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Building Technologies

Testing Wireless Sensors for Measuring Pump Efficiency

Company Name: KCF Technologies, Inc.
Program Office: Building Technologies
Location: State College, PA
Email: Gary Koopmann, Project Manager;
Award Amount: $125,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Active
Participating Lab(s): Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Pumping systems are widely used in industrial applications and account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s electricity demand. For industrial buildings and power plants, pumps can account for 25 to 50 percent of energy use. Further, the energy a pump uses typically accounts for 40 percent of its overall costs. Surprisingly, the average pump operates at well below 50 percent efficiency, meaning there is a great opportunity for improving energy efficiency in pump operations. One way to do so is to develop an affordable, cost-efficient method for monitoring pump efficiency in real time to maximize energy savings.

KCF Technologies is developing a wireless monitoring system to do just that. If successful, the device will allow end users to do more to achieve the highest level of efficiency savings in their pump operations. Such a system could also offer pump manufacturers a more direct path to increased regulatory acceptance for their new products. Further, many companies are beginning to use a structured approach in energy management systems and devices like this could help them identify key performance indicators, such as efficiency in their pumps and pumping systems.

This project will allow KCF to work with experts and facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to identify critical areas for improving technology design and testing sensors under real-world conditions.


Remote, wireless monitoring of pump efficiency is a market differentiator, since no such technology exists today. KCF can also build on its existing suite of diagnostic sensors since its associated wireless firmware and software have already been implemented in the market.



Improperly sized or poorly performing pumps can cost companies millions of unnecessary dollars per year. More efficient pumps can also reduce the likelihood of risky breakdowns and reduce the need for costly repairs to worn out pump systems.


More efficient pumps can reduce energy needs and associated pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, from power production. Further, better pumps can make power plants themselves more efficient, leading to less fossil fuel use at the utility source.

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