Optimising Performance: Initiatives to improve the cost economics and energy efficiency of pumps

Initiatives to improve the cost economics and energy efficiency of pumps

The growth in the pump and pumping system market in India is primarily because of infrastructure sectors such as agriculture, water and wastewater management, desalination, and construction. The key factors determining the cost of pumping systems are raw material, imports and exports, electricity consumption, and fuel costs. It has been ob­served that technological advancements, and encouraging energy efficient pumps and innovations in components and spare parts have resulted in a reduction in pump costs. About 20 per cent of the energy consumed by pumping systems can be saved by making changes to the equipment and controlling systems, the­reby enabling cost savings of up to 20 per cent. In India, pumping systems account for approximately 40 per cent of the electricity consumed in the industrial sector.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the key initiatives taken in the pump industry to ma­nage the cost economics and enable energy efficiency of pumping systems…

Government programmes

The Agricultural Demand Side Management (AgDSM) programme was launched during the ninth-year plan. The key objective of the programme is to reduce the energy intensity of the agricultural pumping sector by carrying out efficiency upgradation of agricultural pump sets. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency, in association with many discoms, has implemented four AgDSM pilot projects in Maharashtra, Karna­taka and Andhra Pradesh. Through these projects, it aims to create awareness about energy efficient pump sets and operational practices to promote their uptake, thereby reducing the resultant cost. As per the latest available data, there are more than 21 million agricultural pump sets in In­dia, the majority of which are inefficient. The programme aims to replace the existing (inefficient) pump sets with energy efficient ones at no cost, so as to ensure proper energy management. This will result in cost savings of approxi­ma­tely Rs 240 billion and energy savings of 56 billion units annually. It will also help in the re­duction of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby benefiting the environment.

Under Phase I of the AgDSM programme, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of central public sector undertakings, is focusing on Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pra­desh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnata­ka, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. As of January 7, 2022, 79,560 pumps have been installed in An­dhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This has resulted in estimated energy savings of 206.04 million kWh per year and cost savings of Rs 1.03 billion per year.

Another key government programme to en­courage the use of efficient pumps is the Mu­nicipal Energy Efficiency Programme (MEEP). Launched as a part of the Atal Mis­s­ion for Reju­venation and Urban Trans­for­ma­tion, the programme aims at replacing inefficient pumps in public waterworks and sewerage systems at no upfront cost to the municipal bodies. As per the latest updates, 22 sta­tes and three union territories have tied up with EESL to implement the MEEP.

Cost benefits of solar and high capacity pumps

Desalination facilities can become more cost effective by deploying energy efficient pumps. The Nemmeli desalination plant successfully deployed more efficient high capacity pumps and energy recovery devices to reduce the cost of water produced by the plant to $0.55 per cubic metre in 2018.

Solar-powered pumps use photovoltaic panels or the radiated thermal energy from captured sunlight. The operating cost of these pumps is much less than that of grid- or diesel-powered water pumps, given their lower operation and maintenance and repair costs. Solar pumps are, therefore, more economical, and have a lower environmental impact than pum­ps powered by other sources. The demand for so­lar pumps is steadily increasing in India gi­ven their cost benefits and reduced reliance on electricity. In addition to this, the many subsidies offered by the government are a driving factor in the uptake of solar pumps.


Despite their cost benefits and the government’s efforts to promote uptake, the adoption of energy efficient pumps has not picked up pace. One of the key challenges faced by the segment is the lack of awareness regarding the benefits of energy efficiency and demand-supply management. The poor implementation of past programmes has also discouraged end users from participating in new schemes. It is essential that the government actively participates in creating awareness about energy efficient pumping systems through campaigns, capacity building, training programmes and incentivisation. Going forward, it is imperative to leverage internet of things and automation in the pump market. The adoption of smart pumps will substantially reduce the cost of ow­nership without affecting performance parameters. These pumps will increase efficiency and re­duce operational costs, thereby ensuring demand management.