OLYMPIA, Wash. — Seattle’s MagnaDrive Corp. and Washington State University will use a $500,000 grant to the company from the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate a breakthrough adjustable speed drive technology.

“With motor-driven equipment accounting for 64 percent of the electricity consumed by U.S. industries, we are delighted to be partnering on a project that can significantly improve energy efficiency in many industries,” said Kristine Growdon, WSU Cooperative Extension Energy Program director.

MagnaDrive is devoting $667,000 as cost share to the project.

The MagnaDrive Adjustable Speed Drive uses the power of rare-earth magnets to precisely control the speed that a motor can drive a load, such as an industrial pump, fan or blower. The adjustable speed control significantly reduces the energy required to run the motor and its load. The MagnaDrive ASD also lowers equipment and maintenance costs, offering additional economic benefits. With 30 installations in a wide range of industries, the MagnaDrive ASD has reduced energy consumption in specific applications by as much as 66 percent. The existing applications are on motor-driven systems up to 300 horsepower.

The DOE grant will be used to install and evaluate the MagnaDrive ASD for industrial applications in the 500 to 1,500 horsepower category. MagnaDrive will install the scaled-up units as demonstration projects at four industrial plants in Washington, Oregon and Montana.

“This grant, together with the investments by our industrial and state partners, will help us bring to market large-scale versions of our innovative technology,” said Ron Woodard, MagnaDrive CEO. “In a world of tight energy supplies, this benefits both our customers and the public at large.”

DOE is awarding the WSU Energy Program $25,000 to oversee the grant and to assist in technology transfer.

In partnership with the WSU program, DOE awarded the grant as part of its National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy, Environment and Economics (NICE3) Program, which brings together private companies, state agencies and universities as partners on a cost-sharing basis. The initiative is intended to help U.S. companies demonstrate and commercialize innovative, energy-saving technologies.

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For more information, visit the following Web sites:
— WSU Energy Program’s Industrial Services, www.energy.wsu.edu