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Electricity North West saving £32m by recycling oil

Electricity North West has pioneered a new, environmentally friendly approach to regenerating transformer oil, which extends the life of its power equipment.

Electricity North West has pioneered a new, environmentally friendly approach to regenerating transformer oil, which extends the life of its power equipment. 

The power network operator was already the only UK operator with a dedicated oil reprocessing plant, which recycles 1.5 million litres of oil to insulate and cool transformers - enough to fill four swimming pools every year. 

Now, as part of a ground-breaking innovation project, a team of Electricity North West engineers have improved the recycling process and are using it to extend the life of high voltage transformers, which provide power to thousands of local homes and businesses. 

Extended lifetime


Paul Marshall, project manager at Electricity North West, said: “We are always looking 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 to 15 years. This new approach will save around £32 million over the next six years.”

Innovation strategy

The next phase of the innovation project will explore the best time to carry out oil recycling in the life of a transformer. 

Engineers will monitor twin transformers at 13 sites at various stages of their lives. At each site, the oil will be regenerated on one of the transformers so performance can be compared. 

The project is one of several ongoing as part Electricity North West’s plans for the transition to a low carbon energy system over the next 25 years.