How energy losses
can be minimised
Energy losses in
A distribution transformer consists of an iron core, with alimb for each of the phases (see illustration). Around eachlimb, there are two windings: one with a large number ofturns connected to the higher voltage side, and one witha low number of turns connected to the low voltage.The energy losses fall into three distinct classes:
caused by hysteresis and eddy
currents in the transformer core. It is a constantenergy loss that is present from the moment thetransformer is connected. In the average Europeandistribution grid, no-load losses represent about70% of the total loss.
caused by resistive losses in the
windings and leads, and by eddy currents in thestructural steelwork and windings.
some transformers require fancooling — leading to extra energy consumption.The larger the intrinsic losses of the unit, the greater the need for cooling and the higher the energyconsumption by the fan. Cooling losses are relativelysmall compared to load and no-load losses.
Several proven technicalsolutions exist to improve
the energy efciency
of a distributiontransformer:
No-load losses can be reduced by improveddesign, assembling and selection of materials for
Load losses are proportional to the square of theload current. They can be reduced by increasingthe cross section of the windings.
The energy consumption for cooling needs canbe reduced by keeping the other types of energylosses low.By combining those techniques, a Best AvailableTechnology distribution transformer can be built whichalso has — in the large majority of cases — the lowest LifeCycle Cost (LCC).
Amorphous Coretransformers (AMT)
An amorphous core transformer (AMT) uses amorphousmetal alloy strips for its magnetic circuit. This allowsbuilding transformers with very low no-load losses(up to 70% less than conventional types). Becauseof the exible structure of the core, the capacity ofamorphous core transformers is currently limited to10 MVA. Amorphous core transformers are 5 to 20 %
heavier than conventional transformers of the same
Harmonic currentsincrease losses
The energy efciency of a transformer is also negativelyinuenced by ‘harmonic currents’. Harmonic currentsare distortions that are inherent to the electrical power of the grid, albeit grid operators try to keep them aslow as possible. On the average European publicgrid, harmonic currents result in an extra energy lossin distribution transformers of about 10 % (source:SEEDT project). Apart from that, harmonic currents alsoreduce a transformer’s lifespan.
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