AC Technology vs EC Technology

EC stands for ‘Electronically Commutated’, which means it is a fan with a Permanent Magnet Motor (PMM). EC motors are more efficient than AC motors because they use permanent magnets rather than inducing a secondary magnetic field in the rotor. ebm-papst has pioneered the development of EC motors and fans, which can be connected directly to an AC mains supply rather than a separate DC power supply, making them easy to retrofit as a replacement for inefficient AC fans. Watch the video to learn more.

EC Technology ebmpapst

Alternating Current (AC) vs Electronically Commutated (EC) Technology

EC motors consume on average about 30% less electricity than conventional AC motors. This figure will differ greatly depending on the project and application. For example, retrofitting the AC fan in Fan Coil Units to EC fans can garner up to 80% in energy savings. But what is an EC fan and what makes it more efficient? A conventional fan system is usually made up of several components (e.g. belts, pulleys, motors and etc). It is inefficient in moving air due to the inherent losses within each component.

ac vs ec technology

In contrast, the ebm-papst EC direct drive FanGrid solution is provided as a complete assembly. There is minimal power loss with the integrated system.

ac vs ec technology
EC fan and parts

The three critical components that make up a good fan are the (a) impeller, (b) motor and (c) electronics. Various enhancements made to each of these components pave the way to an incredibly efficient ventilation solution.


Improved aerodynamics imply reduced turbulence and noise production.

EC fan impeller


High efficiency of motor (including electronics) of up to 90%; Permanent Magnet Motor, which is more efficient than an induction motor.

EC fan motor


0 – 100% continuous speed control: In AC motors, there are limited speed settings. This results in energy wastage. In contrast, EC motors can regulate energy use based on the conditions of the environment, resulting in high energy efficiency.

Soft-Start: When switching an AC motor on, it reaches its peak power rating before tapering off to the desired power level. In contrast, for EC motors, a soft-start occurs before it elevates to the desired power level.

EC fans have high efficiency over a wide operating point because the integrated components are optimised for each other. AC fans are not able to replicate this.