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NTPC Limited

(CORPORATE OPERATION SERVICES)

OPERATIONAL MEMORANDUM

REF.NO. OS/ELECT/OM/742/10/2007-08

DATED: 25-09-07

GUIDELINES FOR RESIDUAL LIFE ASSESSMENT OF OIL FILLED TRANSFORMERS

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Oil filled transformers in power plant application are used for variety of applications staring from most critical application for generator transformers to unit auxiliary transformers, station transformers, inter connecting transformers, tie transformers to service transformers for feeding power supply to different category of equipment. Availability of all these transformers is essential for smooth functioning of power plant.

Various diagnostic techniques are used to scan the health of the transformers. However, only general health monitoring is not adequate since failure of any of the component can result into transformer outage. It is therefore important to assess the health of all critical components individually apart from total health assessment of transformer for ensuring complete reliability.

Major components and activities which need to be assessed for residual life of transformers are as follows:

Residual life of winding and insulation

Residual life of oil impregnated bushings

Mechanical integrity of transformer windings from short circuit forces view point

Residual life of transformer oil

2.0 The program for assessment of each of the above components is

described below:

The most important and realistic life assessment of a transformer can be done by monitoring the health of winding insulation paper. This can be done by testing either degree of polymerization (DP) of paper sample or by furfural content of insulating oil. Better judgment of insulation health is possible from the DP test; however there are certain limitations in this test. The paper sample for this test is to be taken from the inner layers of windings where maximum heating is expected which results into maximum aging of insulation paper. But since it is not possible to take out paper sample from inner layers of windings, the assessment is not perfect. Normally we take paper sample from the neutral lead and that too from outer most layers presuming that the transformer internals are generally at constant temperature after it acquires stability.

The second method of finding the insulation quality or to be more precise, the residual life of transformer insulation is by way of determining the furfural content from the transformer oil. Since it is very easy to draw oil sample from a transformer for furfural content test and also this test can be done without de- energizing the transformer unlike DP test, this method has become more acceptable. Chemical experts have found out that furfural content in oil does not change even if the oil is degassed or filtered during routine maintenance of transformer.

Since furfural content test is indirect method of insulation life assessment, I Chendong of EPRI – China found the relationship between furfural content or 2- furfuraldehyde concentration in oil and degree of polymerization of insulation paper. This relationship is as follows:

1) Log (Fur)

= 1.51 - 0.0035 DP

where

(Fur)

= 2-furfuraldehyde concentration in oil in ppm

DP

= Degree of polymerization of insulation paper

2) Log (Fur)

= - 1.83 + 0.058 T

where

(Fur)

= 2-furfuraldehyde concentration in oil in ppm

T

= Operating times in years

With above conversion equations we can find out DP from furfural content test of oil and thus the residual life of insulation paper can be found.

The norms for residual life assessment were studied and given by Paul J Griffin during his presentation on Assessment of paper insulation and other cellulose materials in service - aged transformers at the Southeastern Electric Exchange on 24-06-1999 as per the following values:

LIMIT OF 2-FURFURALDEHYDE CONTENT:

NORMAL

MID LIFE ppm

LAST 1/3 rd LIFE

- LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 10 ppb OR < 0.01 ppm

- BETWEEN 10 AND 1000 ppb OR 0.01 ppm TO 1.0

- MORE THAN 1000 ppb OR >1 ppm

LIMIT OF DEGREE OF POLYMERIZATION:

DP

800

GOOD CONDITION OF INSULATION

DP

< 800 400

MID LIFE OF INSULATION

DP

< 400

LAST THIRD LIFE OF INSULATION

DP

< 200

END OF INSULATION LIFE

2.2 OIL QUALITY

The life of the transformer is actually the life of the internal insulation system. The most widely used systems are liquid insulation (transformer oil) and solid insulation (Kraft paper, pressboard, seasoned wood i.e. cellulose products). The insulating oil provides approximately 80% of the dielectric strength of a trans- former. Transformer oil is a good insulating medium and when impregnated in paper, press board and cloth, increases the dielectric strength of it further. The low viscosity of oil also allows it to penetrate the solid insulation setting up convection currents for conveying the heat from the core materials to the radiators. The liquid insulation therefore also serves as a coolant and its oxidation stability allows it to operate at high temperatures for long periods. Therefore, it is essential that the insulating oil inside the transformer is having good dielectric strength and stability so as to ensure overall adequacy of required dielectric strength and residual life. The residual life of insulating oil can be determined by three properties namely specific resistivity, tan delta and acidity. By periodic monitoring of the trend the requirement of replacement can be estimated and accordingly the program is to be made to avoid any emergency on account of aged oil.

