GENERAL SALES CONDITIONS. All sales of goods are subject to the conditions. Read more.

Latest Blogs
Latest Blogs & Events

How Power Transformers Can Save You Energy

Today, energy efficiency is more vital than ever before for every kind of business.


A Guide to Changing Transformers

Today, more than ever, energy efficiency is a subject that is on most people’s minds.


What is the difference between 'Step-up and Step-down' Transformers?

For anyone wanting to understand the differences between step-up and step-down transformers perhaps the first thing to u...

How Power Transformers Can Save You Energy

News - 2022-12-06

Today, energy efficiency is more vital than ever before for every kind of business.

NewsHow Power Transformers Can Save You Energy

Today, energy efficiency is more vital than ever before for every kind of business. Beyond saving money on ever-increasing electricity bills, there is also the equally important consideration of environmental awareness to take into account.

After all, most of us realise that the ambition to reach Net Zero should be more than just an ambition – it should be a firm objective to play our part too.

But, while many businesses are taking very laudable steps like installing low-energy lightbulbs in their premises and ensuring all electrical equipment they use is as energy efficient as possible, it’s easy to overlook the role that power transformers can play.

In many cases, these are responsible for appreciable energy loss before the electricity to power all that lights, PCs and other machinery even enters an office space or factory.

To give an idea of the size of the issue, EU estimates state that transformers are responsible for an amount of loss that is equivalent to around 2.5% of all the power consumed across the continent each year.

This is an issue that has been in the spotlight for some time now and the first phase of regulations designed to make transformers more efficient was introduced in 2015. The second phase was introduced last year.

Together, projections are that this will save 16TWh in a year, equating to 3.7 Mt of CO2.

How energy is wasted

One might imagine that, without moving parts, it is hard to see exactly how and where energy is wasted in transformers. But wasted it is and there are two types of loss.

The first is a no-load loss, also sometimes known as a core or iron loss. This begins the moment that a transformer comes into operation. The second is a load or winding loss and this is a product of the load current. The amount of energy loss this represents depends on the size of the loading in a transformer at any given time.

In both cases, the source of energy inefficiency is the loss of some of the heat that the operation of the transformer also creates.

It also goes without saying that the older a transformer is, and the more old-fashioned its design, the greater the energy losses will be. In the case of these, there may also be the additional element of vibration which will also lead to unwanted energy loss.

Increasing efficiency

There are a number of ways in which the energy efficiency of transformers can be increased, preventing waste and cost to the user.

The simplest quick win for any business using transformers would be to carry out a regular maintenance programme. This can identify, early on, any problems that may be developing and ensure that all components are working as efficiently as possible. Often, energy inefficiency through heat loss comes as a result of failing insulation around a transformer’s coils. So repairing or replacing this insulation should reduce it.

Another method used by some is to have a series of transformers that are linked but can be used individually or in groups, depending on the power level needed. The smaller the transformer, the lower the potential energy loss. So using the minimum number needed, while being able to scale up when more capacity is called for, is also very effective.

But undoubtedly the most effective method of all for maximising efficiency is to install a new Tier 2 transformer. Following the EU directive, a whole new generation of transformers has been developed to fit within the guidelines.

The most efficient of these uses something called Amorphous Core Technology which is designed to create super low-loss transformers. In basic terms, these work by using a core that produces less waste heat when it is magnetised by the transformer’s coils. This is because it is made from special alloy steel that has been cooled very rapidly in the manufacturing process.

This leads to a random molecular structure that is more easily magnetised, producing less heat in the process – and therefore less energy loss. Additionally, with laminations that are approximately 10% of the thickness of those of a conventional core, this also plays a key role in energy conservation.

The benefits of energy-efficient transformers

The first, and most obvious, benefit of ensuring transformers are as energy-efficient as possible is that it will represent a considerable cost-saving for any business. It’s been estimated that an old, inefficient transformer dating back five decades or more can cost a business upwards of £3,500 a year in wasted energy. There is also the risk of repeated breakdowns, most likely to be at the most inconvenient times possible.

By installing a new state-of-the-art transformer, or series of transformers, there will also be the reassurance that they will have a long lifespan ahead of them. Increased quality and refinement of manufacture means that any transformer bought and installed today should have a good six decades of efficient life ahead of it.

Plus, by switching to a fully compliant Tier 2 transformer you will be sure that you are fully in line with all current energy-efficiency regulations.

The role of GBE

At GBE we have long been 100% committed to developing the new generation of ultra-high-efficiency transformers that don’t just meet but exceed all current regulations.

All of our transformers promise energy and cost savings, but leading the way are our amorphous metal core models. These have been tested and proven to be up to 70% more efficient in terms of no-load losses.

To help customers and potential customers work out the sorts of savings that they can expect compared with their current transformer arrangement, we have even set up an energy savings calculator.

Hopefully, this article has increased your understanding of the importance of energy efficiency for transformers and some of the ways that you can work towards meeting your own energy-saving targets. For more information about our energy-efficient models, or to discuss how we can meet any of your other transformer needs, just get in touch today.