Siemens has produced the world’s first large-scale transformer that uses vegetable oil.
The transformer will link the 380-kV ultra-high voltage level with the 110-kV grid in the Bruchsal-Kändelweg substation plant near Karlsruhe, Germany.
Until now, Siemens has used vegetable oil insulation in power transformers with voltages of up to 123 kilovolts (kV) – the new transformer is designed for 420 kV.
Transformers are usually cooled and insulated with mineral or silicone oil, but vegetable oils are environmentally friendlier and less flammable.
Siemens’ new transformer weighs just under 340 tonnes and contains 100 tonnes of insulating oil, which comes from renewable vegetable resources.
The company says the device is the world’s first power transformer on the 420-kV ultra-high-voltage level that does not require proof of its water hazard classification.
TransnetBW, a grid operator in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, will put the transformer into operation in July next year.