Revolutionising transformer reliability – Partnering in innovation – Powering   reliability with natural gas

Revolutionising transformer reliability – Partnering in innovation – Powering reliability with natural gas

Vol. 3 Issue 2


At a time when power generation has never been more critical to daily life, the challenges facing the world’s electricity network are mounting.

For power generation, transmission and distribution companies, reliability has become the primary concern. Shell Lubricants believes the answer lies in gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology. The latest Shell Diala S4 transformer oils based on Shell GTL Technology are designed to help keep transformers working more efficiently, for longer.

An Industry under Strain

A growing global population, mass urbanisation, and the rapid industrialisation of nations like China and India, are just some of the factors placing power generators under more pressure than ever before.

As demand increases, the industry finds itself under pressure to achieve greater productivity and reliability at the same time as meeting stricter environmental targets, tighter margins and tougher operating conditions.

Aging and Overloaded Transformers

The electricity network is a vast and complex system, in which transformers are a critical component. Transformer failures can be catastrophic, as the economic losses and non-delivery penalties that may be incurred during power interruptions can be severe.

The world’s transformer fleet is relatively old. The average age of a power transformer in many countries is 30–40 years and the high capital cost involved in replacing a unit, up to $4 million, means that many companies are operating equipment close to or beyond its original recommended lifespan. Restricted capital can leave providers struggling to maintain their ageing infrastructure.

Adding to the strain, transformers frequently operate under overload conditions, and are manufactured to deliver higher voltages to improve transmission efficiencies and higher power:weight or power:volume ratios to reduce manufacturing and installation costs.

Reliability is paramount, and the transformer oil has a vital role to play in achieving this.

Harnessing the Power of Natural Gas

To keep the transformer running smoothly under increasingly severe operating conditions, the transformer oil must work effectively for longer periods at higher temperatures, protecting against copper corrosion, solid insulation degradation, and premature oil ageing.

Aware of the growing need to improve transformer reliability and performance, Shell Lubricants introduced a ground-breaking new technology to transformer oils. Shell GTL Technology converts natural gas into a hydrocarbon base oil with consistent controlled composition and performance and none of the impurities found in crude oil derived products.