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Can I increase the kVA rating of an existing transformer?

The most common way to increase the available kVA rating of an existing transformer is to add additional fan cooling. This typically requires modifications including raising the transformers core, adding fans and fan brackets, a motor power supply and controls to start fan cooling when the transformer’s components reach a preset temperature. Fans should never be added without contacting and following specific instructions from the manufacturer. Low temperature rise transformers (115C and 80C rise with 220C insulation) can maintain higher loads in lower ambient transformers. Always follow proper ventilation and clearance instructions.

  • What is the “Efficiency” of a transformer?
  • Can I increase the kVA rating of an existing transformer?

      The most common way to increase the available kVA rating of an existing transformer is to add additional fan cooling. This typically requires modifications including raising the transformers core, adding fans and fan brackets, a motor power supply and controls to start fan cooling when the transformer’s components reach a preset temperature. Fans should never be added without contacting and following specific instructions from the manufacturer. Low temperature rise transformers (115C and 80C rise with 220C insulation) can maintain higher loads in lower ambient transformers. Always follow proper ventilation and clearance instructions.

  • What is an exciting or excitation current?

      A transformer exciting current is the current or amperes required to energize the core. Even with zero load, a transformer will draw a small amount of current due to internal loss. The excitation current is made up of two components. The real component in the form of losses that are commonly referred to as no-load losses. The second form is reactive power measured in KVAR.

  • What are Energy Efficient (TP1) Transformers?

      TP1 was often used to generically refer to the minimim efficiency levels that were originally require in Canada in 2005 and in the U.S. in 2006 for low voltage ventilated transformers. Specifically, the TP1 specification covers energy efficiency in transformers based on the NEMA Standards Publication, TP-1-1996, “Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers”. The TP1’s recomendations did consider the total owning cost of ownership unique for industrial or commercial installations. TP1 is measured per TP2 and displayed on the nameplate per TP3.

      The TP1 specifcations have now been replaced by higher efficiency specifications:

      • U.S.A.: DOE 2016 efficiency levels (January 1st, 2016)
      • Canada: NRCan 2019 efficiency levels (May 1st, 2019)

  • How does a UPS transformer’s efficiency affect the overall system efficiency?

      ASHRAE 90.4 Section 6.2.1.2.1.1 notes that UPS transformer’s efficiencies at given loads must be included in the total losses for evaluation. Active single feed systems should be evaluated at 100% and 50% ITE load while active dual feed systems should be evaluated at 50% and 25% loads.

  • What are the new Energy Efficiency levels in place for the Canada in 2019?

      Transformers have been and remain an essential part of our electrical infrastructure. Everywhere we look there is a transformer supplying power to industrial, commercial or residential applications.

      In the past decades the greenhouse gas emissions and the effects on our planet have become the focus of many governments, agencies and individuals. Energy generation is a major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to widespread efforts to make energy generation more environmentally friendly, there is also a goal to lower energy consumption within most industrial, commercial and residential areas. Achieving increased energy efficiency levels for equipment and consumer products has become a priority for many manufacturers.

      Improving the energy efficiency of new transformers is a primary goal of the Department of Natural Resources (French: Ministère des Ressources naturelles), operating under the FIP applied title Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). It has the legal authority to define efficiency levels and enforce compliance. Environmentally conscious consumers also recognize that buying a higher energy efficiency transformer will have a societal payback over many years.

      NRCan has established new and more stringent Energy Efficiency levels for Transformers in Canada effective May 1st, 2019 that is generically referred to as NRCan 2019. The new efficiency levels for Medium Voltage Liquid-Filled, Medium Voltage and Low Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers are defined byNRCan and largely follow the U.S.A.’s efficiency leves in the DOE’s 2016 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) title 10 part 431. The new efficiency levels are expected to reduce energy losses by an average of 18% in low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers and 13% for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, over the current C802.2 efficiency levels.

      To put the benefits of this change in perspective, the U.S.A’s DOE projects savings up to $12.9 billion (U.S.) in total costs to consumers and 3.63 quadrillion Btu of energy over a 30 year period. In addition, about 265 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 52 million automobiles. Canada can expect similar benefits but scaled to Canada’s overall economy.

      The subject of energy efficiency for transformers raises two main considerations:

      (1) Under normal operation a transformer is always on (typically at 35% average loading), making any energy efficiency improvements more significant over an extended period of time. This means that customers will be rewarded in two manners: they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and there is an economic payback through reduced energy costs.? Considering the life expectancy of a transformer and the fact that the transformer will be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 25-30 years, even small energy efficiency improvements will pay dividends for decades.? A secondary benefit is that more efficient transformers generate less heat, and in many cases this translates into lower costs to cool the environment in which they are utilized.

      (2) The currently mandated energy efficiency levels are already hovering around the 98-99% mark, depending on the type of transformer and ratings. This means that any further efficiency improvements become more challenging to achieve, typically requiring more and/or better core and conductor materials.? This will directly impact the cost of the transformer in most cases. However, as noted in point 1 above, there is an economic benefit to offset the higher initial transformer costs. The new NRCan 2019 compliant transformers that will come on the market will also be somewhat heavier than the current C802.2 efficiency level transformers.

