Jon Jensen of SMC, Immediate Past President of the International Fluid Power Society, opened up the first Energy Efficient Hydraulics and Pneumatics Conference at the Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel on Tuesday. Jensen explained that the registered attendance was 107, an excellent showing for a first-time event.
What I found most impressive was that this represented a first-ever collaboration (that I know of) between the three main fluid power organizations here in the U.S.—the IFPS, the National Fluid Power Association and the Fluid Power Distributors Association. While the three groups are not strictly competitive in nature, there is certainly some overlap between them, and it was refreshing to see them work together to advance the interests of fluid power technology.
Kim Stelson of the University of Minnesota and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (photo above right) kicked off the presentations with some inspiring numbers.
Fluid power transmits between 2.3 and 3.0% of the energy consumed in the U.S. The average efficiency of a fluid power system is 21% So, a 5% improvement over 5 years, simply using best practices, would result in annual savings of $9-11 BILLION dollars and an annual reduction of 33 million metric tons of CO2.
Stelson also pointed out sources of inefficiency, including:
• Inefficient designs (throttling valves)
• Inefficient components (inappropriate pump for the application, inappropriate fluid)
• Ineffective control (need to add sensors and actuators)
• Poorly sized components (too large for application)
• Poorly maintained systems