The Microformer


Microformer. n. A device installed in electric systems for medium voltage electricity transmission and low-power distribution, which is assembled by knowledgable workers with free documentation using a modified microwave oven transformer, a metal holding container, and insulated connection standoffs


The Microformer was conceived as an alternative power distribution transformer mainly built using the transformer from a post-consumer microwave oven. Our design enables commercially viable electrification architectures suitable for developing communities at a fraction of the cost of existing commercial alternatives. This transformer embodies the concept of “right-sizing” which allows for greater electrical penetration for rural developing world electricity consumers. By lowering the power rating of distribution transformers, increasing the transmission voltage, and by re-servicing consumer product components to save manufacturing energy, and keep waste out of landfills, our unique alternative succeeds where previous attempts have failed.

Through “right-sizing” and using society’s waste as a resource base, the Microformer allows efficiency and life cycle energy gains to be realized in comparison to other transformer alternatives. These gains occur through energy savings in not manufacturing new transformers (but rather, re-servicing parts from post consumer products, i.e. microwave ovens), and power savings in increasing transmission voltage and enabling renewable energy penetration with respect to a certain class of rural electrification.  These savings will result in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions associated with transformer manufacturing and certain types of electricity transmission. Additionally, Microformers allow for the reduction of wood and oil use for light, the decrease of indoor air pollution, and some sources of black carbon, all of which help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Example Drawing

Step-by-Step Construction Guide

Take a look at our Make Your Microformer webpage to learn how to build a Microformer! The webpage is under Technology Transfer > The Microformer > Make Your Microformer in the menu bar.

Copyright Microformer 2011