A variable-frequency drive (VFD) or adjustable-frequency drive (AFD), variable-voltage/variable-frequency (VVVF) drive, variable speed drive (VSD), AC drive, micro drive or inverter drive is a type of motor drive used in electro-mechanical drive systems to control AC motor speed and torque by varying motor input frequency and voltage.
VFDs are used in applications ranging from small appliances to large compressors. About 45% of the world's electrical energy is consumed by electric motor driven systems. Systems using VFDs can be more efficient than those using throttling control of fluid flow, such as in systems with pumps and damper control for fans.However, the global market penetration for all applications of VFDs is relatively small.
Over the last four decades, power electronics technology has reduced VFD cost and size and has improved performance through advances in semiconductor switching devices, drive topologies, simulation and control techniques, and control hardware and software.
VFDs are made in a number of different low- and medium-voltage AC-AC and DC-AC topologies.