Industrial Processes

TVA is here to help. Our experts can perform an on-site evaluation and provide recommendations for improving your industrial processes. We also offer  incentives to help cover the costs.

To get you started, we offer some general guidelines on the motors, pumps and air compressors that drive many industrial operations.


Since motors drive so many industrial systems, it’s not enough to consider the energy efficiency of each individual motor. We recommend a comprehensive systems approach that considers the entire motor system, the equipment they drive and the control system.

  • Locate and identify all motors in the facility.
  • Document the specifications and conditions of each motor to create a system inventory. Ensure that all motors are properly installed.
  • Assess each motor system. Is it the right size for the job? If peak loads can be reduced, so can the size of the motor.
  • Collect information on potential repairs and upgrades to create a plan for increasing efficiency. Consider:
    • Long-term costs—95 percent of a motor’s lifetime costs come from its energy consumption, not purchase or installation.
    • Rewinding vs. replacement. It may be more cost-efficient to rewind an existing motor, but opt for the new motor if rewinding exceeds 60 percent of the cost of replacement.
    • Adjustable-speed drives, which better match speed to load requirements and can produce energy savings up to 60 percent.
  • Monitor performance following upgrades to determine actual cost savings.


Pumps are critical to any industrial process that involves moving liquid, whether for cleaning, circulating fluids or eliminating wastewater. To improve efficiency, follow a systems approach similar to the one outlined above as well as these additional tips:

  • Emphasize maintenance. Improved maintenance can lead to 7 percent in energy savings.
  • Right-size pumps. Using a larger pump than necessary wastes energy.
  • Replace older pumps with high-efficiency pumps. A pump’s efficiency can drop 25 percent over time; a newer pump could save up to 10 percent in energy costs.
  • Consider lifetime costs of replacement pumps. Energy use and maintenance can account for 90 percent of the lifetime costs of a pump.
  • Consider multiple pumps for a variable-load system. Using a large pump for peak loads and a smaller pump for steady-state conditions is more efficient than using an oversize pump for below-capacity loads.
  • Avoid throttling valves, which indicate that a pump is too large for the job or can’t efficiently handle load variation.
  • Consider adjustable speed drives, which better match speed to load demand, where appropriate.

Compressed Air

The best way to improve compressed air systems—the least-efficient form of industrial energy—is to find alternatives. Their low efficiency means improvements can pay for themselves in as little as a year. Use compressed air systems sparingly, and follow these tips to maximize their operation:

  • Make maintenance a priority to avoid air leakage, pressure variability, high temperatures, moisture problems and component contamination.
  • Repair leaks to keep production capacity high and energy costs low.
  • Always turn off unused compressed air systems immediately.

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