Big Single-Phase Motors Solve Power Supply Problems

“We are the only company in the world that makes large horsepower, single-phase motors,” says Ben Morris, Single Phase Power Solutions (SPPS) in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Our 15 to 100 hp. motors are ideal for farmers and ranchers without access to 3-phase power. They are a more economical alternative to large, stationary, diesel, propane or natural gas-powered motors.”
    Ronnie Barber, co-inventor of the company’s “Written-Pole” technology, describes it as adding a layer of permanent magnets around the rotor surface. They are magnetized as the motor comes up to speed. Once it reaches full speed, the motor runs as a permanent magnet motor. This reduces energy loss in the motor to zero, making it more efficient than a 3-phase motor, even if 3-phase power is available.
    Morris points out that when 3-phase power is not available, bringing it in can typically cost $30,000 or more per mile. In addition, a 3-phase motor has its own costs.
    Barber explains that induction motors (single or 3-phase) can require from 6 to 8 times the running current at start-up. That can create a voltage sag or flicker in the neighborhood and result in extra demand fees from the utility.
    “Our Written-Pole motors require a starting current that is less than 2 times running current,” says Barber. “That allows us to put larger horsepower motors on line than you could with any induction motor design.”
    High horsepower 3-phase motors can run on single-phase lines with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) or with phase converters that imitate 3-phase power. Both create harmonic distortion on the utility line, which can destroy electronic equipment on the line.
    “Increasingly, utility companies are requiring a harmonic filter be used with a VFD or phase converter,” says Morris. “That can add $10,000 to the cost of a $3,000 phase converter. Some co-op utilities won’t even allow them to be installed due to the harmonic distortion.
    “Our motors, with their synchronous mode of operation, actually absorb harmonics off the line,” he adds.
    Diesel-powered generators can cost $12 an hour to run without counting maintenance time and cost. “Our motors can save up to 70 percent what a diesel will cost,” says Morris. “They are also more dependable.”
    He cites a Texas customer’s 40-hp. motor that was under 10 ft. of floodwater for 7 days when the Red River flooded in 2015.
    “When it dried out, we sent him a new control card for the panel, and he turned it on,” says Morris. “It ran and has been going strong ever since.”
    In addition to dependability, Morris notes that Belle motors have instant restarts after a momentary power interruption. They are capable of sustained starting conditions for greater duration than conventional motors without overheating.
    SPPS sells its motor with a proprietary control panel as a system. Morris says the motors in their cast iron frame are designed to take a beating.
    “Our motor is one your son will still be running years from now,” he says. “Motor and control panels are designed for outdoor use as well as indoor.”
    SPPS Belle motor systems are priced from $11,000 for a 30 hp. motor to $26,000 for a 100 hp. motor. Maintenance consists of twice a year greasing of bearings.