and it has a progressive stance towards improving its environmental performance.

In particular, the company is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions from the use of electricity and, despite an impressive track record in becoming more efficient in managing carbon emissions, AESSEAL is continually looking to find new ways to use energy more efficiently.

Upon recommendation from local MP Denis MacShane, the company invited EMS to carry out an on-site survey and to demonstrate how voltage optimisation could reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Following the site survey a voltage optimisation unit was installed at AESSEAL’s Bradmarsh Business Park operation, where an immediate energy saving of just under six percent and resultant reduction in electricity costs were achieved.

In addition to providing a no maintenance solution with a payback period that met AESSEAL’s expectations, the installation supported the company in achieving its key goals by reducing its direct electricity consumption and associated CO2 emissions. The company also expects a potential positive benefit to equipment life while an online monitoring and targeting tool is enabling it to take further steps to reduce overall electricity consumption.

Chris Rea, managing director of AESSEAL said, “EMS in particular and voltage optimisation equipment in general deserves to be higher up the business and political agenda, and possibly needs to be if the UK is to achieve our targeted CO2 emission reductions. Not only were EMS local, but they were also the best value for money supplier and their customer service, project management and installation support service were exemplary.”

Mardapittas added, “In light of various schemes being implemented to help raise environmental awareness and encouraging changes in behaviour and infrastructure in organisations, the implementation of a voltage optimisation system at AESSEAL has enabled the company to be proactive in taking steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”