What’s good for a dielectric fluid is also good for the environment.
Mineral oil has been the predominant transformer fluid for the past century. However, in order to meet today’s increased energy demands and offer environmentally-preferred solutions, utilities and their OEM partners are evaluating bio-based solutions that can deliver both the required thermal performance (e.g. high temperature capability and increased fire safety) as well as significant environmental benefits.
The development of an environmentally friendly dielectric fluid
Cargill's dielectric fluids team has more than 30 years working with various dielectric fluids, since the banning of PCBs in the 1970’s. They’ve tested PCBs. And mineral oil. They know the chemical characteristics and performance attributes of them all – the good and well, the not-so-good.
When they initiated the development of a new dielectric fluid 25 years ago, they developed Envirotemp FR3 fluid to have all the necessary performance characteristics of a dielectric fluid, but included characteristics that could help protect the environment as well.
FR3 environmental credentials
FR3 fluid is made from renewable vegetable oils originating from plants which actually sequester CO2 during the crop growing process. Through the BEES® 4.0 lifecycle analysis, FR3 fluid has been shown to produce 56x less carbon emissions than mineral oil and is essentially carbon neutral.
Should a spill occur, the impact on the environment is minimal and spill remediation costs are reduced since FR3 fluid is biodegradable and non-toxic and non-hazardous in soil and water.
FR3 fluid has achieved numerous industry validations including:
- Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Technology Verification
- Lowest environmental impact performance score by BEES® 4.0 lifecycle analysis
- USDA Certified Biobased Product
- Underwriters Laboratory and Factory Mutual Research Corporation Less Flammable Fluid Certification
- 2013 Environmental Protection Agency’s Presidential Green Chemistry Award
Direct and indirect environmental benefits
Because FR3 fluid is a vegetable-oil based fluid, it has twice the flash and fire points compared to mineral oil making it a safer and more reliable dielectric fluid. In fact, there have been no known fires in more than a million transformers filled with FR3 fluid since the product was launched.
To address the sustainable supply chain initiatives of most organizations, FR3 fluid can help out there too. Since FR3 fluid can operate at 20°C warmer than mineral oil (or restated, transformers require 20°C less cooling), smaller unit designs can use less fluid and construction materials, yet maintaining the same or up to 20% more load capability, are possible.
Contact our team to help you improve your environmental footprint by incorporating FR3 fluid into your power and distribution transformer fleets.