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Article Date: 9th July 2014

ABB Power - Energy Efficient ABB Transformers are Ready to Meet or Exceed New Eu Ecodesign Requirements

Power Factor Correction - Power Quality - Power Quality Systems

ABB EcoDry

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, is well prepared for the new ecodesign transformer regulations that came into force within the EU`s internal market in June 2014. All new transformers put into service in the EU must fulfil minimum energy efficiency requirements from July 1, 2015, giving the industry and market a period of grace of less than one year to adapt.

Large amounts of power pass through transformers, which account for 30-40 percent of the losses in transmission and distribution systems. Even a marginal increase in transformer efficiency can significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

The new EU ecodesign regulation covers small, medium and large power transformers used in electrical transmission and distribution networks, and for industrial applications. However, it does not apply to all transformer products; for example, single phase transformers are unaffected.

The new legislation is intended to prevent high loss transformers from being installed in the EU, but the first phase (Tier 1) of efficiency requirements that come into play in July 2015 are only the start. By 2021, a Tier 2 standard will require transformer designs to be about 10 percent more energy efficient than Tier 1.

The European Commission (EC) estimates the combined effect of all ecodesign minimum efficiency regulations at full implementation will contribute to about one-third of its energy efficiency target. (The 20/20/20 targets include a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20 percent rise in the share of renewable resources to Europe’s energy needs, and 20 percent more efficiency in energy use across the EU).

By eliminating the worst performing transformer models, the EC expects energy savings in the range of 16 terawatt hours (TWh) per year from 2020 onwards (equal to about half the annual electricity consumption of Denmark), equivalent to 3.7 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 emissions avoided.

“Transformers are generally very efficient devices, but even marginal improvements in their efficiency can yield substantial energy savings since their typical service life is 30 years or more”, says David Hughes, ABB Head of Power Products UK & Ireland. “Multiply these new efficiencies by the estimated 3.6 million installed transformers in Europe in 2011, which is expected to rise to nearly 4.7 million units by 2025, and the energy savings are considerable.”

ABB technology offers a head start

ABB helps customers make a head start in meeting the new regulations, since its advanced technology already enables the production today of highly efficient transformers that exceed the rigorous demands of tomorrow, such as the anticipated Tier 2 standard planned for introduction in 2015. A typical example is the low-loss amorphous core technology, well proven in liquid-filled transformers, that has been adopted for ABB’s ultra-efficient EcoDry dry-type distribution transformers.

Depending on the specific application, ABB EcoDry transformers are proved to reduce no-load losses by up to 70 percent, and by more than 30 percent at full load - when compared with international reference standards such as the European CENELEC HD538 - standard and the US Department of Energy energy conservation standard for distribution transformers introduced in 2010. They also offer all the practical advantages associated with dry-type transformers such as: no fire risk; no risk of escape of pollutants or fire-hazardous substances; long lifetime; high mechanical strength; ability to cope with load changes, overloads, short-circuits and over-voltages; and reduced installation footprint.

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