2.3

HEALTH OF ACCESSORIES

The transformer is capital equipment and no utility can afford to loose the transformer since these are very costly. Therefore, a number of protection devices are used to protect the transformer from damage. It is therefore necessary to ensure that these protection devices are healthy and do the necessary function as and when required. Buchholz relay, pressure relief device, sudden pressure relay, OTI / WTI, MOG etc. are such devices which trip the transformer in case of internal fault. Current transformers are also provided to protect the transformer and trip it in case of internal as well as external fault. Being low cost items, complete replacement is a better option for these accessories rather than carrying out any residual life assessment. The replacement decision can be based on the past performance of these accessories.

2.4 SUPPORT STRUCTURE STRENGTH TO WITHSTAND THE FORCE DURING FAULTS

The mechanism of forces experienced by the transformer can be explained as follows:

A current carrying coil placed in a magnetic field experiences a force whose

magnitude is proportional to the flux density and current and the direction is as decided by Fleming’s left hand rule.

In transformers the HV and LV coils are surrounded by a common

electromagnetic field and thus are known to experience forces while in service as well as during fault conditions. When the current becomes large, the forces

generated become very large since the forces are proportional to square of the current.

In transformers, the main flux is by and large axial (this is so, as the design of

transformer is such as to minimize the leakage flux in the transformer, which

introduces the radial component in the total flux) and the currents in the HV and

LV coils are circulating in the opposite direction. The electromagnetic forces

acting on coils thus are radial in nature and tend to repel the windings from each

other. Hence, the outer winding experience bursting forces and inner winding experience compressive forces.

The magnitude of axial force which is due to radial leakage flux is generally small.

Theoretically axial forces shall be zero if the coils on a core limb are concentric,

but due to manufacturing process and tolerances, it is not possible to achieve

this. Above can be attributed either due to inadequate skills in shop floor during assembly or due to the slackness in the coils because of shrinkage of insulating material of coils etc.

The magnitude of the current during the period when it is feeding the external fault is very high and the forces that the windings are subjected to because of the rush of fault current also are quite enormous and cause distortion of transformer windings. The windings inside a transformer are tightly pressed and securely clamped in place in order to prevent distortion / deformation. The supporting system is designed with adequate safety margins to take care of any such eventuality.

During service life of a transformer, it feeds system faults some of which are very close to the transformer. Thus the faults inside the switchyard create maximum short circuit forces because of low impedance and some distant faults on transmission line create relatively lesser short circuit forces. It is therefore essential to assess the movement of transformer internals due to each external fault. The frequency response analysis (FRA) gives the relative movement of windings with respect to each other and also with respect to magnetic core. The trend observed during periodic FRA testing can be a good tool to find out the movement of transformer internals as compared to previous test history. Effectively, we can assess the degree of susceptibility of the transformer to fail during next short circuit in the system.

3.0 With above background, the proposed test schedule along with test

frequency and acceptance limits for residual life assessment for aging transformers is as per Table-1 below:

TABLE-1

RLA TEST SCHEDULE FOR AGING TRANSFORMERS

S.N.

COMPONENT

TEST

FREQUENCY

 

LIMITS

REMARKS

1.

Winding

Furan

First Test: After 5 years of service Second Test:

NORMAL

The

test

insulation

Analysis

10 ppb OR

standard

for

0.01 ppm

Furan

MID LIFE

Analysis

is

After 10 years of service Third Test:

IEC-1198-993.

10 to 1000 ppb

 

OR 0.01

After 15 years of service Fourth Test:

After 20 years of service Fifth Test: After 25 years of service Subsequent Tests: Yearly

ppm to 1.0 ppm

LAST 1/3rd LIFE >1000 ppb OR >1 ppm

S.N.

COMPONENT

TEST

FREQUENCY

LIMITS

REMARKS

2.

Winding

Degree of

First Test: After 10 years of service Second Test:

After 20 years of service Third Test:

DP 800 Good condition of insulation

The

test

insulation

Polymerization

schedule is subject to the opportunity available at the time of any transformer internal work.

Location:

After 25 years of service Subsequent Tests: 5 Yearly

DP < 800 400 Mid life of insulation

Insulation

 
 

DP < 400 Last 1/3rd life

paper for DP test is to be taken out from neutral lead taking care not

DP < 200 End of insulation life

to

affect

transformer

 

healthiness.

3.

Winding

Tan δ test

Yearly

Tan δ <

 

Tan δ is to be

insulation

1 %

 

checked

for

all

winding

 

configurations

and trend is to

be

compared

in similar test

conditions

 

4.

Winding

Winding

Yearly

Max.

 

Comparison of

insulation

Capacitance

capacitance

capacitance is

Measurement

110% of

 

to

be

done in

factory test

same winding

value

 

configuration

 

and

at

same

test voltage

 

5.

