UK distribution network operator Northern Powergrid trials new eco-paint

24 October 2018 (Last Updated October 24th, 2018 15:40)

Northern Powergrid, an electricity distribution business in the UK, has trialled a new eco-paint, replacing its toxic white spirit-based paints.

UK distribution network operator Northern Powergrid trials new eco-paint
Northern Powergrid is responsible for over 1,200 transformers in the UK. Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Northern Powergrid, an electricity distribution business in the UK, has trialled a new eco-paint, replacing its toxic white spirit-based paints.

The distribution network operator uses thousands of gallons of paint each year to protect its network assets.

Rosh Engineering developed the new sustainable paint and, together with Northern Powergrid, has applied the new formula paint to a large power transformer in Darlington. The initial three-month performance assessment has been completed.

Teams at the two firms will continue to monitor the performance of the paint over the coming autumn and winter months.

The new paint provides some core benefits. It rapidly dries even at low temperatures of 6°C. It can also dry in less than an hour, thereby reducing the time it takes to disconnect, paint, and reconnect a transformer to the network from two days currently to less than one day.

Northern Powergrid director of safety, health, and environment Geoff Earl said: “Our transformers usually work in pairs so if one is out of service, the other keeps the lights on. Taking an asset offline for any period of time, even for essential maintenance, temporarily reduces security of supply for customers.

"Halving the downtime for a transformer could help us maintain network security for our customers and reduce the unavoidable decrease in network resilience that comes with some essential maintenance works."

“Halving the downtime for a transformer could help us maintain network security for our customers and significantly reduce the unavoidable decrease in network resilience that comes with some essential maintenance works.”

Northern Powergrid is responsible for over 1,200 transformers across the North East, Yorkshire, and northern Lincolnshire.

As each transformer would require several paint applications in its lifetime, the reduction from 48 to less than 24 hours of downtime is equal to savings of over 4,000 hours annually.

Given its water-based nature, it is claimed to be better for the environment and local air quality. The new paint also requires a thinner coat, thereby reducing raw materials by up to one third.

Rosh Engineering managing director Ian Dormer said: “Climate change issues are not to be taken lightly, but a lighter coat of paint could bring us one step closer to supporting a more stable future climate. If proven in this trial, this is a fantastic example of the small steps we can all take to improve our environment.

“Initial laboratory trials, as well as work with EA Technology using accelerated tests, have given us positive results but to have a network operator like Northern Powergrid, which is open-minded, environmentally proactive and prepared to carry out a live trial, is potentially game-changing.  We can really see how the paint performs and how it could help Northern Powergrid – and wider industry – better protect the country’s power network whilst taking positive steps to eradicate the use of hydrocarbon emitting spirit-based paints on infrastructure.”