Mr David Kwateng Darkwa, the Managing Director of Westrafo Ghana Limited, has said Sustainable Peak Load (SPL) transformers with ‘FR3 fluid’ will be the solution for many problems within the distribution and transmission system.
He said the quality of the insulation system influences the expected lifetime of the transformer, as such, the FR3 fluid has the ability to extend the life of insulation paper five to eight times that of mineral oil transformers; thereby improving grid reliability and reducing maintenance cost.
Mr Darkwa made these remarks in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, on the sidelines of the Transformer Conference 2017.
It is being hosted by Westrafo, with the objective of highlighting new technologies that could help improve the electric grid in Ghana.
The conference also aimed at offering solutions to the key challenges that are present within the Ghanaian grid; the increasing demand for energy, the transmission and distribution losses affecting the grid and the low level of transformer installed, contributing to grid instability.
Westrafo is partnering Cargill, a company developing bio-based fluids for industrial application, to develop new series of transformers called SPL; capable of resisting better to the peak loads of the electric grid and to improve the safety of people within civil and industrial application at many levels.
Cargill’s premiere natural ester for transformer application, FR3, is a natural dielectric fluid working in synergy with the transformer to deliver many benefits.
These include fire safety, eco sustainability, increased load capacity, high performance even at high temperatures and more importantly a reduced cost of total ownership for utilities and private users, because of the optimized efficiency and reduced maintenance.
Mr Darkwa said among the key benefits of the FR3 oil was that it has the highest fire point, reaching over 360 Celsius without catching fire, adding that “when there is a fire outbreak this particular fluid will quench by itself”
The Managing Director explained that a transformer when is over loaded becomes hot, its temperature increases and could lead to an explosion.
He said considering the above factors there will be a need for government to support the initiative by implementing policies that will champion the use of sustainable peak load transformers with FR3 fluid; as it will save us money
Mr Darkwa again called on utility companies to patronize their transformers and there was no need to import as they were capable of producing 200 transformers in a month, adding that “we are preparing to team up with them to find solutions to the problem”
Mr Albert Cracco, Chairman, Westrafo Ghana, said based on the experience of major utilities around the globe, the yearly average loading of distribution transformers in the electric grid was between 10 to 25 per cent.
He said with the increased load ability of optimised SPL transformers, a utility could save as much as 20 per cent of total ownership cost, due to no-load losses, reducing the total dissipated energy during one year.
Mr Cracco noted that many users would be able to rationalise the cost of the transformers by choosing a smaller transformer to be installed in the grid.
“Whenever the loading peak is reached during the day, the transformer will be able to sustain it for a typical short duration peak loading time,” he added.
Mr Mark Andre Thelen, Sales Manager of Cargill Industries, said, with the SPL concept, utilities would be able to install transformers that better match actual grid load, obtaining fleet performance and cost flexibility with right size transformers.
He said transformers could have the same load capability but a smaller footprint, without raising concerns about the life of the transformer.
Mr Thelen said an SPL transformer does not need supplementary oil collection basins and could typically be installed with less clearing space.