December 2016 by Constructor Eléctrico Magazine Editorial / Prolec
Facing the challenge of caring for the environment and contributing to the sustainability of the planet without sacrificing the operational safety of electrical equipment, Prolec GE has developed a naturally-formulated oil with the electrical, physical, and chemical properties needed to be used as a cooling medium and electrical insulator in distribution and power transformers.
In an electric power transmission and distribution system, transformers are a key piece for a dependable supply to end users. For distribution and power transformers to operate, mineral oils produced from petroleum were commonly used. Due to the technical and cost advantages of these products, they were widely consumed.
However, they do have a significant negative impact on the environment and, in terms of safety, their low flash point can result in accidents and even represent a fire risk.
With this panorama and the growing need of adopting more environmentally friendly technologies, materials, and equipment, the early years of the decade saw the emergence of vegetable-oil based dielectric fluids for their application in oil-immersed transformers as an alternative to fossil fuels.
More than a decade ago, Prolec developed and patented the first vegetable oil based dielectric fluid in Mexico: VG-100®, which can be used in distribution and power transformers. The qualities of the VG-100® fluid composition allow Prolec to offer not only superior products but also green and sustainable solutions.
VG-100® is a natural ester- based dielectric fluid, created through an innovative process, that can be used in transformers. This fluid was developed as an environmentally friendly, 100 percent natural and biodegradable alternative, with no synthetic antioxidants, additives or toxic components derived from petroleum. Therefore, it is in compliance with international standards such as ASTM & IEEE.
VG-100® is a 100% natural oil from soybean seeds. Its chemical composition is based on a mixture of different types of fatty acids, and the manufacturing process that is followed to create it, gives it the characteristics and properties needed to be used as a dielectric fluid in transformers.
If compared to mineral oils, we can see that the VG-100 ® oil offers the advantage of being highly fire-resistant (has a high fire point), and this reduces the risk of fire in a transformer, which means that a Prolec transformer with VG-100® provides a high level of safety in its various applications, such as in the case of indoor installations.
Without a doubt, the implementation of 100% natural compositions is one of the most substantial advances in the industry in terms of energy efficiency. How could this be achieved? Thanks to the composition of natural ester-based oils, since they are made out of soybean, corn and sunflower seeds, as well as other agricultural products with fully biodegradable industrial applications that can be recycled.
Research in this regard continues to advance, and although mineral and natural fluids could be used for a wide variety of purposes, the latter have been gaining ground in the electrical industry, due to both the technical and environmental advantages they can offer. This in addition to the endless analysis of whether the countries have the necessary agricultural resources that could be used as raw material in the manufacture of natural dielectric fluids, and the challenge of offering more competitive prices.
At Prolec we work together to transform with innovation and responsibility.