Energy Management

Prolec GE announces Ecomagination certification of its amorphous metal distribution transformers


Apr 23, 2008

Prolec GE’s amorphous metal distribution transformers (AMDT) have been ecomagination certified by GE based on their ability to improve the efficiency of electrical power distribution. Prolec GE is a joint venture between GE Energy and Xignux.

Prolec GE’s AMDTs received GE's ecomagination certification after completing the company's rigorous environmental and operational evaluation. Ecomagination is GE's commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water.

These energy savings are realized because amorphous metal, during its formation process, adopts a random structure (similar to glass) enabling lower losses in the transformer core. Widespread adoption of these transformers could have a substantial impact on the environment. In the United States and Mexico, electric utilities and end users install more than 1 million distribution transformers each year. If all of these distribution transformers used GE’s amorphous metal core technology rather than high-efficiency silicon steel, the annual electricity savings would be about 750 million kWh, which is equal to the amount of electricity used by more than 800,000 average U.S. households annually.

These energy savings could avoid more than 465,000 tons of CO2 emissions from traditional U.S. electricity sources, which is equivalent to the impact of removing nearly 90,000 cars from U.S. roads for one year. In addition, these ultra-efficient transformers exceed the United States Department of Energy’s minimum efficiency standards two years before they take effect in 2010.

Prolec GE’s amorphous metal core distribution transformers also provide cost savings to utilities over their lifetime. A typical electric utility serving half a million customers installs 4,000 distribution transformers. This typical utility could realize an equivalent first cost savings of more than $800,000 by choosing the amorphous metal core technology over high-efficiency silicon steel. Wind farm owners are one of the many beneficiaries from the use of low-loss amorphous-core transformers.

These transformers reduce no-load transformer losses by approximately 65% and increase wind plant output by about 0.2% for an incremental purchase price of about 0.1%. Amorphous metal transformers allow wind farm owners to maximize their profitability and productivity with proven technology. They allow for a very high return on a virtually risk-free incremental investment, while delivering energy efficiency benefits that are consistent with the wind
industry’s environmental image.

For more information, visit