OIP Bushing

Tan δ and Capacitance Measurement test Measurement should be

Yearly

1.

Compare

Trend is to be

the

test

compared

in

result

with

similar

test

factory

conditions.

test/previous

 

site

test

If

the

value

done at 2 kV, 5 kV and 10 kV.

results.

exceeds,

the

2.

Max.

bushing

allowable

should

be

Also

calculate

Tan

δ

for

replaced

at

tan delta tip up

OIP

the earliest.

S.N.

COMPONENT

TEST

 

FREQUENCY

 

LIMITS

REMARKS

   

value

where:

 

bushings

is

Care needs to

Tan

delta

tip

0.7%.

be

taken

to

value

=

Tan

3.

Max.

ensure bushings are clean and free

delta at 10 kV – Tan delta at 2 kV

allowable Tan δ tip up

value for OIP

of

dust

and

.

bushings

is

moisture.

 

0.001

or

Also

ensure

0.1%.

that

 

the

4.

Max.

transformer is

allowable

 

disconnected

capacitance

from

other

is

110%

of

associated

 

factory

test

equipment.

results.

 

6.

Transformer

Sweep

 

First

Test:

At

Comparison of frequency v/s percentage impedance variation for frequency band from 10 Hz to 10 MHz gives any distortion of windings or core from the original signature

If

the

clamping

Frequency

factory

by

transformer

structure

Response

supplier

feeds

short

Analysis

Second

Test:

circuit current

(SFRA)

 

During

due to fault in

 

commissioning

the

near

at

site

by

vicinity,

supplier

additional

 

Third

Test:

SFRA

test

is

During

suitable

to be planned

opportunity

during

next

before expiry of

unit overhaul.

warrantee

by

NTPC

Test record is

Subsequent Tests: 5 Yearly

to

be kept for

any

future

till

25 years

of

 

reference and

service

comparison.

 

Subsequent

 

Tests

after

25

years: Yearly

7.

Insulating Oil

Dielectric dissipation factor at 90oC and 40 to 60 Hz

Normal

Max. 0.2 for transformers above 170 kV

If the value of

frequency:

Six

any

two

Monthly

parameters

 

In

case

value

out

of

three

exceeds

the

Max. 0.5 for transformers below 170 kV

indicated

at

 

limit:

Three

S.N.8,

9

and

monthly

10 exceed the

limit;

the

oil

S.N.

COMPONENT

TEST

FREQUENCY

 

LIMITS

REMARKS

8.

Insulating Oil

Resisitivity

Normal

 

Min. 0.1 X 1012 ohm-

should

be

frequency:

Six

replaced

at

Monthly

cm

at 90oC

the earliest.

In case value is

 

beyond

the

permissible

limit:

Three

monthly

 

9.

Insulating Oil

Acidity or

Normal

 

Max. 0.25

Neutralization

frequency:

Six

mg

KOH/gm

Value

Monthly

 

In

case

value

exceeds

the

limit:

Three

monthly

 

10.

Comprehensive RLA study

As given in section 4.0

10 Yearly

 

As

per

 
 

applicable

   

standards

4.0

STANDARD

TRANSFORMERS

TESTS

FOR

COMPREHENSIVE

RLA

STUDIES

OF

Following tests are to be carried out for comprehensive RLA studies of transformers after 10 years along with the schedule of tests given in Table-1 at section 3.0:

4.1 LOW VOLTAGE TESTS ON TRANSFORMERS

1 Measurement of winding resistance at all taps

2 Measurement of voltage ratio at all taps

3 Measurement of winding impedance

4 Measurement of IR and PI of windings

5 Vector group checking

6 Magnetic balance test

7 Check of core insulation

9

Check of turret CTs healthiness including Ratio, IR and Polarity

measurement

10 Checking of all protections and alarms for functional check and by

injection

11 Checks on OLTC and Off circuit tap changer including continuity from first

to last tap

12 Measurement of winding tan delta and capacitance

4.2

TESTS ON BUSHINGS

1

Measurement of tan delta and capacitance

4.3

TESTS ON TRANSFORMER OIL

1

BDV

2

Moisture

3

Tan Delta

4

Specific Resistivity

5

Acidity

6

IFT

7

DGA

4.4

SPECIAL TESTS ON TRANSFORMER OIL / WINDING INSULATION

1

Degree of polymerization test of winding insulation paper

2

Furfural content in transformer oil

3

Paper moisture measurement

4

Air ingress in transformer to be assessed through oil DGA

5

Frequency response analysis

AGM (COS-Elec)

GM (COS)

(Prakash Hirani) AGM (COS)