A variable-frequency drive (VFD; also termed adjustable-frequency drive, variable speed drive, AC drive, micro drive or inverter drive) is a type of adjustable-speed 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 25% of the world's electrical energy is consumed by electric motors in industrial applications, which can be more efficient when using VFDs in centrifugal load service; however, VFDs' global market penetration for all applications 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.