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Energy efficiency: Amorphous Energy Efficiency Distribution Transformer

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Japan

Metglas®: Energy Efficient Amorphous Metal for Distribution Transformer

Power industries today are searching for a technology that saves energy and reduces their operating cost. To meet their demand, Metglas has developed amorphous metal core material optimized for the Power industry. Hitachi Metals, Ltd. specifically produces Metglas® ribbons for use in distribution transformers. Normally, 10% of all electricity generated by an electric company is lost during the transmission and distribution process. Distribution transformers made of Metglas® help saves a significant amount of energy and cost. They have been distributed in many countries including Japan, the U.S., China, and India.

 

Major Features and Advantages

I. Amorphous Metal

To produce amorphous metal, melted alloy is rapidly cooled at a speed of over 1 million °C per second. Amorphous metal is a type of metal that does not have a crystalline structure, which implies different properties in different directions. In other words, the metal has a random atomic structure which makes it extremely efficient in transformer applications. It has both high permeability and excellent soft magnetic properties. The amorphous metal used in transformers such as pole transformers and industrial transformers is mainly composed of iron.

 

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II. Energy Efficiency

Energy loss of transformers largely depends on the magnetic properties of the material used for the construction of core. Metglas® reduces core loss by up to 70%. No-load loss (stand-by loss) of amorphous metal is reduced to 1/3 of those conventional materials. Amorphous metal also reduces CO2 emissions by saving energy since less energy must be generated since losses are lower in the distribution system. It is a material that saves energy and contributes to the environment.

 

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III. Cost Efficiency

Most distribution transformers can be operated for 20 to 30 years. When purchasing a transformer, one must consider operating costs along with the initial price. Although initial price of amorphous metal distribution transformers (AMDT) may be higher than that of conventional distribution transformers, the long-term operating cost is lower. The total owing cost (TOC), calculated based on the initial purchase price and the cost of future energy losses, is significantly lower for AMDT. Purchase of AMDT is, therefore, an economical decision.

IV. Various Use

Besides transformers, Metglas® is used in inverters (solar inverter and wind inverter), hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) system, switch-mode power supply, motor control systems, and materials used in anti-theft tags, etc.

Hitachi Metals, Ltd. is a leading company that produces high-quality amorphous metal that is distributed throughout the world. Metglas® is an ideal solution in power industries, allowing us to save energy, helping us reduce fossil-fuel dependency and creating a cleaner environment with higher air quality.

 

Technology Data

Conceivable applications

1. Distribution Transformer (DT) for power grid.
More than ever, electric utilities and industries today are searching for technologies that will reduce their operating costs and improve energy savings throughout their systems. New transmission and distribution (T&D) technologies are now available to help utilities meet these goals.
With a new generation of Metglas® amorphous metal distribution transformers (AMDTs) — with up to 80% lower core loss than conventional transformers — Metglas, Inc. is helping utilities worldwide to achieve their efficiency objectives. When you consider that 10% of all electricity generated by utilities is lost in the transmission & distribution process, the potential savings through reductions in core loss can be significant.
Ultra-efficient transformer cores made with Metglas® amorphous metal alloy make lower core losses possible. Amorphous metal distribution transformers are key to improving utility economics and enhancing energy conservation efforts worldwide

2. AM-core or AM choke coil for inverter equipment(Solar inverter, Wind inverter, HEV, Switched mode power supply, Motor control equipment, etc)

3. Material for Anti -Theft tags

4. Example of application
Please refer Figure 3(Principal Use of Amorphous Alloy. Last page).

5. Amorphous Metal Transformer (AMT)
AMT contributes to energy saving of distribution grid and to reduce CO2 emission.
Please see Figure 4(Comparison data of Loss between AMDT and CRGO-DT)
Heat Spectrum Radiated in CRGO-DT is significant compared to Metglas® AMDT due to its significant core losses.
Please see Figure 5(Infrared Photographs of AMDT and CRGO-DT. Last page).

 

Competitive advantage

1. Energy saving and CO2 emission reduction because of low losses
-No Load Loss (stand-by loss) of Amorphous transformer is one third of that of a CRGO transformer. Standby losses are significant in electricity distribution.

2. Total Owning Cost of Distribution Transformer(DT )
DT usually can be operated 20-30 years or more (average life time in EU is around 40 years), so purchase of DT based on initial price is not economical in their lifetimes. TOC takes account of initial price and running cost in a life time, not only initial price. Price of energy efficiency product such as AMDT is usually higher than traditional products, but running cost is lower than tradition products. So, TOC is suitable economical analysis method for energy efficient products and long life products.
TOC = Initial Purchase Price + Cost of Future Energy Losses
Please see Figure 6(Image of TOC concept).

3. Competing products
1) CRGO
This is traditional steel and there are a lot of grades. The AMT’s NLL in a transformer is much lower than that of the best grades of CRGO. There are many CRGO suppliers, but suppliers who can produce high grade CRGO are limited.
2) Amorphous metals
Dozens of AM supplier in the world, but suppliers who can produce wider ribbon are two companies. We are one of them, and we are leading company of AM and our capacity and quality is better than others.

 

Performance

– Loss of Amorphous metal is around 1/5*1 compared with Cold Rolled Grain Oriented electrical steel (CRGO).
– No Load Loss (stand-by loss) of Amorphous transformer is 1/3*1 compared with CRGO transformer.

*1 As reported in Techno-report 2009, published by Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.

 

Technical maturity / Past record of introduction

1. This technology was developed in 1970’s, and AMT’s were beginning to be used in the 1980’s. They became popular in the mid 2000’s because of the rise of energy conservation and the rise of interest in the environment. They are used in many countries such as Japan, USA, China, India.

2. Installed quantities of Amorphous transformer in each county
Rating of DT has wide range such as 10kVA – 3,000kVA. And major rating of DT is different in each country.
So, this is just installed quantities, for the reference.

Japan : 410,000 units
USA : 420,000 units
China : 385,000 units
India : 800,000 units
Mexico : 65,000 units
Brazil : 60,000 units
S.Korea : 80,000 units
*MetglasTM estimates.

 

Conceivable risk

1. If electricity tariff will become very cheap, TOC concept will not be workable, though you can reduce loss by AMT.

2. Process of making AMT is different compared with CRGO-DT. But we can provide technical support.

 

Information on patent related to this technology

1. 3594123
2. US6425960, CNZL00106498.3, CN200510118133.X
3. 4636365, TWI352740
4. CNZL200680010924.3, TW I307517, US2021498
5. US7425239, CNZL200510066862.5, EP1615241
6. 4310738
7. 4392649
8. 4547671
9. 4558664, TWI359428
10. 4843620
11. 4771215
12. US8083867, ZL200680050311.2

 

Contact person

Mr. Masahiro OKADA
Sales & Planning Dep.
Soft Magnetic Materials Division
High-grade Materials Company
E-mail : masahiro.okada.dp@hitachi-metals.com

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Technology owners:

Hitachi Metals, Ltd.