You are on page 1of 4

Fifteenth National Power Systems Conference (NPSC), IIT Bombay, December 2008

Assessing Remnant Life of Transformer based on Furan Content in Transformer Oil and Degree of Polymerization of Solid insulation
Sanjay.G.Patki, S.G.Patil, Jaspal. S. Wadhwa, The Tata Power Company Limited, Mumbai email: jwadhwa@tatapower.com
Abstract - Power Transformers are the most vital components in a sub-station / Receiving station. Failure of a Transformer leads to loss of Revenue besides affecting reliability of power supply to consumers. It can lead to non-availability of the Transformer for long durations. In order to ensure that Power Transformers provide long and trouble-free service, several diagnostic tests are carried out and remedial actions initiated throughout their operational lifetime. For the oil-filled Transformers, more particularly which are in service for more than 15 years, it is advisable that we should also estimate the residual life of the Transformers. It can be done by assessing the extent of degradation of the cellulosic paper insulation through Furan content in Transformer oil and degree of polymerization of paper insulation. This can help the utilities in making optimum use of the Transformers and also taking timely decisions regarding refurbishment / replacement of Transformers, The paper presents the real life case study of assessing the health of cellulosic paper insulation of a 72.5 MVA Power Transformer, which is in service for the last 31 years. I. Introduction Power Transformers are the most vital and costliest components of Electrical Power system. In order to ensure reliable and economic power supply, it is essential that we should utilize the installed transformers optimally. At Tata Power, we have detailed Condition Monitoring plan for Power Transformers, in order to assess the condition of windings, insulation, core, Transformer oil. The condition Monitoring Tests includes IR, Tan-delta, Mag-Balance, Winding resistance, Turns ratio, Bushing Tan-delta, DGA, Oil BDV, etc. About 4 years back we have also started carrying out SFRA (Sweep Frequency Response test). We have also installed COPS (Constant Oil Pressure system) on most of the Transformers, which separates the Transformer oil from the atmosphere, preventing gas / moisture contamination of oil. Though the life of a Transformer is generally accepted to be 25 to 30 years, at Tata Power about in service beyond 25 years, it was felt that we should also assess the residual life of the Transformers, so that appropriate and timely action can be initiated for their refurbishment / replacement. This would also help us in avoiding unforeseen tripping of any Transformer, which could result in interruption of power supply. As a first step, the Furan content measurement for all the Power Transformers was carried out in 2006. The Total Furan content of a 72.5 MVA Transformer at our Saki s/s was the highest i.e. 1226 ppb, indicating that the paper insulation has deteriorated. This Transformer has been in service since 1977. The Total Furan content of the Transformer was monitored since then. It increased to 1404 ppb within the next 4 months. In Feb 2008, when the Test was carried, the Furan content had increased to 8530 ppb. The Furan content in the Transformer oil had reached 12739 ppb by April 2008. This set the alarm bell ringing. Reference [1] indicates that in case the total Furan content is more than 2500 ppb, the winding needs to be replaced / rewound. We also carried out FDS (Frequency Domain Spectroscopy) Test, in order to ascertain the moisture content in the solid insulation. The moisture content in the solid insulation was found to be 3.5 %, which was on the higher side. As the Furan content in oil had increased at a rapid rate, the moisture content in solid insulation was high and the Transformer was in service for 31 years, we decided to carry out the DP test in order to ascertain the extent of degradation of solid insulation. II Transformer Details and History The 72.5 MVA, 110 KV/ 23.1 KV Transformer Sr. No: 23976, manufactured in 1976, has been is in service at our Saki s/s sine Dec 1977. The Transformer is provided with Off load Tapchanger. The Transformer was up rated from 60 MVA to 72.5 MVA in April 1985 with the installation of oil pumps and additional radiators. In Nov 1993, Transformer oil was replaced. In March 1997, B phase Tap changer assembly was replaced and A and C phase Tap changer moving contacts were replaced as they were damaged. In March 2004, the conservator was replaced with COPS. During 1983-1995, the above Transformer was 90 % loaded for 4 hours daily on week days and the Max. winding Temperature reached 90 deg C. During 1995-2006, the Transformer was loaded upto 50-60 % of its rated capacity during peak hours. The peak load progressively increased thereafter and in the

