by Eric Lanke
A 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Energy examined the energy consumed by fluid power systems in the United States. The study:
- Collected data on fluid power systems in four core market areas:
- Mobile hydraulic applications (construction, mining, agriculture, etc.)
- Industrial hydraulic applications (presses, injection molding, metal forming, etc.)
- Pneumatic applications (food processing, automation, manufacturing, etc.)
- Aerospace applications (landing gear, flight controls, etc.)
- Determined that those systems consume between 2.2 and 2.9 quadrillion BTUs of energy (quads), representing nearly 3% of the total energy consumed in the United States.
- Determined that the efficiency of these systems varied greatly, ranging from 6% to 60%, with an average efficiency of 21%.
- Predicted, based on industry partner interviews, that increasing average efficiency from 21% to 26% is feasible with better adoption of existing best practices, and would save more than 0.4 quads per year.
- Predicted, based on case studies, that a focused R&D program in fluid power could increase average efficiency from 21% to 36%, saving more than 0.9 quads per year.
These and other facts about fluid power can be found in the 2014 Annual Report on the U.S. Fluid Power Industry published by the National Fluid Power Association. The report reviews both the size and economic impact of the industry, as well as explores the energy consumption, best practices and current R&D directions of fluid power technology. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the NFPA website at: https://www.nfpa.com/fluidpower/annual-report-on-fluidpower-industry.aspx
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