Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Electrical Transformers Will Improve Power Quality

Date:
August 2, 1999
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
An engineering consortium led by Purdue University and the University of Missouri has taken a major step toward replacing the century-old technology behind the numerous, oil-filled power transformers that hang like icons from utility poles in residential neighborhoods.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- An engineering consortium led by Purdue University and the University of Missouri has taken a major step toward replacing the century-old technology behind the numerous, oil-filled power transformers that hang like icons from utility poles in residential neighborhoods.

Related Articles


The consortium developed a new class of transformers that will smooth out the uneven voltages that plague today's grid and prematurely age electrical hardware ranging from light bulbs to motors to power supplies in electronic equipment. They are designed with so-called "solid state" technology, meaning they rely primarily on semiconductor components such as transistors and integrated circuits instead of the heavy copper coils and iron cores of conventional transformers.

The work is sponsored by Asea Brown Boveri, an engineering and technology company with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. A patent recently was issued for the solid-state transformer, which over the next decade is expected to begin replacing existing technology, says Scott Sudhoff, an associate professor in the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Transformers are essential elements of the power grid; they convert the high-voltage electricity delivered by power lines to the 120-volt supply needed for consumers. Typically, one transformer supplies power to several homes. They come in three varieties: the pole-mounted canisters; ground-level metal boxes commonly painted green or blue; and, rarely, underground transformers.

Although the solid-state transformers may not look very different on the outside, they promise major advantages, most importantly in an area referred to as power quality, which is profoundly influenced by users of the grid. For example, some power equipment in homes, businesses and industry introduces electrical "pollution" that is passed on to neighbors, causing motors in various appliances to run less efficiently, heat up and go slower. The pollution causes voltages to fluctuate, affecting electrical devices such as light bulbs, which flicker and burn out faster. Heavy loads in one user's appliances can reduce the voltage for neighboring users and cause power outages.

"Your neighbor directly impacts your power quality," Sudhoff says.

Solid-state transformers would eliminate all such power-quality problems. They also would reduce the amount of current actually required to supply devices such as electric machinery, cutting down on losses associated with the transmission of electricity throughout the power grid. In addition, solid-state transformers represent an environmental improvement because they do not contain mineral oil, an insulation that can leak and pollute the environment.

Another drawback of conventional transformers is that they continually waste electricity.

"Even if you are away from home and nothing in your house is on, there are still losses in the transformer that go on all the time, and the utility pays for those losses," Sudhoff says, noting that the solid-state variety could reduce such waste.

And, while costs for materials used in conventional transformers are static, the costs associated with their solid-state counterparts are rapidly going down.

The transformers are being developed by the Energy Systems Analysis Consortium (ESAC), made up of Purdue, the University of Missouri-Rolla, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School and the U.S. Naval Academy. Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. owns all rights to the transformer patent.

A paper about the work was presented recently during a utility conference sponsored by the company. The paper was written by Sudhoff, Edward R. Ronan Jr., an engineer at the University of Missouri, Purdue engineer Steven F. Glover, and Dudley L. Galloway, a design engineer at the company's distribution transformer division.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "New Electrical Transformers Will Improve Power Quality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072533.htm>.
Purdue University. (1999, August 2). New Electrical Transformers Will Improve Power Quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072533.htm
Purdue University. "New Electrical Transformers Will Improve Power Quality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990802072533.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) — A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) — A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) — Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins