Developing innovative circulating pumps for heating, air conditioning, drinking water and solar cycles that conserve resources and energy


There are around 140 million circulating pumps being used in Europe. The motors’ lifespan is about ten years which means that around 14 million new pumps are needed each year. These all-rounders that keep our heating, drinking water and solar systems running are powered by motors whose magnets contain neodymium-iron-boron or samarium-cobalt. However, the global supply of the rare earths in these compounds is limited.

The “Eco-Pump Drive” project develops new electrical drive concepts for powering circulating pumps, whose magnets are completely free of rare earths. Moreover, they are powerful and very energy-efficient. The key to the new resource-conserving technology: the principle of a synchronous reluctance motor. This type of motor is already established at higher power ranges.

The project coordinator, the company KSB, has developed this synchronous reluctance motor to market readiness for industrial pump applications. In cooperation with the Competence Center Mechatronic Systems at the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern, the experts are now working on adapting the reluctance principle to the specifications of circulating pumps for domestic use and for commercial installations. Once this has been managed, the “Eco-Pump Drive” innovation can be mass produced.

The project partners have structured their three-year cooperation into several development phases. First of all, the electromagnetic motor design is drawn up in detail. Then the motor is constructed, as is a blueprint and implementation of the corresponding control algorithm. Once this precision work has been completed, the experts construct various prototypes that have to pass test runs in the laboratory before moving onto the industrial demonstration stage.