The answer is simple – you should consider the FR3 fluid for your Transformers to get better and more reliable performance than mineral oil-filled transformers.
Transformers are a crucial element of power systems. Historically, they have used mineral oil to insulate and cool down. However, mineral oil’s toxic and non-renewable nature has made them obsolete. In comparison, FR3 fluid continues to gain more popularity as it is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and derived from a 100% renewable source, i.e., vegetable oil. Also, FR3 fluid-filled transformers have improved fire safety, lower running costs, and exceptional performance. FR3 is a superb dielectric fluid that comes with measurable and verifiable results.
Drawbacks of using mineral oil
Mineral oil is still considered a suitable insulating fluid, but it has certain significant risks that are often ignored. These risks include its high chance of flammability, low moisture and overload tolerances, and environmental toxicity. Ultimately, whether these risks are worth taking or not is subjective, but the associated consequences can be severe for the equipment, people, and company reputation. Avoiding these pitfalls as best as possible is important, and using FR3 is a good way to do so.
Advantages of FR3
a. A more resilient grid
The temperature operating limit of a transformer is limited by its dielectric fluid and solid insulation system. FR3 Fluid has a high temperature operating limit, exceeding the maximum operating temperature for mineral oils by 20°C. Thus, FR3-filled transformers can be loaded up to 20% more than mineral oil-filled transformers. This capacity to bear overloads is even greater for transformers that use FR3 from the start. FR3 fluid can easily respond to power demand fluctuations while extending transformer life.
b. Better moisture tolerance
Moisture can result from leaks, cold environmental temperatures, or the aging of insulation paper. In mineral oil-filled transformers, the water content can cause dielectric failure and a drop in transformer capacity. FR3 fluids have a much higher saturation point, which makes them more immune to moisture-related performance issues. FR3 has a unique chemical property that slows down the aging process and allows it to absorb free water formed during the hydrolysis of the transformer insulation.
c. Improved fire safety
Transformer fires can be catastrophic as they can easily spread to the rest of the system. FR3 fluids have higher flash and fire points: almost twice that of mineral oils. The improved fire safety is so great that no FR3 transformer pool fires have been reported despite millions of units in use today. Thus, FR3 fluid-filled transformers help increase the safety of the equipment, worker, and power system.
d. The best environmental characteristics to date
Mineral oil is environmentally toxic, and spillages can often have very devastating effects on the surrounding environment, including the living (plants, animals, people) and the nonliving (water, air, soil) environments. On the other hand, FR3 is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-hazardous. Also, any FR3 spill can be easily remediated. As the community becomes more conscious of the environmental efforts being made by the leading companies, using FR3 fluids instead of mineral oils also leads to growth in the company’s reputation and business opportunities.
e. Biodegradability facts for FR3 fluid
The chemical and physical properties of the FR3 fluid provide more environmental benefits than mineral oil. These properties are tested as shown below:
Acute toxicity (Aquatic)
It is Non-toxic
Acute toxicity (Oral)
It is Non-toxic
Bio-based content in the fluid
More than 95%
More than 99%
Ultimate aquatic biodegradation
More than 99% in 28 days
Total carbon footprint across its life
It is carbon neutral
Overall environmental impact
1/4th of mineral oil
FR3 fluid is a dielectric fluid made of natural ester, and it is derived exclusively from vegetable oils (more than 95%), a renewable resource. FR3 fluid is recyclable and reclaimable, and unlike mineral oils, FR3 fluids do not contain harmful components like halogens and sulfuric compounds. FR3 fluid is non-hazardous and non-toxic in water and soil, and It readily biodegrades in less than 28 days. Bio-based remediation can clean up FR3 spills using live microbes and other natural processes. This also gives it a cheaper remediation process than mineral oils.
What this all means?
To summarize the above points, power and distribution transformers that use FR3 fluid allow you to:
- Have a more resilient transformer (and grid) that you can install in environmentally sensitive areas.
- Avoid the more expensive remediation processes of mineral oil transformers that require special equipment and labor.
- Install simpler containment systems and save costs as a result.
- Improve your relationship with local communities and build your reputation as an environmentally responsible company.
- Get carbon credits for reducing carbon emissions into the air.
FR3 fluids have an enhanced thermal operating capability. This allows for smaller transformer designs that give more efficient behavior and a sustainable supply chain for transformer construction material. Generally, smaller transformer designs:
- Need less construction material and use less fluid.
- Give lighter transformers that are cheaper and easier to transport and install.
With the FR3 fluid, a customer can:
- Reduce the initial and running costs of the transformer unit without sacrificing its reliability.
- Extend the life of the transformer unit and its insulation.
- Optimize their loading capacity.
- Enhance the fire stability of the transformer unit significantly.
You can find out more about using FR3 fluid for your particular transformer fleet and the business values for you and your community by getting in touch with our team.