Water is the biggest challenge now facing the MENA region. Yet with dwindling supplies and the ever-increasing cost of distribution and waste, we are continuing to rely on old and inefficient pumping systems to deliver the water our homes and businesses need to survive. waterHQ asked Tolga Candan, a multi-disciplinary engineer at Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer and a global trendsetter in water and energy efficiency solutions what they are doing to help improve this.
waterHQ: Why are pumps such a big issue for MENA?
Tolga Candan: A rapidly growing population and high levels of tourism across the Middle East and North Africa have led to high demand for houses, hospitals, airports and infrastructure in general. This, in turn, has meant increased demand for water and, of course, water pumps, which day in and day out make MENA businesses run smoothly.
Over the past 20 years or so, pressure on our construction industry to deliver ever-more buildings has led them to focus on initial construction cost. There has been little or no consideration for ongoing operational costs, even though, in the case of pumps, these account for some 85 percent of the lifetime costs. As a result, insufficient thought has been given to pump specification and, today, many pumps are running inefficiently, with many oversized or poorly matched to demand patterns.
Pumps account for a massive 10 percent of the world’s total electricity consumption. Experience has shown, however, that replacing old pumps with new high efficiency models can cut energy usage by up to 60 percent, so they are a natural target for government and for companies striving to improve their CO2 footprint to meet DSCE’s 2030 energy reduction target.
The message is beginning to be heard, but although we are continuing to see growth in high efficiency pumping systems for new buildings, the immediate challenge for many companies and individuals lies in addressing their existing pumping systems. Thus, we expect retrofit to become a major issue going forward.
waterHQ: What is Grundfos doing to address the situation?
Candan: Grundfos is committed to changing the way the world looks at and uses pumps. We have used our wealth of knowledge and experience and invested heavily in pushing the limits in ‘intelligent’ pumping systems. These next-generation systems ‘think’ for themselves, reacting automatically to changes in demand, cutting water waste and operating at optimum efficiency 100 percent of the time – all whilst delivering massive lifetime savings in energy use and cost.
As part of our support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SGD6 and SDG13, which focus on improving water and sanitation supplies and fighting Climate Change, we are also spearheading efforts to upgrade existing pumps.
We now offer free Energy Checks to help users identify and address the worst offending pumps. The non-intrusive visual checks are based on pump and motor data as displayed on the nameplate, along with pump age and operating hours - all factors that are known to influence energy consumption.
Having identified where upgrades are necessary, we suggest suitable solutions and, if budgets are tight, support customers through our ESCO partners for financing solutions.
These ‘pay as you save’ arrangements help finance the investment based on a shared savings model. Objective is to finance the solutions from savings made in energy usage, with individual agreements tailored so that monthly energy savings more than cover the financial outlay.
Finally, Grundfos along with its local partner M.A.H.Y. Khoory & Co. LLC manages the whole process so there is no disruption to ongoing services.
waterHQ: How is pump technology changing?
Candan: The aim has always been to improve pump efficiency, so that we can do the same, or a better job using less and less energy.
Grundfos has now achieved a breakthrough in efficiency levels with the introduction of new IE5 class MGE motors – the most efficient in the world. These new motors alone cut E-pump energy use by 10 percent and reduce payback times by up to 25 percent compared with standard IE3 systems.
The secret of the new pumping systems, however, lies not only in the new high efficiency pumps, but in a combination of state-of-the-art drives, controls, sensors and advanced cloud connectivity. This enables the pumps to react automatically through an integrated frequency converter to adapt to changes in system demand and continuously optimize system performance - delivering an unsurpassed reduction in energy consumption.
waterHQ: What do you think sets Grundfos apart from other pump suppliers?
Candan: At Grundfos, sustainability is the core of our business. Grundfos sets the standard for innovation, efficiency, reliability and sustainability by pioneering water solutions that improve quality of life for people and care for the planet.
Strongly advocating and engaged in UNs Sustainable Development Goals 6 & 13, Grundfos connects with millions and millions of people every day. Grundfos’s energy efficient solutions help move water to where it is supposed to go; providing drinking water for the smallest villages and the highest skyscrapers, treating and removing wastewater and bringing heat and comfort to the world – or cool it down if needed.
No matter what the requirement – be it for water circulation in air conditioning systems, irrigation, domestic systems or other uses, we are committed to delivering the same, or better, performance for people, but with much reduced energy consumption and improved operation reliability.
waterHQ: Where is demand increasing most noticeably?
Candan: Demand is increasing across the board, apart from our Energy Check and Pump Audit services, our recent launch and market adoption of the Scala2 pump is a prime example. This revolutionary pressure booster pump is designed for villa-type households where it ensures constant water pressure in all outlets at all times. It’s combination of efficiency, reliability connectivity and affordability has made it a big hit in the marketplace.