      Hammond Power Solutions (HPS) has an online Energy Savings Calculator to help to our customers determine the savings they can achieve by installing a higher efficiency transformer.? It includes a comparison of transformers with older efficiencies to those of higher efficiency (NRCan 2019 and DOE 2016) as well as specifics of the application and the customer’s cost of energy.

      The Electricity savings resulting from upgrading one three phase 75 kVA transformer can be translated into one of the following:

      • 1.19 Metric Tons of CO2
      • 121 Gallons of Gasoline
      • About 1/6th of the energy used by an average household annually
      • Planting 28 Trees
      • 0.9 Acres of Forest
      • Recycling 0.34 Metric Tons of Waste
      • Savings of $166 per year at $0.12 per kW-Hr

      Dense Forest

      At some kVA ratings NEMA Premium energy efficiency levels meet or slightly exceed the DOE 2016 levels, some are slightly below the new requirements.? However, the NEMA Premium products are optional within the market today, and many consumers do not take advantage of the benefits they afford.? Hence, the DOE will require that all transformers manufactured after January 1st, 2016 will meet the new efficiency levels.

      The environmental impact and savings for our customers resulting from the DOE changes are positive and significant.? HPS fully embraces and supports this change, and the environmental benefits our society will receive as a result.? We proudly offer high quality transformers meeting the most stringent Energy efficiency requirements today and will be in a position to support the migration to the new DOE 2016 higher-efficiency designs for our valued partners and customers, beginning in the latter half of 2015.

      View HPS Transformer Savings Analyzer.

  • Did the DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 efficiency regulations result in product brand changes for HPS?

      The obsolete HPS TP1/C802.2 rated Sentinel, Synergy, Centurion and Express lines were still available in the Canadian until the NRCan 2019 efficiency levels (same as DOE 2016) were mandated. In addition the older medium voltage Millennium line was still available in Canada until NRCan 2019 May 1st, 2019.

      The older lines were replaced with DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 compliant low voltage Sentinal G (general purpose), Sentinel K (K rated), Sentinel H (harmonic mitigation) Express G and Tribune E (DIT, Canada only) product lines. In addition the medium voltage Millennium G, Millennium E and EnduraCoil lines also meet the updated DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 efficiency levels. While exempt from regulations, the Titan N encapsulated transformers often meet or exceed the DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 regulations.

  • What should I do if I need to quote a project that will ship after NRCan 2019 is implemented?
  • How will the new DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 compliant Sentinel G, K and H be different from the older TP1/C802.2 lines?
  • Can I still sell my TP1 efficiency transformers that I have in stock?
  • Are there any transformers exempt from this legislation?

      As defined by DOE 10 CFR 431.192 a Distribution transformer means a transformer that—

      • Has an input voltage of 34.5 kV or less;
      • Has an output voltage of 600 V or less;
      • Is rated for operation at a frequency of 60 Hz; and
      • Has a capacity of 10 kVA to 2500 kVA for liquid-immersed units and 15 kVA to 2500 kVA for dry-type units.

      These are the transformers subjected to the DOE 2016 requirements.

      Exceptions are defined by the same DOE 10 CFR 431.192.(5):

      • The term “distribution transformer” does not include a transformer that is an:
      1. Autotransformer;
      2. Drive (isolation) transformer;
      3. Grounding transformer;
      4. Machine-tool (control) transformer;
      5. Non-ventilated transformer;
      6. Rectifier transformer;
      7. Regulating transformer;
      8. Sealed transformer;
      9. Special-impedance transformer;
      10. Testing transformer;
      11. Transformer with tap range of 20 percent or more;
      12. Uninterruptible power supply transformer; or
      13. Welding transformer.

      Drive (isolation) transformer means a transformer that:

      1. Isolates an electric motor from the line;
      2. Accommodates the added loads of drive-created harmonics; and
      3. Is designed to withstand the additional mechanical stresses resulting from an alternating current adjustable frequency motor drive or a direct current motor drive.

  • What are the types of transformers affected by DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019?
  • Can I still sell my C802.2 efficiency transformers that I have in stock after NRCan 2019
  • What are the Energy Efficiency levels mandated by DOE as of January 1st 2016?

      The US Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of low-voltage (LV) dry-type distribution transformers in US since 2007, and liquid-immersed and medium-voltage (MV) dry-type distribution transformers since 2010.

      DOE’s CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) title 10, part 431 defines the current energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers sold in US also known as TP1 energy efficiency levels as adopted by NEMA. Effective Jan. 1st 2016 DOE’s CFR 10 p.431 will require new higher levels of Energy Efficiency for transformers installed in any US territory as published in the Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 75 on April 18, 2013.

      Any Distribution transformer manufactured on or after Jan. 1st 2016 and sold in any US state will have to comply with the new energy efficiency levels defined by this document.

      Q2: What are the types of transformers affected?