40 % of our Transformers are in service for more than 25 years because of the elaborate condition Monitoring process. Since a large population of the Transformers is

508

Fifteenth National Power Systems Conference (NPSC), IIT Bombay, December 2008

summer month of May 2007, the peak load was 80-85 % of its rated capacity for 4 hours. However the minimum load on the Transformer dropped to 20 MW during the night. The maximum and minimum winding temperatures were recorded as 90 deg C and 55 deg C respectively. III Analysis and Discussion The Diagnostic Tests were done regularly for the above Transformer and no abnormality was indicated. The DGA of Transformer oil was done regularly and no abnormality was indicated till Oct 2007. The values of the dissolved gases are tabulated in Table I. Table I Dissolved gases in Transformer Oil (ppm) 13/09/06 58.5 24.7 11.5 0 35.2 22/10/07 75 38 13 0 79 08/04/08 87.41 40.54 8.95 0 87

As the Transformer was in service for more than 31 years, it was necessary that we should evaluate the remnant life of the solid insulation and plan further suitable action for its replacement / refurbishment. We decided to carry out the DP test to ascertain the extent of degradation of the paper insulation. The DP test involved availing the outage of Transformer for 10 days. The peak load of our Saki s/s was in the range of 173 MVA, whereas the firm capacity was only 145 MVA. As the Furan content in oil had reached such alarming levels and moisture content in solid insulation was also high, we could not afford to wait any longer. The failure of Transformer would have resulted in load shedding of about 33 MVA load during peak hours. Hence we decided to carry out the DP test in the last week of April 2008. We had to transfer 25 MVA load of REL and 8 MVA load of TPC-D for availing the outage of The Transformer for the DP Test. The Transformer oil was drained, bell tank lifted and paper samples were taken from 25 different locations for the DP test. The paper samples from top 2-3 layers of the winding leads and the pressboard samples were taken for the measurement of DP from various locations. The winding leads were retaped with the fresh paper insulation, from wherever the paper samples were cut. The sample locations and test results are given in Table III Table III DP Test Results Sr.No. 1 Paper sample taken from R phase winding, Top lead (Outer layer) R phase winding, Center lead (Outer layer) R phase winding, Center (Innermost layer) Barrier board between R & Y phase (Top) Barrier board between R & Y phase (Center) Barrier board between R & Y phase (Bottom) Y phase winding, Top lead (Outer layer) Y phase winding, Bottom lead (Outer layer) Y phase winding, Bottom lead (1st inner layer) Y phase winding, Bottom lead (Innermost layer) Old barrier board between Y & B phase (Top) Old barrier board between Y & B phase (Center) DP value 767

Methane Ethane Ethylene Acetylene Propane + Propylene Hydrogen CO CO2 Total Gas content % v/v in oil

88 115 3328 8.19

336 14 0 7.12

260 488 14011 14.44

The DGA result of April 2008 indicated general overheating involving cellulose insulation. The Furan Content in the Transformer oil was measured for the first time in 2006 and it was monitored since then, as the values were the highest amongst all the Power Transformers in Tata Power. The Furan Content details are tabulated in Table II. Table II Furan Content in Transformer Oil (ppb) Aug 06 43 Jan 08 28 Feb 08 140 Apr 08 0

2 3 4

515 821 704

5 6

556 539

7 8

782 343

5- Hydroxymethyl-2 Furfural 2-Furfuryl Alcohol 2-Furfural 2-Acetyl Furan 5-Methyl 2-Furfural Total Furan content

13 1127 14 29 1226

26 1308 11 31 1404

0 8390 0 0 8530

0 12739 0 0 12739

9 10 11

868 892 1244

The Furan content above 2500 ppb indicates that the solid insulation has deteriorated.

