Neoenergia standardized the use of isolated transformers using vegetable oil in the new distribution substations located in buildings and urban areas of its five concessionaires - Coelba (BA), Celpe (PE), Cosern (RN) and Elektro (SP and MS) and CEB (DF). The technology replaces the use of mineral oil and features, among several advantages, reduction of environmental impact, due to the exchange of petroleum-based material for non-toxic fluids, easily biodegradable and renewable - in this case, the source is soy oil. The first four equipment pieces, manufactured by WEG, will be installed in enterprises under construction in Recife and Natal.
“We are the first Iberdrola company in the world to adopt this solution for distribution substations. The technology is aligned with the company's engagement: sustainability, safety and efficiency. This way, we prepare ourselves in an innovative way for the energy market of the future", says Emanuel Barbosa, corporate manager of the Substation Department - Neoenergia Distribution.
One of the perks of using vegetable oil, in addition to reducing environmental impact, is the increased safety of the substation. This is because the fire point of these fluids is higher than 300ºC, higher than mineral oil, thus reducing risk of fire. The technology with vegetal-based fluids is already used in transformers at the energy distributor's poles, and now it will also be brought to the substations.
Another benefit is the cost reduction in construction projects for these enterprises, reaching up to 22% savings. Because of the risk reduction provided by the use of vegetable oils, it is possible to safely build smaller-sized substations and also decrease distancing needs between the assets and surrounding buildings, which is positive especially in urban areas, which have less space available. In addition, whilst a solution still under development in the market, its cost is equivalent to the implementation and operation of insulated mineral oil transformers.