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GE introduces next-generation transformer

Helping to improve safety at urban substations, Prolec-GE has announced that it has developed a new power transformer that utilizes a synthetic ester liquid instead of conventional mineral oil. Transformers represent the most significant fire safety challenge in electrical substations. By using a less-flammable synthetic ester liquid as a coolant and dielectric insulator, the risks associated with a potential transformer fire are significantly reduced. The synthetic ester has a high flash point, which makes it virtually impossible to sustain a fire once the transformer protections interrupt the electrical arc in the event of a fire. In addition, the potential for soil contamination from tank rupture is reduced since the ester is biodegradable.

Designed in collaboration with Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s national utility company, the new power transformers will be implemented by CFE to help modernize electrical substations across Mexico City and its metropolitan area.

“Fires in transformers can be highly dangerous and devastating to areas in close proximity to the substation. When a transformer fire occurs in indoor substations or densely populated areas, the impact can be amplified exponentially,” said Federico Ibarra, technical manager, CFE. “Safety is of the upmost importance to us at CFE. Our decision to implement Prolec-GE’s new transformers was made with this in mind.”

Prolec-GE’s project with CFE includes the installation of more than 50 power transformers and will be rolled out in a series of five stages.

“This new, innovative solution is without a doubt the result of successful collaborative work between CFE and Prolec-GE,” said Pedro Puente, vice president of Prolec-GE’s Power Transformers business. “The new transformers were designed and developed by a team of engineers at our Advanced Technology Center where we continuously work to develop new solutions to meet and exceed the present and future industry needs.”

The new Prolec-GE power transformers are designed to operate both indoors and outdoors, and will be installed by CFE in the densely populated centers of Mexico City. This urban setting created challenges beyond environmental compatibility, size and weight restrictions. The area’s high population required safety to take center stage, specifically the need to minimize potential fire and explosion risk. With Prolec-GE’s synthetic ester-filled transformers, CFE is able to meet its power needs and reduce the potential transformer fire risk to those close to the substation without experiencing a drop in transformer life expectancy.