12

603

509

Fifteenth National Power Systems Conference (NPSC), IIT Bombay, December 2008

Sr.No. 13

Paper sample taken from

DP value

90 79 66 50 46 42

80 60 40 38 20

The average DP value of paper insulation is 645, indicating normal ageing of the paper insulation. The average DP of pressboard is 877, indicating good condition with minimum life consumption. Estimation of the remaining life of the Transformer is evaluated according to the Table IV Table IV Furan, DP and % of Remaining life 2FAL (ppb) 58 130 292 654 1464 1720 2021 2374 2789 3277 3851 4524 5315 6245 7337 DP Value 800 700 600 500 400 380 360 340 320 300 280 260 240 220 200 Estimated percentage of remaining life 100 90 79 66 50 46 42 38 33 29 24 19 13 7 0 Suggested Interpretation

0 800 700 600 500 DP 400 380 360 340

Normal Ageing Rate

The average DP value of thin insulation (paper) was 645, corresponds to remaining life of nearly 82 %, as per the above graph. The DP value of pressboard was 877, indicating good condition of the pressboard with minimum life consumption. This has given us an assurance that the solid insulation has not deteriorated much and the Transformer can continue to remain in service. Though the solid insulation had not deteriorated, the high Furan content in oil could be traced to a damaged pressboard, which was replaced along with the Tap changer contacts in 1998. The moisture content in the Transformer oil was 44.8 ppm, which might have also contributed to the high furan levels. We have filtered the oil and filled the Transformer oil under vacuum, which has reduced the moisture content in oil. However, the moisture content in the solid insulation of Transformer was 3.5 %. We propose to dry out the Transformer immediately after monsoon and reduce the moisture content; in order to avoid ageing of the solid insulation. The Degree of polymerization test (DP) was useful for confirming that the solid insulation still has 82 % of remaining life and the Transformer can continue to serve for many more years.

Accelerated Ageing Rate

Excessive Ageing Danger Zone High Risk of Failure End of expected life of paper Insulation and Transformer

510

% Remnant life

Old barrier board between Y & 719 B phase (Bottom) New barrier board between Y 1318 14 & B phase (Top) New barrier board between Y 15 1193 & B phase (Center) New barrier board between Y 16 1017 & B phase (Bottom) B phase winding, Top lead 17 456 (Outer layer) B phase winding, Center lead 18 469 (Outer layer) B phase winding, Center lead 19 890 (Innermost layer) B phase winding, Bottom lead 473 20 (Outer layer) B phase winding, Bottom lead 21 764 (Innermost layer) Note: DP values are based on the viscometric method.

Table III is extracted from An Introduction to the Hal-Century Transformer by the Transformer Maintenance Institute, S.D.Meyers Co. 2002. Table IV is converted into graph DP vs Remnant life for finding out the intermediate values by interpolation. The graphs is given below,

DP Vs % Remnant life
120
100

100

Fifteenth National Power Systems Conference (NPSC), IIT Bombay, December 2008

IV CONCLUSION.
On the basis of our experience, the authors feel that the following points should be considered for the condition monitoring of the Transformers.

Transformers : Few Case Studies , Session 2000, CIGRE. [3] CIGRE guide for Life Management Techniques for Power Transformers prepared by CIGRE WG 2.18. [4] Pablo A.DE : Furanic Compounds Analysis as a Tool for Diagnostic and Maintenance of Oil-Paper Insulation Systems CIGRE Symposium, Berlin, 1993, Paper 110-09.

1. The approach followed in carrying out the


measurement of Furan Content and the DP Test has helped in concluding that the solid insulation of the Transformer was in good condition and replacement / refurbishment is not immediately warranted.

2. The Furan content in oil is a non-invasive test, which


does not involve taking outage of the Transformer. Hence it should be monitored for all Transformers. However, the frequency of monitoring may be varied depending on the quantum of the Furan content and rate of rise.

3. The Total Furan Content in oil alone cannot be used


for estimating the remaining life of the paper insulation. It is only an indicative test. It has to be corroborated by the DP Test of the solid insulation samples.

4. The FDS test may be done once in 2 years for those


transformers which are more than 15 years old. This will help in knowing the moisture content in the solid insulation, which contributes to its accelerated aging. In case moisture content is more than 2 %, Transformer drying can be planned in order to avoid further deterioration of the paper insulation.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors are thankful to the management of The Tata Power Company Limited for encouraging us to write this paper for the 15th National Power Systems Conference organized by IIT Bombay.

REFERENCES [1] Large Scale survey of furanic compounds in operating transformers & implications for estimating service life Conference Record of the 1998 IEEE International Symposium on Electrical Insulation, Arlington, Virginia, USA, June 1998. [2] V.Shrinet, M.J.Patel and M.Ramoorty: Role of Furan and DP Analysis for Refurbishment of Power

511