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Development of a New Bio-Based Insulating Fluid from Jatropha curcas Oil for Power Transformers

DOI: 10.4236/aces.2017.72018, PP. 235-255

Keywords: Vegetable Insulating Oil, Jatropha curcas, Transformer Oil, Biodegradable Oil, Renewable Material, Dielectric Breakdown

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Abstract:

The present work aims to develop a new vegetable insulating fluid for power transformers based on Jatropha curcas oil. Besides its technical benefits, Jatropha curcas oil has a socio-economic role by promoting income to rural families, contributing to the countryside development and avoiding rural exodus. Thus, the entire transformer oil production (extraction, processing, characterization and accelerated aging) was covered and a new process was developed. For oil extraction, the most suitable process was the solvent extraction (5 mL of hexane per gram of crushed non-peeled seeds during 30 minutes) with an oil yield of 32%. In raw oil processing stage, the degumming, with 0.4 g of phosphoric acid per 100 g of oil, at 70°C, was used to remove phosphatides. Then, free fatty acids were 96% neutralized with a sodium hydroxide solution (0.5% w/w) at room temperature. For the oil clarification, the combination of 5% w/woil of activated carbon and 1% w/woil of MgO resulted in a bright, odorless and clear oil with an acid number of 0.04 mgKOH·g1. The oil drying in a vacuum rotary evaporator, at 70°C, for 2 hours reduced the water content to 177 ppm. The processed oil was characterized following ASTM D6871 methods. This oil presented higher dielectric breakdown voltage (55 kV) than commercial transformer fluids (BIOTEMP?, EnvirotempFR3?, and Bivolt?), which increases transformer safety, capacity and lifetime. In addition, the processed oil has a lower viscosity than BIOTEMP? fluid, which can enhance the heat dissipation efficiency in the transformer. Moreover, the processed oil flash and fire points of 310°C and >340°C, respectively, confirm the great security of vegetable insulating fluids. The analyzed properties of the processed oil fulfill all the ASTM D6871, ABNT NBR 15422 and IEC 62770 specifications. Therefore, Jatropha curcas oil is a potential substitute formineral insulating fluids.

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