07 August 2020

Power Zone

Power shift


ABB India has commissioned its first green distribution transformer for Tata Power in Mumbai


Irrespective of how many lights are turned off, there will be no end to power cuts unless generation and distribution of electricity is diversified. Recently Bengaluru saw a transformer blast in the busy locality of  Kormangala only to reveal the high risk factor associated with the usage of transformers. Power majors like ABB have been silently involved in projects across India's urban landscape and have been actively involved in connecting the power grid. Like for instance, the NE Agra Project, which once operational will be able to serve 90 million people. In Mumbai and Bengaluru, ABB has supplied Plug and Switch Switchgear (PASS) and Gas Insulated Substation (GIS to Tata Power and KPTCL as they address requirements. ABB has previously supplied several GIS substations to PGCIL too and has recently commissioned the 765/400 kV substation at Sholapur, ahead of schedule. The key node enabled the completion of the Raichur-Sholapur transmission line, linking the southern grid to the national transmission grid. All of India's five regional grids are now connected into a national power grid and operate on the same frequency. This marks an important milestone in the realization of India's 'One Nation – One Grid – One Frequency' vision, defined in the 1990s.

Further, keeping with its emphasis and commitment to developing environment-friendly products ABB India Ltd. has very recently supplied a safer, natural ester based green transformer to Tata Power. This might just be the solution to prevent such mishaps from taking place.




For over a century, power transformers around the world have been insulated with cellulose paper based products and mineral oil. These are low cost, easily available and exhibit excellent dielectric properties. But with increasing demand and space constraints, properties like poor fire resistance and slow biodegradability of mineral oil make these transformers less safe for use. A working alternative in the last decade has been vegetable oil based natural esters due to its superior biodegradable properties and higher fire point. Natural esters are produced from vegetable oils, which are manufactured from renewable sustainable) plant crops. Although natural ester fluids can be produced from a wide variety of crop oils, natural esters for electrical applications are most commonly produced from soya, rapeseed and sunflower oil.


In a bid to improve infrastructure for the populous city of Mumbai, Tata Power was looking for an alternative to the transformers filled with mineral oil, for safe use in residential areas. Based on prior manufacturing experience and ABB’s global technological resources, Tata Power picked ABB India to develop and deliver the green ester-filled distribution transformer. This formed a part of a compact substation that was commissioned by ABB India.


“A transformer that catches fire cannot be redeployed. More importantly, it puts at risk the people in the vicinity. Ester-filled green transformers are sustainable, environment friendly and a safe alternative, especially for residential areas,” Pitamber Shivnani, Division Manager, Power Products, said. “Such benefits make ester filled transformers a compelling option – a shift to green transformers would not be surprising.”


The success of the project was a result of combined efforts of the sales and technology teams at ABB India. In close coordination with Tata Power and using its global expertise, ABB India developed the 990 kVA 11/0.433 kV ester filled green distribution transformer, which was manufactured at the newly inaugurated oil-filled and dry type distribution transformer factory at Savli, near Vadodara. ABB’s natural ester alternatives to mineral oil filled transformers have found success across varied markets in Europe and America.


ABB invests $1.5 billion annually in research and development, partners with universities worldwide as part of its mission of helping customers reduce energy consumption and boost efficiency to preserve the earth's resources.

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