The region’s network power operator has pioneered a new, environmentally friendly approach to recycling oil which extends the life of its power equipment and keeps costs down for customers across the North West.
Electricity North West is the only UK network operator with a dedicated plant for reprocessing oil which is used to insulate and cool transformers. Based at Whitebirk near Blackburn, the plant already recycles 1.5 million litres of oil every year – enough to fill four swimming pools.
Now, as part of a groundbreaking innovation project, a team of Electricity North West engineers have improved the oil recycling process and are using it to extend the life of 12 high voltage transformers in Cumbria. The transformers, which provide power to thousands of local homes and businesses, use up to 40,000 litres of oil each (about the same as 200 bath tubs).
Electricity North West project manager Paul Marshall said: “We are always looking ahead at ways we can improve our network to meet our customers’ needs and limit impact on the environment. Transformers are essential parts of power networks that change the voltage of electricity so that it can be safely delivered to homes and businesses.
“Research shows that recycling the oil they use in this way can extend the life of a transformer by 10–15 years. This new approach will save around £32 million over the next six years – savings which will help the environment and help keep bills down for our customers.”
You can find out more about this and Electricity North West’s other innovation projects at www.enwl.co.uk/innovation.