Northern Powergrid has become the UK's first distribution network operator (DNO) to trial an innovative new eco-paint.
The DNO, which uses 1,000s of gallons of paint each year to protect its network assets, is working with the North East's Rosh Engineering to lead the way in using a newly invented sustainable paint that replaces the need for polluting white spirit-based paints.
Rosh Engineering and Northern Powergrid have successfully applied the new formula paint to a large power transformer in Darlington. The application has now completed its initial three-month performance assessment - marking the first critical milestone for the trial to see how it has performed over the summer months. Teams at Rosh and Northern Powergrid are set to continue monitoring the performance of the paint over the coming autumn and winter months.
The new paint offers three interconnected core benefits to the operator.
Firstly, it is rapid drying even at low temperatures. It can dry in less than an hour, changing the time it takes to disconnect, paint, and reconnect a transformer to the network from two days to less than one.
Geoff Earl, Northern Powergrid's director of safety, health and environment 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 significantly reduce the unavoidable decrease in network resilience that comes with some essential maintenance works."
Secondly, its water-based nature is better for the environment and local air quality.
Finally, the new paint needs a much thinner coat to protect an asset, reducing raw materials by up to a third.
Earl added: "At Northern Powergrid we are always looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of what we do for the communities we serve and to boost the economic strength of our region. Our assets are key to powering the millions of people every day; we want to ensure that we protect our network so it operates safely and efficiently for as long as possible for our customers. We are looking forward to seeing the results of this trial and how the paint could be used more widely across our business to keep our assets in peak condition for as long as possible whilst reducing our environmental impact."