      The three types of distribution transformers covered by the standard are: low-voltage dry-type, liquid-immersed, and medium-voltage dry-type distribution transformers.

      Q3: What are the Energy Efficiency levels mandated by DOE as of January 1st 2016?

      The new Energy Efficiency levels mandated as of Jan.1st 2016 are as follows:

      Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Low-Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers

      Single phase   Three phase  
      kVA Efficiency (%) kVA Efficiency (%)
      15 97.7 15 97.89
      25 98 30 98.23
      37.5 98.2 45 98.4
      50 98.3 75 98.6
      75 98.5 112.5 98.74
      100 98.6 150 98.83
      167 98.7 225 98.94
      250 98.8 300 99.02
      333 98.9 500 99.14
          750 99.23
          1000 99.28
      Note: All efficiency values are at 35 percent of nameplate-rated load, determined according to the DOE Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Distribution Transformers under Appendix A to Subpart K of 10 CFR part 431.

      Bottom of Form

       

       

      Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Medium-Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers

      Single phase       Three phase      
      BIL* kVA 20–45 kV efficiency (%) 46–95 kV efficiency (%) 96 kV efficiency (%) BIL kVA 20–45 kV efficiency (%) 46–95 kV efficiency (%) 96 kV efficiency (%
      15 98.1 97.86 15 97.5 97.18
      25 98.33 98.12 30 97.9 97.63
      37.5 98.49 98.3 45 98.1 97.86
      50 98.6 98.42 75 98.33 98.13
      75 98.73 98.57 98.53 112.5 98.52 98.36
      100 98.82 98.67 98.63 150 98.65 98.51
      167 98.96 98.83 98.8 225 98.82 98.69 98.57
      250 99.07 98.95 98.91 300 98.93 98.81 98.69
      333 99.14 99.03 98.99 500 99.09 98.99 98.89
      500 99.22 99.12 99.09 750 99.21 99.12 99.02
      667 99.27 99.18 99.15 1000 99.28 99.2 99.11
      833 99.31 99.23 99.2 1500 99.37 99.3 99.21
              2000 99.43 99.36 99.28

      Bottom of Form

              2500 99.47 99.41 99.33
      BIL means basic impulse insulation level              
      Note: All efficiency values are at 50 percent of nameplate rated load, determined according to the DOE Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Distribution Transformers under Appendix A to Subpart K of 10 CFR part 431.

      Bottom of Form

                   

  • What is the energy efficiency regulation compliance in the U.S. and Canada?

      In the past several years, there has been an accelerated rate of change in updating energy efficiency standards for transformers in North America.

      Governments in US and Canada are encouraging users to use higher energy efficiency dry-type transformers, to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There is also a long term cost savings in operating higher efficiency transformers translated in lower energy usage, lower cooling cost, etc.

      In U.S.A. the Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated new higher efficiency levels effective Jan. 1st 2016.

      In Canada Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) published SOR/2016-311 which amends the Energy Efficiency Act to align the via amendment 14 the minimum energy efficiency levels for dry type transformers to the ones implemented by DOE in Jan 2016.

      The new NRCan 2019 regulation is going to be enforced across Canada on May 1st, 2019. The Ontario government already adopted these new efficiency levels by publishing the ON Reg.404-12 which in schedule 6 defines the new energy efficiency levels that dry type transformers sold in ON must comply with starting Jan.1st 2018 (Ontario Energy Efficiency Compliance).

      The rest of Canada (including Quebec) is still following the current energy efficiency levels prescribed by CSA C802.2, until the new NRCan regulations come in effect on May 1st 2019.

      To help our valued customers in estimating the cost savings resulting from upgrading their old dry type transformer to the new DOE2016/NRCan2019 efficiency levels, HPS has developed an Energy Savings Calculator available on its website. To find out how HPS can help reduce your energy consumption, click here.

      To visit the Canadian Gazette for more information about the Canadian energy efficiency standards, click here.

      For the Ontario Energy efficiency regulation please click here.

      To view an electronic copy of the U.S. DOE energy efficient standards, click here.

  • What are the environmental benefits of this change?

      According to DOE, the new amendments to the existing efficiency standards would further decrease electrical losses by about 8 percent for liquid-immersed transformers, 13 percent for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, and 18 percent for low-voltage dry-type transformers. In addition, about 264.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 51.75 million automobiles.

      Beginning in 2016, newly amended energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers will save up to $12.9 billion in total costs to consumers — ultimately saving families and businesses money while also reducing energy consumption. The new distribution transformer standards will also save 3.63 quadrillion British thermal units of energy for equipment sold over the 30-year period of 2016 to 2045.

  • Will NEMA Premium transformers continue to be offered?
  • Are “Low Temperature Rise” transformers more efficient?

      One common misconception is that low temperature rise units are more efficient.

      While they usually have better efficiency at full load, it doesn’t guarantee that this will be the case at lower loads.

      Efficiency regulations typically use an average load of 35% to 50% when specifying efficiency. A low temperature rise transformer with more mass and surface area, but running with a low load may be less efficient and produce more heat than a standard transformer, while still maintaining a low overall temperature rise.

