For Earth Day, Consider the Benefits of “Going Electric”

For Earth Day, Consider the Benefits of “Going Electric”


Each year on Earth Day, I like to focus on an eco-friendly feature of our Xylem dewatering pumps.


Last year, I talked about how we are helping to improve air quality by transitioning our diesel-powered Godwin rental pumps to meet stricter Tier 4 emission standards.This year – like Bob Dylan in 1965 – I'm going electric.


Did you know that Xylem has a large selection of electric-driven dewatering pumps?  And do you know the benefits – both to our world and your wallet – you can gain from going the electric route?


Well, here are the facts.


First, while diesel pumps are a big part of Xylem's dewatering product portfolio, we also offer electric options for both of our flagship brands – Godwin and Flygt. All sizes of our portable Godwin Dri-Prime pumps are available with electric-driven motors. And with Flygt, we are building on our legacy as the originator of the world's first electrical submersible pump by offering a wider-then-ever range of these pumps for dewatering projects.


Going electric isn't always an option. In many emergency dewatering events the power is out, and if you're working in a remote area there might not be a place to plug in. That's where our diesel pumps come into play. But if electric pumps are a sensible alternative, there are definite reasons to consider going with the "current."


The Eco-Benefits of Electric Pumps


Electricity is a relatively clean energy when compared with diesel fuel. With your own eyes, you can see the carbon emissions being expelled from a diesel-powered motor. There are no emissions from an electric motor, but the plant where that electricity is produced does emit carbon into the atmosphere.


Fortunately, an increasing number of these power plants are generating electricity not with "dirty burning" fossil fuels, but with wind and solar power that allow them to provide their product with fewer – and sometimes close to zero – carbon emissions. So while it's true that neither diesel engines nor electric motors are entirely clean, it's also true as Pumps & Systems magazine reported that, "the harmful environmental effects from internal combustion engines outnumber those from electricity."


If you need any more convincing, consider the fact that Thomas Edison – the "father of the electricity age" – saw its eco-benefits almost a century ago. "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy – sun, wind and tide," said the Wizard of Menlo Park, a prediction that is coming true as more and more power plants switch over to green energy sources to run their operations.


The Economic Benefits of Electric Pumps


It costs less to run a pump on electricity than on diesel fuel. Sure, the prices of both energy sources vary over time, but as a rule, electricity is the cheaper cost alternative. In a 2012 study of the cost comparison of engines versus electric motors for irrigation pumping, two University of California engineering professors determined that during the past two decades, rising diesel fuel prices have more than doubled, compared to a 20 percent increase in electricity prices. As a result, while diesel was the less expensive option in 1992, that has totally flip-flopped and the economics of pumping now favor electric motors.


There are other advantages to electric driven pumps including lower maintenance requirements, ease of integration with digital control systems and less noise. In addition, operating an electric pump during off-peak hours can lower the costs even further.


Diesel-powered pumps have their advantages, and with the new Tier 4 regulations they are producing fewer harmful emissions and improving the quality of life for people in the United States. But on this Earth Day, remember that electric pumps can also be a good option for you – and for our planet.


by Michael J. Delzingaro