Reduce Pumping Costs through Optimum Pipe Sizing

All industrial facilities have a network of piping that carries water or other liquids. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Study, 16% of a typical family’s electricity costs are for its pumping systems. The power consumed to overcome the static head in a pumping system varies linearly with flow and very little can be done to reduce the static component of the system requirement. On the other hand, several energy and money-saving opportunities exist to reduce the power required to overcome the friction component of the pumping system. The frictional power required is dependent on rate of flow, pipe size (diameter), overall length of the pipe, pipe characteristics (surface roughness, material, etc.) and properties of the liquid being pumped.

Suggested Actions
• Compute annual and life cycle cost for systems before making an engineering design decision.
• In systems dominated by friction head, always evaluate pumping costs for a couple of different pipe sizes and try to accommodate pipe size with the lowest overall life-cycle cost.
• Look for ways to reduce friction factor. If your application permits, the use of plastic or epoxy-coated steel pipes can reduce friction factor by more than 40%; proportionately reducing your pumping costs.

Source: Office of Industrial Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy