Smart transformers are transformers which integrates a general transformer’s features with monitoring software and communication technology among others. Power transformers are one of the most important and complex component of the electricity generation and transmission process. An owner of a power transformer has to face certain challenges such as high maintenance cost for extending life of a transformer among others. Failure of a power transformer can lead to dire consequences such as revenue loss, life loss and legal consequences among others.
Such challenges have led to the advent of smart transformers. This new-age transformers are designed to allow the maintenance of the power load independently. They can regulate the voltage constantly, while maintaining contact with the smart grid infrastructure, and deliver the optimal amount of power as and when required. They are programmed to allow remote monitoring and can act on any power fluctuations instantly. Provision for remote monitoring of critical components of the transformer, through in-built sensors, increases reliability of continuous power distribution and reduces chances of transformer failure. Faults can be recognized remotely on a real-time basis and actions can be taken faster. The smart transformers are also more environment friendly as they reduce energy consumption and thus reduce the emission of green house gases. They are also equipped to protect electrical equipments by safeguarding them from voltage fluctuations leading to increase in longevity of those equipments.
The market for smart transformers is still nascent but has tremendous potential of growth. Currently the market is mainly driven by the up gradation of aging power distribution networks across the globe. As part of development initiatives, governments in developing countries are undertaking huge investments to expand the reach of electrification across different villages and cities. Smart transformers are being utilized in such projects and thus their implementation is leading to the growth of the market. Demand for safer and more efficient power transmission coupled with environmental concerns on power generation has led to development of many international and nation-specific regulations such as European Commission’s Ecodesign regulation among others. Such regulations are also boosting the smart transformers market. The market is also positively impacted by the huge increase in utility (transformers) and industrial infrastructure development in the emerging markets such as China and India among others.
The global smart transformers market can be segmented, based on types, into distribution transformer, instrument transformer, power transformer and specialty transformer. On the basis of components, the market can be segmented into converters, high-frequency transformers, switches and others. On the basis of applications, the market can be segmented into electric vehicle charging, smart grid, traction locomotive and others. Furthermore, smart transformers market can be geographically segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC) and rest of the world.
Some of the key companies leading the distribution voltage regulator market are ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), Alstom SA (France), Cree Inc. (US), Crompton Greaves (India), Eaton Corporation Plc. (Ireland), General Electric Co. (US), Howard Industries Inc. (US), Mitsubishi Electric (Japan), Schneider Electric (France) and Siemens AG (Germany) among others.