      Core loss for low temperature rise units are higher than a transformer with the same kVA rating, but a higher rise (present whenever unit is energized).

      Transformer temperature rise and efficiency should be regarded as two separate issues. If a high efficiency unit is desired, the TP1 (DOE 10 CFR Part 431), C802.2 (Canada) or NEMA Premium® energy efficient specifications should be noted. These regulations are all compatible with low temperature rise transformers.

  • Can I increase the efficiency of an existing transformer?

      There are two main loss area of a transformer, load losses in the coils and no-load losses in the core. Coil losses can only be lowered by completely replacing the coils and using a larger conductor which typically would not be compatible with existing core. In order to reduce core losses, better grades of steel and/or more advanced core design would require the complete replacement of the core while still reusing the coils. While possible, it’d typically be uneconomical to do except for large, custom transformers. The last option for increasing transformer efficiency is to provide line power meeting IEEE 519 THDi and/or removing harmonics on the load side before they reach the transformer.

      In most cases the most economical method to increase a transformer’s efficiency is to replace older transformers with modern high efficiency models meeting current North American efficiency requirements.

  • What are the new Energy Efficiency levels coming for Transformers sold in the U.S.?

      Transformers have been and remain an essential part of our electrical infrastructure.  Everywhere we look there is a transformer supplying power to industrial, commercial or residential applications.

      In the past decades the greenhouse gas emissions and the effects on our planet have become the focus of many governments, agencies and individuals. Energy generation is a major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to widespread efforts to make energy generation more environmentally friendly, there is also a goal to lower energy consumption within most industrial, commercial and residential areas. Achieving increased energy efficiency levels for equipment and consumer products has become a priority for many manufacturers.

      Improving the energy efficiency of new transformers is a primary goal of the US Department of Energy (DOE), and they have the legal authority to define efficiency levels and enforce compliance.  Environmentally conscious consumers also recognize that buying a higher energy efficiency transformer will have a societal payback over many years.

      The Department of Energy has established new and more stringent Energy Efficiency levels for Transformers in the U.S. effective January 1st 2016.  The new efficiency levels for Medium Voltage Liquid-Filled, Medium Voltage and Low Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers are defined in DOE’s CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) title 10 part 431.  Widely known as DOE 10 CFR p431, it was published in the Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 75 on Thursday April 18, 2013.  According to the DOE, the new efficiency levels are expected to reduce energy losses by an average of 18% in low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers and 13% for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, over the current TP-1 efficiency levels.

      To put the benefits of this change in perspective, the DOE projects savings up to $12.9 billion in total costs to consumers and 3.63 quadrillion Btu of energy over a 30 year period. In addition, about 265 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 52 million automobiles.

      The subject of energy efficiency for transformers raises two main considerations:

      1. Under normal operation a transformer is always on (typically at 35% average loading), making any energy efficiency improvements more significant over an extended period of time.  This means that customers will be rewarded in two manners:  they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and there is an economic payback through reduced energy costs.  Considering the life expectancy of a transformer and the fact that the transformer will be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 25-30 years, even small energy efficiency improvements will pay dividends for decades.  A secondary benefit is that more efficient transformers generate less heat, and in many cases this translates into lower costs to cool the environment in which they are utilized.
      2. The currently mandated energy efficiency levels are already hovering around the 98-99% mark, depending on the type of transformer and ratings.  This means that any further efficiency improvements become more challenging to achieve, typically requiring more and/or better core and conductor materials.  This will directly impact the cost of the transformer in most cases.  However, as noted in point 1 above, there is an economic benefit to offset the higher initial transformer costs.  The new DOE 2016 compliant transformers that will come on the market will also be somewhat heavier than the current TP-1 efficiency level transformers.

      Hammond Power Solutions (HPS) has an online Energy Savings Calculator to help to our customers determine the savings they can achieve by installing a higher efficiency transformer.  It includes a comparison of transformers with older efficiencies to those of higher efficiency (TP1, NEMA Premium and DOE 2016 in the future) as well as specifics of the application and the customer’s cost of energy.

      Currently, for applications that require higher energy efficiency than the DOE regulated TP-1 levels, industry is using Premium Efficiency transformers defined by the NEMA Premium Efficiency Guidelines that stipulate approximately 30% lower loses than the TP-1 levels.  In terms of the environmental benefits of using a NEMA Premium transformer over a TP-1 rated let’s look at an example:

      The Electricity savings resulting from upgrading one three phase 75 kVA transformer can be translated into one of the following:

      • 1.19 Metric Tons of CO2
      • 121 Gallons of Gasoline
      • About 1/6th of the energy used by an average household annually
      • Planting 28 Trees
      • 0.9 Acres of Forest
      • Recycling 0.34 Metric Tons of Waste
      • Savings of $166 per year at $0.12 per kW-Hr

      Forest image 

      At some kVA ratings NEMA Premium energy efficiency levels meet or slightly exceed the DOE 2016 levels, some are slightly below the new requirements.  However, the NEMA Premium products are optional within the market today, and many consumers do not take advantage of the benefits they afford.  Hence, the DOE will require that all transformers manufactured after January 1st, 2016 will meet the new efficiency levels.

