Davao Light continues “green” efforts, eyes amorphous steel for transformers

Davao Light engineers test DTs

In embracing a more sustainable approach in providing electricity to households, Aboitiz-led Davao Light & Power Co. (Davao Light) is looking to use amorphous steel for the core components of their distribution transformers. 

Davao Light’s head for substation and electrical equipment, Arnel Bersabe, said that amorphous steel can help reduce transformer losses- or the energy wasted due to resistance in the wire used to wind the coil – by up to 60 % for a 50 kilovolt-ampere unit. 

“We are still validating this data. We will have a simulated installation of this transformer for actual measurement of its losses and verification of its in-service performance,” Bersabe said in a statement.

Distribution transformers contain a magnetic core made from laminated silicon steel sheets stacked together with primary and secondary wire windings wrapped around them. 

Bersabe said that the total owning cost of amorphous steel transformers is seen to be 10-percent cheaper than conventional silicon steel ones. 

Meanwhile, Davao Light – which covers Davao City and several areas in Davao Del Norte – had also been using natural ester oil, commonly known as vegetable oil, as insulation fluid to help prolong the life of its new distribution transformers by up to 33 percent.  

The average lifespan of distribution transformers is 35 years. 

The distribution utility added that ester oil is a safer material to use as it is non-toxic and 100% biodegradable. 

“We had difficulties in looking for contractors that can safely dispose of our used transformer oil, which back then was still mineral. Since it was already widely used in the energy industry, natural ester was an attractive option to us,” Bersabe said. 

Aside from Davao Light, Lopez-led First Philec uses natural ester oil as the insulation coolant for its “super green” transformers – which are made from 100% recyclable and biodegradable materials.