What makes a transformer smart?
Traditionally, transformers are critical but often overlooked aspects of the high voltage infrastructure. Once deployed, they can have a lifespan of up to 50 years, and apart from a manual annual inspection are often left untouched.
By adding in carefully selected sensors and controls, Powerstar has brought its amorphous core distribution transformer into the 21st century by developing a remote monitoring platform that enables 24/7 real-time access to performance and conditional data of the products on an easy to navigate user-friendly platform.
Implementing smart transformers
The smart functionality, powered by online remote monitoring capabilities for enhanced visibility of asset performance and heightened integration with a variety of technologies, makes it perfect for a wide range of applications.
Wind farms increasing plant output
- The demanding intermittent nature of windfarms can put heavy strain onto transformers but by having 24/7 access to operational and conditional information about the transformer, failures can be avoided through preventative maintenance.
- The lower losses of the amorphous core transformer lead to greater generation than present with a traditional transformer. Consequently, this means that more energy from wind generation can be used, therefore heightening its effectiveness.
- Bespoke specifications can enable functionality in all conditions, even under demanding circumstances.
Solar (PV) farms
- The ability to view the performance characteristics of the transformer at any time can help you better manage the asset; this is crucial due to the variable nature of solar energy.
- Directly connect solar PV generation sources to the electricity grid.
- Ability to transform energy to be transmitted to the areas of consumption allowing for the utilising or selling of excess generation to the grid and become a ‘prosumer’ – an organisation that both consumes and produces energy.
Conventional transformer upgrades
- View the performance characteristics of the transformer from anywhere with a secure internet connection.
- Modernise the HV infrastructure – some transformers have been utilised for over 40 years and suffer from high losses.
- Greater efficiencies due to the amorphous alloy core.
- Smart amorphous core transformers can be designed to fit the requirements of isolation transformers, providing additional safety reassurance through constant monitoring.
- Ability to access key performance data remotely without shut down gives unrivalled insights into the asset performance as well as power quality.
Step up and step-down transformers
- As a critical part of the HV infrastructure, remote monitoring capabilities enable real-time engagement with the transformer’s performance, as well as providing GPS location for larger sites with multiple transformers so you can understand how each one is performing. With a life expectancy of over 50 years, easily accessible asset information can assist in ensuring longevity is achieved by understanding operational information.
- The lower losses experienced by the amorphous core present in Powerstar’s smart transformers heighten the efficiencies of step up and step-down transformers.
- The use of distribution transformers to achieve voltage management beyond the initial configuration of the transformer is not recommended. Due to the relationship between voltage and current, transformers should not be tapped beyond the settings they were specified and built to as this is when they will operate at their optimal efficiency.
- Voltage management can be achieved effectively by deploying LV optimisation alongside a new or existing transformer and the remote monitoring capabilities then enables sites to understand consumption, power quality and the savings generated.
The smart solution
Powerstar SO-LO is an 11kV to 415V amorphous core smart distribution transformer and was launched in 2018 to bring high voltage (HV) infrastructure management into the 21st century in response to Industry 4.0. Integrated with online remote monitoring capabilities, Powerstar SO-LO ensures you have full visibility of your transformer’s performance and condition, whereas traditional transformers remain offline and disconnected with the Internet of Things (IoT).