      The environmental impact and savings for our customers resulting from the DOE changes are positive and significant.  HPS fully embraces and supports this change, and the environmental benefits our society will receive as a result.  We proudly offer high quality transformers meeting the most stringent Energy efficiency requirements today and will be in a position to support the migration to the new DOE 2016 higher-efficiency designs for our valued partners and customers, beginning in the latter half of 2015.

  • New Energy Efficiency levels US 2016

      Transformers have been and remain an essential part of our electrical infrastructure.  Everywhere we look there is a transformer supplying power to industrial, commercial or residential applications.

      In the past decades the greenhouse gas emissions and the effects on our planet have become the focus of many governments, agencies and individuals. Energy generation is a major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to widespread efforts to make energy generation more environmentally friendly, there is also a goal to lower energy consumption within most industrial, commercial and residential areas. Achieving increased energy efficiency levels for equipment and consumer products has become a priority for many manufacturers.

      Improving the energy efficiency of new transformers is a primary goal of the US Department of Energy (DOE), and they have the legal authority to define efficiency levels and enforce compliance.  Environmentally conscious consumers also recognize that buying a higher energy efficiency transformer will have a societal payback over many years.

      The Department of Energy has established new and more stringent Energy Efficiency levels for Transformers in the U.S. effective January 1st 2016.  The new efficiency levels for Medium Voltage Liquid-Filled, Medium Voltage and Low Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers are defined in DOE’s CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) title 10 part 431.  Widely known as DOE 10 CFR p431, it was published in the Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 75 on Thursday April 18, 2013.  According to the DOE, the new efficiency levels are expected to reduce energy losses by an average of 18% in low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers and 13% for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, over the current TP-1 efficiency levels.

      To put the benefits of this change in perspective, the DOE projects savings up to $12.9 billion in total costs to consumers and 3.63 quadrillion Btu of energy over a 30 year period. In addition, about 265 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 52 million automobiles.

      The subject of energy efficiency for transformers raises two main considerations:

      (1) Under normal operation a transformer is always on (typically at 35% average loading), making any energy efficiency improvements more significant over an extended period of time.  This means that customers will be rewarded in two manners:  they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and there is an economic payback through reduced energy costs.  Considering the life expectancy of a transformer and the fact that the transformer will be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 25-30 years, even small energy efficiency improvements will pay dividends for decades.  A secondary benefit is that more efficient transformers generate less heat, and in many cases this translates into lower costs to cool the environment in which they are utilized.

      (2) The currently mandated energy efficiency levels are already hovering around the 98-99% mark, depending on the type of transformer and ratings.  This means that any further efficiency improvements become more challenging to achieve, typically requiring more and/or better core and conductor materials.  This will directly impact the cost of the transformer in most cases.  However, as noted in point 1 above, there is an economic benefit to offset the higher initial transformer costs.  The new DOE 2016 compliant transformers that will come on the market will also be somewhat heavier than the current TP-1 efficiency level transformers.

      Hammond Power Solutions (HPS) has an online Energy Savings Calculator to help to our customers determine the savings they can achieve by installing a higher efficiency transformer.  It includes a comparison of transformers with older efficiencies to those of higher efficiency (TP1, NEMA Premium and DOE 2016 in the future) as well as specifics of the application and the customer’s cost of energy.

      Currently, for applications that require higher energy efficiency than the DOE regulated TP-1 levels, industry is using Premium Efficiency transformers defined by the NEMA Premium Efficiency Guidelines that stipulate approximately 30% lower loses than the TP-1 levels.  In terms of the environmental benefits of using a NEMA Premium transformer over a TP-1 rated let’s look at an example:

      The Electricity savings resulting from upgrading one three phase 75 kVA transformer can be translated into one of the following:

      • 1.19 Metric Tons of CO2
      • 121 Gallons of Gasoline
      • About 1/6th of the energy used by an average household annually
      • Planting 28 Trees
      • 0.9 Acres of Forest
      • Recycling 0.34 Metric Tons of Waste
      • Savings of $166 per year at $0.12 per kW-Hr

      Dense Forest

       

      At some kVA ratings NEMA Premium energy efficiency levels meet or slightly exceed the DOE 2016 levels, some are slightly below the new requirements.  However, the NEMA Premium products are optional within the market today, and many consumers do not take advantage of the benefits they afford.  Hence, the DOE will require that all transformers manufactured after January 1st, 2016 will meet the new efficiency levels.

      The environmental impact and savings for our customers resulting from the DOE changes are positive and significant.  HPS fully embraces and supports this change, and the environmental benefits our society will receive as a result.  We proudly offer high quality transformers meeting the most stringent Energy efficiency requirements today and will be in a position to support the migration to the new DOE 2016 higher-efficiency designs for our valued partners and customers, beginning in the latter half of 2015.

  • How can I update my specification to include DOE 2016 compliant product?
  • What is DOE 2016 and how will it affect me?

