MIDEL fluid key element in First Philec’s new range of recyclable transformers

November 26, 2021, Singapore – The Philippines’ largest transformer manufacturer, First Philec Inc, has awarded a three-year contract to UK manufacturer M&I Materials for the supply of MIDEL eN 1204 natural ester transformer fluid. The fluid will be a critical element in First Philec’s line of fully recyclable transformers to be launched before the end of the year. The green transformers are to be made from 100-percent recyclable and biodegradable materials which will help power distributors reduce system losses and their carbon footprint.

MIDEL eN 1204 fluid (made from canola crops) has a very high “fire point” of 350 degrees Celsius (compared to 170 degrees Celsius for mineral oil), which will greatly improve distribution transformers’ resilience to fire risk. Data also showed ester oil could extend distribution transformers’ useful life. Since natural ester oil comes from vegetable crops, it is also readily biodegradable – a factor that will help accelerate distribution utilities’ goal of going greener and pushing for sustainability.

Steve Jones, sales director for MIDEL in the Asia-Pacific region, stated “Sustainability is fast becoming a critical factor for businesses all over the world. At M&I Materials, like First Philec, we have aligned our sustainability vision with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – doing so clearly signposts our vision for the future. First Philec bringing recyclable transformers into the market is circularity in action, and we look forward to working alongside them and other important partners to deliver tangible, verifiable steps towards a more sustainable future.”

The sharp surge in electricity consumption by residential customers, due to working from home and the community quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic, has encouraged utilities to seek out safer and greener ways to ensure the reliable supply of power to customers.

Accordingly, this contract supports the expansion of natural ester usage across the Philippines (previously MIDEL eN1204 was only used in 3 phase pad mounted transformers – the type used mostly in the property, commercial and industrial sectors).

Utilities are now shifting to a more environmentally friendly alternative to the mineral oil used as insulating liquid for its distribution transformers.  The move covers all single-phase pole mounted transformers, ranging from 25kVA to 333kVA – each containing approximately 50 liters of transformer insulating fluid, and typically located in densely populated residential areas. The shift to MIDEL natural ester will greatly reduce fire hazard risk in these areas and improve the ability to manage peak demands (data studies suggest that using natural ester oil as an insulating liquid allows for higher loading capacities of distribution transformers – a critical factor during the summer months in the Philippines when demand for electricity is higher).  Using natural ester fluid will also extend the life of these crucial assets. Another benefit is that natural ester fluid is easier and safer to handle at its end of life, compared to mineral oil which is non-biodegradable.

First Philec’s President, Ariel Ong, commented “We are pleased to help accelerate the pivot towards using cleaner, biodegradable materials in the electrical equipment industry. We are looking forward to forging more partnerships and alliances as we all move towards a decarbonized and regenerative future.”

Steve Jones concluded, “This new contract award reaffirms our presence in the Philippines as the preferred natural ester supplier, having originally entered into a bulk supply agreement in 2016 – a significant achievement in a highly competitive sector. We are committed to support the increasing requirements for natural ester transformer fluid throughout the Philippines, including intensely populous locations such as metro Manila. This will help improve not just the safety of the transformers but also First Philec’s sustainability journey.”