Gassing Tendency of Natural Ester Based Transformer Oils: Low Ethane Generation in Stray Gassing Behavior
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Gassing Tendency of Natural Ester Based Transformer Oils: Low Ethane Generation in Stray Gassing Behavior

Authors: Banti Sidhiwala, T. C. S. M. Gupta


Mineral oils of naphthenic and paraffinic type are in use as insulating liquids in the transformer applications to protect solid insulation from moisture and ensures effective heat transfer/cooling. The performance of these type of oils have been proven in the field over many decades and the condition monitoring and diagnosis of transformer performance have been successfully monitored through oil properties and dissolved gas analysis methods successfully. Different types of gases can represent various types of faults that may occur due to faulty components or unfavorable operating conditions. A large amount of database has been generated in the industry for dissolved gas analysis in mineral oil-based transformer oils, and various models have been developed to predict faults and analyze data. Additionally, oil specifications and standards have been updated to include stray gassing limits that cover low-temperature faults. This modification has become an effective preventative maintenance tool that can help greatly in understanding the reasons for breakdowns of electrical insulating materials and related components. Natural esters have seen a rise in popularity in recent years due to their "green" credentials. Some of its benefits include biodegradability, a higher fire point, improvement in load capability of transformer and improved solid insulation life than mineral oils. However, the stray gassing test shows that hydrogen and hydrocarbons like methane (CH4) and ethane (C2H6) show very high values which are much higher than the limits of mineral oil standards. Though the standards for these types of esters are yet to be evolved, the higher values of hydrocarbon gases that are available in the market is of concern which might be interpreted as a fault in transformer operation. The current paper focuses on developing a class of natural esters with low levels of stray gassing by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and International Electric Council (IEC) methods much lower values compared to the natural ester-based products reported in the literature. The experimental results of products are explained.

Keywords: Biodegradability, fire point, dissolved gas analysis, natural ester, stray gassing.

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