Almost 9,000 visitors filled the Palais des Congrès in Paris in late August as some of the world's leading experts in the energy sector gathered for the biannual CIGRÉ exhibition. The five-day agenda included hundreds of technical meetings, expert meetings, panels, workshops and poster sessions, as well as a two-floor exhibition.
"This is the largest and most important technical exhibition for the electricity industry," Johan Grövik, Marketing Manager Transformer Oils, said at the Nynas booth on the final day of the exhibition. "Experts from all parts of the energy sector are here. This is where we meet the experts who perform the research and set the future standards for the industry."
Included were Nynas Transformer Oils' own experts – Ana Cura, Regional Director Nynas Americas; Per Wiklund, head of R&D; Johan Weesmaa, Technical Coordinator; and Jayme Nunes, Senior Technical Coordinator and recently appointed coordinator for CIGRÉ-Brazil Study Committee D1 – who participated in meetings and workshops to share their expertise on such areas as oil analysis techniques and insulation systems.
Technology for a sustainable future
Additional information was shared at the Nynas exhibition booth, where Grövik and other company representatives engaged in discussions.
"It has been interesting five days," Grövik said. "I've met with hundreds of people."
Overall major themes for the big OEMs at the exhibition were renewable energy and smart grids.
"Everyone here has different products and services for building a more sustainable infrastructure for electricity," Grövik said. "We are all driving the market forward to a more resource-efficient future, but we are dependent on political decisions and the utilities' availability of money to spend. The questions are how fast the utilities and the industry can adapt and how much it will cost."
Transformers in transition
The main topic within the transformer sector was asset management – how to prolong the lifetime of existing equipment, as well as the use of digital diagnostics equipment employing online sensors. Other discussions focused on how to replace the greenhouse gas sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) with a less environmentally harmful alternative, as well as benefits and drawbacks of ester liquids.
Grövik said the view on ester liquids has shifted from a few years ago, when they were seen as the only environment-friendly alternative. Today, the industry is beginning to see mineral oils as a sustainable option.
"We are happy to see this change in perspectives among our customers," Grövik said. "We don't burn our oil and emit carbon dioxide. Our oils will keep the transformer running for 40 to 50 years before they are re-refined and used again."
CIGRÉ in brief
CIGRÉ (the International Council on Large Electric Systems), founded in 1921, is an international non-profit association for promoting collaboration with experts from around the world to improve electric power systems of today and tomorrow. More than 2,500 experts collaborate in structured work programmes coordinated by 16 study committees, overseen by a technical committee.
There are also 57 national committees and more than 12,000 members comprising researchers, academics, engineers, technicians, suppliers and other decision makers in more than 90 countries.