Energy Efficency

‘Heavy Industry’ is a rather amorphous term. According to Wikipedia, Heavy Industry signifies the production of goods that are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production.Examples of such industries include steel, chemical, mining, and construction equipment, machinery.

The United States is the largest consumer of energy in the world, using 94.9 quadrillion BTUs in 2009 and heavy industry in the United States accounts for about 31% of all energy consumption, significantly more than any other sector of the economy. Seven energy-intensive industries use three-fourths of this power; these are aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metal casting, mining, and steel. All these heavy industries are also under tremendous pressure to reduce their huge dependence on expensive non renewable energy.

A recent study by the European Commission thinks not. The study estimates that the United States has the potential to save about 45 TWh energy per year, through use of energy efficient transformers. Even a 0.01 percent gain in the average efficiency of utility transformers installed in the U.S. in a single year, can save as much as 2.9 Twh energy.

The environmental benefits of energy-efficient transformers are also significant and the study by the European Commission believes transformers could well emerge as a major focus for energy efficient initiatives in the industry.

Energy Guzzling Industries
Chemical Industry,
Paper and Pulp Industry
Iron and Steel Industry
Mining Industry

Is the Answer Energy-Efficiency

Energy efficiency is already playing a significant role in the Heavy Industry, but with growing concerns of greenhouse gas emissions and skyrocketing cost of energy, it obviously needs to do more.Before the 1970s, the U.S. energy consumption grew in parallel to gross domestic product (GDP). Had that trend continued, current U.S. energy demand would have more than doubled, currently, the energy consumption is 1.5 times that of 1970. Reduction in energy consumption has resulted from a combination of energy efficient methods and a shift from energy-intensive manufacturing toward a service and information-based economy.

Do Energy Efficient Transformers Hold the Key?

As energy costs rise and availability becomes uncertain, the necessity of utilizing energy-efficient products becomes imperative. Additionally, a globally competitive business environment is causing businesses to cut costs in order to remain competitive. Of particular interest are distribution transformers
that are the largest loss-making components in electrical networks.

In a typical grid, electric transformer loss contributes to about 40-50% of the total transmission and distribution loss. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that on a conservative estimate 61 billion kWh annually can be attributed to transformer losses. These losses cost end-users $3 to $4 billion annually. An energy-efficient transformer is therefore an important means to reduce transmission and distribution loss. Energy saving transformers can additionally save the equivalent of more than 70 million tons of CO2 emissions.

The answer to energy efficiency is in making distribution transformers efficient; and thankfully, manufacturers have the technical know-how to offer better, cost effective, low loss, energy efficient transformers.

Energy Efficient Distribution Transformers

Distribution transformers distribute power from power generating facilities to end-users and while energy loss during transmission is inevitable, measures are taken to reduce it considerably.However, for energy to be consumed voltage needs to be reduced and it is at this point of stepping down electricity that distribution transformers lose energy. Even though only a small portion of energy is lost it is in a permanent manner and standby power losses account for 2% of total electricity production.

Despite high average efficiencies of 95 to 99.75%, transformers have a significant environmental impact because they continuously consume power.

The energy losses in electricity transformers fall into two components, namely, no-load losses resulting from the energized iron core, which is a permanent phenomenon, and load losses, arising when providing power to users. Load losses also result from the resistance of the coil when the transformer is in use, and from eddy currents due to stray flux.

Technical solutions exist to reduce transformer losses by 75% at minimum when replaced by modern transformers or even by 90% when replacing transformers over 30 years old. Energy-efficiency can be improved with better transformer design, like selecting better, lower-core-loss steels; reducing flux density in a specific core by increasing the core size; increasing conductor cross-section to reduce current density; good balancing between the relative quantities of iron and copper in the core and coils.

An energy efficient transformer is an important means to reduce Transmission & Distribution loss and can save up to 120 TWh / year. Energy efficient transformers can provide considerable environmental benefits too. For example, a typical urban distribution transformer rated at 400 kW has lifetime losses equivalent to 125 -184 tons of CO2 emissions; a more energy-efficient design can reduce these
emissions to 56 tons.

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