Vaisala has emphasized the importance of continuous monitoring of moisture in transformer insulation oil. Continuous online monitoring will improve understanding of a phenomenon that contributes to the degradation of oil, increases the risk of catastrophic failure and, in the long-term, adds to maintenance costs.
"Traditionally, industry understanding of moisture dynamics in transformer oil has mainly been based on samples taken once annually that provide a limited "snapshot" of oil health," said Steven Jiroutek, Regional Segment Manager for Industrial Applications at Vaisala.
"However, growing use of online moisture monitoring instruments in the global power sector means more utilities can access 24/7 streaming data to monitor the condition of their transformers. Integrating these instruments into a comprehensive monitoring system and analyzing real-time trends is enabling owners and managers to make better, more cost-effective maintenance and service decisions."
Improving Technical Awareness
Analysis that highlights the importance of 24/7 transformer moisture monitoring shared with representatives from electricity utilities and large industrial players at a webinar last week. Entitled Moisture in Transformer Oil Behavior: A Deeper Look into a Complex Phenomenon, the session will demonstrate the role of online moisture monitoring data, not only in proactively mitigating faults, but also in creating greater technical awareness of how they develop.
Power transformers are among the most valuable and important assets in electrical power networks, constituting around 60% of substation capital costs. Thorough knowledge of their condition is critical in order to maximize return on investment and lower operational costs.
Moisture in the transformer oil is a widely recognized root cause of faults. Elevated moisture levels diminish the ability of the oil to act as an insulator, leading to arcing, partial discharge and thermal faults that affect safe performance and increase the risk of catastrophic failure from fire and explosion.
Staying on top of moisture levels enables utilities to make more effective proactive maintenance decisions, prevent avoidable outages and downtime, and extend the lifetime of their assets. While it is common practice to monitor moisture at regular intervals to track and prevent developing faults, centralizing real-time monitoring data from a fleet of thousands of operational transformers provides a more comprehensive and efficient means of determining what might go wrong, when and where.
In turn, this analysis will create a clearer picture for the industry of exactly how moisture behaves within a transformer under changing environmental conditions.
Sharing Market Expertise
Vaisala's webinar Moisture in Transformer Oil Behavior: A Deeper Look into a Complex Phenomenon forms part of a wider initiative to share market expertise and data via regular seminars and white papers.
Drawing on months of continuous field and laboratory data collected by Vaisala's own moisture monitoring devices, it will include up to date findings on the moisture exchange between cellulose and oil, moisture hysteresis and the correlation between oil and cellulose moisture levels. This analysis will be followed by recommended best practices for online drying and moisture monitoring.
The online session took place at Oct. 27, 3PM EET. To receive the webinar on demand, please visit Vaisala's webinar central.