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If half of Britain’s electric motors reduced their speed by 10 per cent, it would reduce carbon emissions equal to 9.8 million executive saloon cars.

According to Gambica, a UK body representing automation and control manufacturers, the simple control of electric motors has been overlooked as a significant energy-conservation measure.

By doing as Gambica suggests and controlling motors, a populace equivalent to nearly four million households would be rendered carbon neutral – at an average of 6.5 tonnes of emissions per household.

Similarly, long-term consideration is given to reducing car-exhaust emissions by both vehicle design and discouraging car use, yet the expedient of controlling electric motors in building and industry will achieve a greater net effect in the short term.

Likewise in electricity generation, where exploration of renewable and green energy continues apace, while controlling electric motors would save the entire output of Drax, the UK’s largest coal-fired power station, every year.

The reason the savings are so great is that electric motors consume huge amounts of electricity – about two-thirds of industrial energy use and about one quarter of total UK consumption.

A simple electric motor costing a few hundred pounds can be expected to consume many tens of thousands of pounds of electricity over its useful lifetime.

The laws of physics concerning fans mean that for every 10 per cent reduction in speed, in accordance with the cube law of fans, there is a subsequent saving of three times that in electricity consumed.

‘It is time for the government and the institutional energy-efficiency bodies to bring, by whatever means, pressure to bear on users of electric motors to control them efficiently.

‘With rapidly rising energy costs one would think this would happen as a natural course but it is clear that carrots and sticks are required,’ said Steven Brambley of Gambica.

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