      The US Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of low-voltage (LV) dry-type distribution transformers in US since 2007, and liquid-immersed and medium-voltage (MV) dry-type distribution transformers since 2010.

      DOE’s CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) title 10, part 431 defines the current energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers sold in US also known as TP1 energy efficiency levels as adopted by NEMA. Effective Jan. 1st 2016 DOE’s CFR 10 p.431 will require new higher levels of Energy Efficiency for transformers installed in any US territory as published in the Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 75 on April 18, 2013.

      Any Distribution transformer manufactured on or after Jan. 1st 2016 and sold in any US state will have to comply with the new energy efficiency levels defined by this document.

  • Will current TP1 Distribution efficiency units be available into Q4/2015 and Q1/2016?

      The supply will be hard to predict.  Many manufacturers will stop production of these units well before January 1st 2016.

      • Supply channel may be hesitant to stock the current TP1 units if specifications are largely updated to support the new regulations.
      • Manufacturers will establish cut-offs for stock replenishment and custom orders 2-5 months before January 1st, 2016.

  • Shunt reactor – definition
  • What is NEMA TP3?
  • What is NEMA TP2?

      NEMA TP2 defines how energy efficiency is measured. Typically, it uses a sinusoidal wave with no harmonics at unity (1.0) power factor at 35% load for 600 volt class units and 50% load for medium voltage units.

      This regulation has been replaced by similar test standards described in DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 regulations.

  • Are obsolete TP1/C802.2 transformers still available in North America?

      TP1 transformers built and in the U.S.A. before January 1st, 2016 can still be sold and installed in the U.S.A. At the time of this writing, stocks of new TP1 transformers are no longer readily available but may still be found in the used market.

      In Canada, NRCan 2019 will ban manufacturers from selling transformers after May 1st, 2019 which don’t meet the new 2019 efficiency regulations. Older C802.2 units can still be sold by distributors and installed after the regulations.

  • What is Coil Hot-Spot Temperature?

      It is the absolute maximum temperature present in the transformer. This number is equal to the sum of the ambient temperature, temperature rise and a variable.

      T Hot Spot = T ambient + T rise + (10-20) °C.

  • What is ANSI C57.12.91?
  • What is ANSI C57.12.51?

      IEEE Standard for Ventilated Dry- Type Power Transformers, 501 kVA and Larger, Three-Phase, with High- Voltage 34.5 kV to 601 V and Low- Voltage 208Y/120 V to 4160 V covering General Requirements. The current standard was updated in 2008.

      This standard is intended to set forth characteristics relating to performance, limited electrical and mechanical interchangeability, and safety of the equipment described, and to assist in the proper selection of such equipment. Specific rating combinations are described in the range from 750/1000 to 7500/10 000 kVA inclusive, with high-voltage 601 to 34 500 volts inclusive and low-voltage 208Y/120 to 4160 volts inclusive. Part I of this standard describes certain electrical and mechanical requirements and takes into consideration certain safety features of 60-Hz, two-winding, three-phase, ventilated dry-type transformers with self-cooled ratings 501 kVA and larger, generally used for step-down purposes. Part Il describes other requirements or alternatives which may be specified for some applications and lists forced-air-cooled ratings for certain sizes.

  • Why is the insulation rating for some distribution transformer set at 220°C and for others the rating is 200°C?

      Most standard ventilated distribution transformers use a 220°C insulation system. This insulation system provides a 150°C temperature rise over ambient, a 30°C hot spot and is meant to be installed in a 40°C ambient temperature.

      However, if a transformer is wound using copper wires, a few of the smaller frame sizes (15kVA and 30kVA three phase, 15kVA and 25kVA single phase) utilize a 200°C insulation with a 130°C temperature rise over ambient, a 30°C hot spot and is meant to be installed in a 40°C ambient temperature.

      The differences in these smaller kVA sizes using copper wire are the result of U.L. ratings of the wire’s insulation temperature rating. Copper wire has a significantly smaller diameter than an equivalent ampacity aluminum wire.

      Small copper wire with 220°C insulation is not always available, so insulation systems are limited to 200°C (Note: U.L. does not cover 200°C insulation systems for units greater than 1.2kV, they will use 180°C insulation systems).

      Small control and potted transformers have insulation systems well below 220°C because of the resin used. As a result, transformer manufactures generally rate transformers using copper conductors 30kVA and below as having a 200°C insulation system.

      Manufacturers compensate for this by building the transformers to run cooler at full load and as a result have a lower 130°C temperature rise and can operate in a 40°C environment.

      Because both units can be operated in a 40°C ambient, we say copper transformers 30kVA and below with a 130°C temperature rise are equivalent to larger units with a 150°C temperature rise.

  • What is meant by “Class” in insulation?

      The insulation rating is the maximum allowable winding (hot spot) temperature of a transformer operating at an ambient temperature of 40°C. Insulation systems are classified by the temperature rating. The following table summarizes the different insulation systems available.

