Energy Efficient Transformers and US DOE 2016 Standards

Posted by Mark McCracken on Sep 28, 2015, 11:21:00 AM

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Electromagnetic induction, the principle of the operation of the transformer, was discovered independently by Michael Faraday in 1831 and Joseph Henry in 1832. Faraday was the first to publish the results of his experiments and thus receive credit for the discovery. The relationship between EMF and magnetic flux is an equation now known as Faraday's Law of Induction.

The first type of transformer to see common use was the induction coil, invented by Rev. Nicholas Callan in Ireland in 1836. He was one of the first researchers to realize the more turns the secondary winding has in relation to the primary winding, the larger the induced secondary EMF will be. Induction coils evolved from scientists' and inventors' efforts to get higher voltages from batteries. Since batteries produce Direct Current rather than Alternating Current, induction coils relied upon vibrating electrical contacts that regularly interrupted the current in the primary to create the flux changes necessary for induction. Between the 1830s and the 1870s, efforts to build better induction coils, mostly by trial and error, slowly revealed the basic principles of transformers.

Distribution Transformers

A distribution transformer provides the final voltage transformation in the electric power distribution system by reducing the high voltage of electric current from a power line to a lower voltage for use in a building. The Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers since 2007, and liquid-immersed and medium-voltage dry-type distribution transformers since 2010. A distribution transformer designed and constructed to be mounted on a utility pole is referred to as a pole-mount transformer. A distribution transformer designed and constructed to be located at ground level or underground, mounted on a concrete pad, and locked in a steel case is referred to as a pad-mount transformer.

Beginning in 2016, newly amended energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers will save up to $12.9 billion in total costs to consumers — ultimately saving families and businesses money while also reducing energy consumption. The new distribution transformer standards will also save 3.63 quadrillion British thermal units of energy for equipment sold over the 30-year period of 2016 to 2045.

The new amendments to the existing efficiency standards would further decrease electrical losses by about 8 percent for liquid-immersed transformers, 13 percent for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, and 18 percent for low-voltage dry-type transformers. In addition, about 264.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 51.75 million automobiles.

1__Transformers
2_New_DOE

2007 Mandate for TP:1 Values:

The efficiency of a low-voltage dry-type distribution transformer manufactured on or after January 1, 2007, shall be no less than that required for their kVA rating in the table below. Low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers with kVA ratings not appearing in the table shall have their minimum efficiency level determined by linear interpolation of the kVA and efficiency values immediately above and below that kVA rating.

3_Table_1_Energy

2016 Mandate for TP:1 Values:

The efficiency of a low-voltage dry-type distribution transformer manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, shall be no less than that required for their kVA rating in the table below. Low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers with kVA ratings not appearing in the table shall have their minimum efficiency level determined by linear interpolation of the kVA and efficiency values immediately above and below that kVA rating.

4_Table_4_Amended

This briefly summarizes the DOE 2016 standards and how they are going to benefit the environment, improve operating costs, and reduce overall energy consumption. For more information, please see the DOE website: http://www1.eere.energy.gov.

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