Daikin leads efforts to save electricity in factories and offices


TOKYO / OSAKA – As global interest in greener technologies grows, Daikin Industries and Toyota Motor are competing at home and abroad to develop more energy efficient engines.

Engines are the backbone of the industry, used in everything from factories and office equipment to trains and home appliances. About half of the electricity consumed in the world would be used by motors.

Adjusting the voltage and frequency of the electricity injected into motors to improve their efficiency is already a popular tactic in Japan. But Daikin is now working on software to adjust such input in tens of microsecond increments. The goal is to minimize the amount of energy that is dissipated as heat instead of causing the motor to rotate.

By carefully regulating the motor inverter, “we can reduce the amount of energy lost at the core, a component that strengthens the magnetic force of the motor,” said a representative from Daikin.

Toyota Motor is testing a proprietary type of magnet in its engines that uses cerium and lanthanum in addition to neodymium, a rare earth commonly found in high quality magnets. The automaker has taken special care to ensure that the different magnets do not interfere with each other.

The new design is expected to reduce energy loss by 40% and electricity consumption by 4%. Toyota hopes to apply the technology to air conditioning units, electric cars and more.

Daikin Industries uses equipment like this to test engine performance. (Photo courtesy of Daikin Industries)

Reducing engine power consumption by just a few percent could reduce Japan’s total electricity needs by the equivalent of several nuclear reactors. It could also significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The American startup Turntide Technologies has been selling a computer-controlled motor since 2019. It uses software similar to Daikin’s to monitor and regulate the amount of electricity injected into the motor and is said to reduce the energy consumption of customers by an average of 64. %.

“Similar technology has been around for some time, but it has not been very popular in the United States, where electricity is cheap,” said Masato Koyama, a professor at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and an expert in energy saving motor technology.

“The diffusion of such technologies could have a significant impact,” he said.

Turntide previously focused primarily on retail and restaurant air conditioning motors. But he announced in June that he would also start producing products for the transport sector. It has acquired a British manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and plans to sell batteries and motors to car manufacturers and logistics providers, including Aston Martin.


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