      Insulation Rating

      Insulation Class

      Average Winding Temperature Rise

      Hot Spot Temperature Rise

      Maximum Winding Temperature

      Class 105 A 55 degree C 65 degree C 105 degree C
      Class 150 or 130 B 80 degree C 110 degree C 150 degree C
      Class 180 F 115 degree C 145 degree C 180 degree C
      Class 200 N 130 degree C 160 degree C 200 degree C
      Class 220 H 150 degree C 180 degree C 220 degree C
               
      Note: the maximum acceptable temperature rise based on an average ambient of 30 degree C during any 24 hour period and a maximum ambient of 40 degree C at any time.

  • What does Dry-Type Self-Cooled Transformer Class AA mean?
  • What does Dry-Type Self-Cooled Future-Forced-Air-Cooled Transformer Class AA FFA mean?

      Per 1.2.9.4 of NEMA ST-20, a dry-type transformer that has a self-cooled rating with cooling obtained by the natural circulation of air and which contains the provision for the addition of forced-air-cooling equipment at a later date.

  • What does Dry-Type Self-Cooled Force Air-Cooled Transformer Class AA FA mean?

      A dry-type transformer that has a self-cooled rating with cooling obtained by the natural circulation of air and a forced-air cooled rating with cooling obtained by the forced circulation of air. This is sometimes referred to as fan-cooled. Fan cooling can increase a transformer’s kVA rating by 25% to 50% depending on the type and size of the transformer.

  • What does Dry-Type Forced-Air-Cooled Transformer Class AFA mean?
  • What are the Advantages and Disadvantages to Using a Fan-Cooled Transformer?

      Advantages:

      • Smaller size; fans may add some height but may reduce width and depth
      • Lower costs for larger units (generally above 1000kVA) to add fans instead of conductor and core
      • Potentially better low-load efficiencies

       

      Disadvantages:

      • Increased complexity and maintenance
      • Increased cost as fan packages may cost more than just adding material in smaller units
      • Additional energy losses and noise when fan motors are operated in higher loads

  • Can transformers be operated above a 1000m/3300′ altitude?

      There are two main considerations for operating transformers at altitudes above 1000m/3300′. Current standards state designs must be valid to these heights. Above this height, the density of air no longer works as effectively to remove heat. As a result the functional kVA of the transformer must be reduced at higher altitudes, typically about .3% for every 100m/330′. The second issue is the dielectric constant of air is reduced at higher altitudes. Dry type transformers use air gaps as an important component of the electrical insulation properties. At higher altitudes, this lower insulation values, typically in medium voltage BIL levels. Ideally, if transformers will be installed above 1000m, inform the manufacturer and the design can be adjusted to meet all requirements at the higher altitudes.

  • What is a Fan Cooled transformer?
  • What is the ambient temperature specs for a standard transformer?

      A standard transformer with 220°C insulation and a 150°C temperature rise, will be rated to run full load in an average 30°C ambient environment over 24 hours with a maximum 40°C ambient temperature.

      Other magnetics may have lower or higher ambient ratings depending on the design and application.

  • What is the maximum surface temperature of a transformers terminals wire leads or connections points

      Per NEMA ST-20 (2014):

      • Transformers <= 10 kVA can be up to 50C above ambient with a typical maximum ambient of 25C.
      • Transformers > 10 kVA can be up to 35C above ambient with a typical maximum ambient of 40C.
      • Transformers with lower than standard temperature rises will have lower maximum connection point temperatures.

  • What is the lowest temperature transformers can be energized

      Dry-type transformers with the exception of Cast Coil (HPS Endura Coil) can be stored to temperatures of -50 degress C. Cast Coil Transformers can only be stored to temperatures of -20C. If a standard cast coil transformer is stored below -20C, the epoxy coils can crack. Transformers which are energized before 0C can be run in ambient temperatures to -40C.

      There are two main concerns with low temperatures occur during storage when the units are not energized. Energized transformers have load and no-load losses which will keep the core and coils operational to -40C:

      • Contraction and Expansion of the core and coil during low temperatures can crack or damage the insulation.
      • Cold temperatures can cause condensation to form on the transformer which can result in short circuits and insulation damage.

      The minimum ambient temperature designed for is -40C based on the Environment Canada data Extreme Minimum Temperatures for Wiarton, ON (-36.4C on 18-Jan-1977) and Lucknow, ON (-36.7C on 05-Feb-1918). If the temperature of a transformer’s core and coil is below -25C (typically during unenergized storage), please consult HPS for the cold start procedure before any energization. If the temperature of a transformer is below 0C, please follow the HPS Cold Start Procedure. It is recommended that the transformer be meggered to make sure it has a minimum value of 100 Megaohm before energization after storage.

  • What is the lowest temperature transformers can be stored in

      Dry-type transformers with the exception of Cast Coil (HPS Endura Coil) can be stored to temperatures of -50 degrees C. Cast Coil Transformers can only be stored to temperatures of -20C. If a standard cast coil transformer is stored below -20C, the epoxy coils can crack. Transformers which are energized before 0C can be run in ambient temperatures to -40C.

