At the doorstep of energy transition

The international energy agency (IEA) reports that electricity contributes to about 20% of the total final energy globally. It also foresees that the existing decarbonization drive and further electrification demands can push towards this limit by over 7% by the end of 2030. These circumstances also means that there is an increased attention and investment towards achieveing sustainability in the transformer industry.

A transformer serves as the backbone of electricity grid with a theoretical lifespan of about five decades and expected to perform at maximum efficiency. However, electrical losses over the lifespan of transformers often lead to siginificant carbon emissions and energy wastage, that can be salvaged and utilized for higher investment returns.

In order to meet these sustainability goals, the transformer industry is focusing on building “greener” products that comprises of bio-degradeable and recycleable materials, resilient designs and operational strategies. We believe that a comprehensive sustainability approach also requries deploying a smart asset maintenance and management strategy to reduce carbon footprints and improve energy efficiency.

Join us on this transformative journey towards a brighter, greener, and more sustainable future in this blog.

Latest on the sustainability trends

One major concern in the transformer industry is the elongated lead times for new transformers that can significantly impact financial decisions. As a part of design and material based approach, the transformer industry often invests in upgrading of existing assets by repair, refurbishment, or even retrofilling as an alternative. While, international working committees such as IEEE, IEC and CIGRE are highlighting the challenges posed by the scarcity of new power transformers, the real challenge is to find assistance in asset-related decision making.

Evidently, we can reduce energy wastage and make a substantial decrease in carbon emissions with proper upgradation decisions. Imagine the impact – curbing emissions equivalent to those produced by multiple coal-fired plants. And that’s not all; this transition also translates into tangible savings for consumers, allowing you to enjoy considerable reductions on your energy bills. However, like any significant transformation, challenges are inevitable.

Retire or retain?

The need for asset upgration may stem from various reasons. For instance, the passive nature of transformers does not allow them to self-adjust against fluctuating voltage levels during operation thereby causing energy losses. In this regard, the rise of real-time monitoring of various conditional parameters such as voltage level or oil health in smart transformers is an innovative approach towards energy management.

In real world scenario, the number of smart transformers is relatively low and most of the global utilities have ageing assets and infrastructure. Surprisingly, the design of power transformers has remained largely unchanged since their inception, making it imperative for the industry to embrace new paradigms. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) finds the scope of work and improving decision-support systems.

Replace, Refurbish, or Repair

Investing in a new power transformer or sticking with scheduled service, repairs, or upgrades can be a complex decision despite being an alternative and economical approach towards sustainability. With the advancements in intelligent and predictive/preventive maintenance methodologies and technologies, such a proactive approach is gaining ground.

For instance, transformer replacement depends on a comprehensive economic and logistical evaluation. While partial remedial services can prolong a unit’s life, they might not enhance its efficiency. Conversely, a complete overhaul could facilitate the installation of a more efficient transformer with improved safety margins, reduced temperature rise, and a diminished total cost of ownership.

The option of retrofitting with natural ester further contributes to lowered maintenance expenses in the future. The spectrum of upgrade possibilities is expansive, but so are the associated costs. A comprehensive overhaul might command over 70% of the price of a new transformer, albeit with the advantage of a shorter delivery timeline. Thus, the universal answer to this question remains elusive, and each case necessitates a distinct evaluation based on its unique merits.

Transformers that have surpassed the 50-year mark can benefit from stringent service schedules, which have proven to maintain them in optimal working conditions. Following the guidelines set by the IEEE Standard C57.143 for online monitoring, we can implement condition-based maintenance, asset and life management, and failure analysis, ultimately increasing the availability and longevity of these vital components. The reliability “bathtub curve” clearly demonstrates how condition monitoring extends the lifespan of transformers. Make an informed decision and ensure the continued efficiency and reliability of your power transformers.

Transforming tomorrow with AI

Over the past few decades, extensive research has been dedicated to the field of intelligent diagnostics and monitoring of transformers. While major utilities are grappling with the potential of an energy crisis, industry trade groups caution against relying on aging transformers to sustain the power supply.

Disrupted supply chains can lead to significant delays in transformer replacements, especially under challenging weather or logistical conditions. Moreover, rising fuel prices further complicate the issue by increasing transportation charges and other costs. In this ever-evolving tapestry of energy and technology, the intersection of power transformers, AI, sustainability, and economic viability presents a dynamic landscape that demands careful navigation. The decisions made today will have lasting implications, shaping the energy ecosystem for future generations.

As industries, researchers, and policymakers collaborate to chart a path forward, the imperative remains clear: striking a delicate balance between innovation, sustainability, and reliability to secure the power that fuels modern life. These endeavors are continuously evolving, constantly striving for refinements and enhancements

Ronin AI’s contribution to sustainability best practices

In today’s rapidly evolving energy landscape, finding an optimal balance between innovation, economy, and environment is the key to deliver sustainable power technology solutions. At Seetalabs, we understand the intricacies of this industry landscape. We believe that the synergy between power transformers, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and economic viability is vital.

Our Ronin AI helps in making reliability decisions on large transformer fleets by ranking assets with higher likelihood of failure and reactive timeline by using transformer oil condition data. As we collaborate with industries, researchers, and policymakers as a part of our deepbrains project, our ultimate goal is clear – to strike the perfect balance between innovation, sustainability, and reliability. Guided by the power of AI, we build resilient, reliable, and cost-effect asset monitoring and maintenance management solutions for “greener” approach towards asset lifecycle analysis.