Systemic optimization of pump controls to increase the energy efficiency of heating and air conditioning systems in the building technology (SOPHi)

Circulation pumps are used in building services engineering to transport the heating/cooling water between the producers and consumers. In single-family homes, up to three pumps are often used, in larger buildings several thousand pumps are used in a widespread installation. In total, more than 30 million of these pumps are installed in Germany and, at more than 15 billion kWh, consume as much electricity as the whole of German rail traffic.

In recent years, the circulating pump has received an enormous technical development push. Where previously unregulated pumps were state of the art, today they integrate firmware, electronics, power electronics, drive, mechanics and hydraulics into a compact unit. This was an important step from the product approach to the extended product approach and sufficient to satisfy the EU requirements for compliance with the Energy Efficiency Index EEI.
Studies show that focusing on the unit level is not sufficient to fully exploit the efficiency potential of fluid transport systems. The greatest cost-saving potential is found in the optimization of the overall hydraulic system with regard to the application-specific task: Up to 60% energy can be saved through system optimization.

A large leverage effect can be achieved if it is possible to optimise the overall hydraulic system with regard to energy consumption via the circulating pump only. Therefore, a control system for the energy-optimized operation of circulating pumps is to be researched and developed in this project. This control system must be self-adapting and independently of the application, in order to avoid complex manual setting procedures or extensive parameterization for the purpose of simple commissioning.



Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy


01.07.2015 - 30.09.2018