      There are two main concerns with low temperatures occuring during storage when the units are not energized. Energized transformers have load and no-load losses which will keep the core and coils operational to -40C:

      • Contraction and Expansion of the core and coil during low temperatures can crack or damage the insulation.
      • Cold temperatures can cause condensation to form on the transformer which can result in short circuits and insulation damage.

      The minimum ambient temperature designed for is -40C based on the Environment Canada data Extreme Minimum Temperatures for Wiarton, ON (-36.4C on 18-Jan-1977) and Lucknow, ON (-36.7C on 05-Feb-1918). If the temperature of a transformer’s core and coil is below -25C (typically during unenergized storage), please consult HPS for the cold start procedure before any energization. If the temperature of a transformer is below 0C, please follow the HPS Cold Start Procedure. It is recommended that the transformer be meggered to make sure it has a minimum value of 100 Megaohm before energization after storage.

  • Do any performance issues arise during low ambient temperatures?

      Generally low ambient temperatures do not affect an energized transformer. No-load losses on an energized transformer typically generate enough heat to operate effectively in temperatures to -20°C or lower.

      The main issue with lower temperatures is when the unit is not energized. Extremely low temperatures or if the transformer heats up too quickly may cause welds and insulation to become brittle and crack, especially if the transformer experiences any mechanical stresses.

      More importantly, low temperatures can cause moisture (dew, frost) to form on the unit. This can be absorbed into the insulation system and not be apparent.

      If ambient goes below -30°C, special designs and cold start procedures may be necessary. Care should be taken to store transformers in dry areas with temperature control. Installation manuals typically suggest that transformers be tested (meggered), brought above 0°C and/or go through a dry-out process if moisture is suspected to be present.

      Damage and injury can result from energizing a transformer which has had its insulation system compromised by moisture.

  • What is Temperature Class?

      It is the maximum temperature that the insulation can continuously withstand.

      The classes of insulation systems in a transformer are rated as follows:

      Class 105°C

      Class 150°C

      Class 180°C

      Class 220°C

  • Why Are There Physical Clearance (Distance) Requirements on the Nameplate?

      A ventilated transformer’s physical clearance requirements are designed to provide adequate clearance for airflow cooling. Generally, the larger the transformer the more airflow and clearance is needed. The more important areas are the front and back of ventilated transformers where the air may enter in the bottom and exit at the top. Since the sides of distribution transformers generally don’t have ventilation openings, side clearance is less important. There must also be no obstructions that limit airflow into the bottom vents and top clearance from ceilings must also be maintained.

      All smaller clearances should be reviewed by the manufacturer to verify they are adequate. Also note that electrical codes require minimum front panel clearances to allow safe and easy access to the wiring area. Units supplied with factory installed wall-mounting brackets may also have the back closer to the wall than the nameplate requirements; this is acceptable.  These statements may not apply to non-ventilated and/or potted transformers which don’t have ventilation slots and/or may have zero clearance when mounted to wall suing supplied brackets.

  • What is the base temperature rise of a transformer

      The base temperature rise of a transformer is the maximum temperature rise at the expected full load capacity. Transformers can be built to run cooler than the base temperature rise, these are typically referred to as lower temperature rise transformers which can either operate in higher ambient temperatures or have additional service factor.

      • 105C Insulation System: 55C Base Temperature Rise
      • 150C Insulation System: 80C Base Temperature Rise
      • 180C Insulation System: 115C Base Temperature Rise
      • 220C Insulation System: 150C Base Temperature Rise

      The Hot Spot Allowance is added the expected ambient temperature and full load temperature rise to get the total expected temperature rise of a transformer.

  • Do any performance issues arise during high ambient temperatures?

      Temperatures which exceed the rated ambient temperatures for which the insulation system is designed can cause insulation damage and premature failure. This can often occur in hotter
      environments or in rooms which have inadequate ventilation. Care should be taken in installing stacked transformers because the top transformer may use air that has been heated by the lower unit. Damage from high ambient temperatures often does not cause an immediate failure but can cause damage that results in a failure weeks, months or years later.

      High ambient temperatures can be mitigated several ways:

      • Order a transformer designed with a lower temperature rise.
      • Use fan cooling, this is typically an economical solution when a unit exceeds 500-1500kVA.
      • Place the transformer in a temperature controlled location.
      • Properly ventilate the location that the transformer is located in.

      Never try to use cooling fans directly on a transformer or blow across a transformer’s windings.

      Manufacturers use special fans, specific locations, and cooling patterns to cool transformers. Improper placement of airflow could cause disruption of the convection airflow and cause the transformer to overheat.

  • What is Temperature Rise?
  • What is ANSI C57.12.01?
  • What is NEMA ST 20?
  • What are Low Temperature Rise Transformers?

      All transformers have operating losses, and heat is the product of these losses. Hammond low temperature rise transformers are designed with reduced 115°C or 80°C full load operating temperature rises. These units decrease total operating losses by 20% and 35% respectively, compared with the standard 150°C rise operating system. Hammond low temperature rise transformers provide greater efficiency under normal operating conditions, and overload capability without harm to their service life or reliability.