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Together with solar energy, wind power is expected to lead the way for the transformation of the global electricity sector. To reach the difficult targets, an increase in annual contributions of 390 GW of wind generation is required by 2030 – four times the record levels set in 2020. Such an acceleration in capacity growth requires, among other things, a rapid development of electrical grids to reduce bottlenecks when integrating wind capacity into power systems.
“It’s clear that renewable energy integration is no longer something of the future, it's happening now, and at a fast pace,” says Carl Wolmarans, Technical Advisor Electrical Industry at Nynas.
As the traditional model of generation and distribution is evolving with the rapid adoption of renewables, greater pressure is being applied to existing equipment in the form of more frequent load swings and overloading.
“Wind is clean, and relatively easy to deploy. It is therefore a crucial piece of the future energy puzzle,” says Carl Wolmarans. “However, the primary challenge with wind power from a grid and equipment perspective is load variability, because there is a constant shift in how much the wind blows.”
This variability means that a wind turbine operates at continuously fluctuating power levels, subjecting the transformers in a wind farm to frequent thermal cycling – from low load to high load – often several times a day. This repeated cycling puts the wind turbine transformers as well as the substations connecting the wind farm to the grids at a higher risk of insulation and dielectric stress and failure.
“The increased stress means that you need transformers and transformer liquids with higher performance, so that they are able to handle this variable load, in addition to the normal demands such as reliability and lifetime value for money.”
In this context, cooling is crucial. And this is where Nynas’ renewable hydrocarbon-based insulating fluid NYTRO® BIO 300X delivers a ground-breaking solution. With outstanding performance, while also being readily biodegradable, it meets and exceeds the IEC 60296 specification and has best-in-class cooling properties.
“NYTRO BIO 300X provides enhanced cooling in a transformer, resulting in reduced winding temperatures thanks to its ultra-low viscosity. This helps the transformer to withstand the thermal stress from the fluctuating wind energy,” says Dr Gaia Franzolin, Marketing Director at Nynas.
When it comes to protecting the sensitive environments where wind farms are often located, NYTRO BIO 300X has additional advantages. This applies not least to offshore wind power installations.
“Electrical transformers used in offshore applications have to deliver solid and resilient performance in the harsh marine environment, and they need to be environmentally safe in case of fluid spills,” says Dr Franzolin. “Fluid spills are always to be avoided, but if they do happen, NYTRO BIO 300X will reduce the impact.”
For both onshore and offshore, it is generally more demanding to maintain wind transformers compared to normal electrical substations.
“You still need power transformers that last for more than 30 years, especially if they are part of an offshore substation located on a platform,” notes Carl Wolmarans. “Any kind of maintenance in an offshore setting involves boats, helicopters and generally more constraints – making them more costly. Therefore, ensuring equipment has the highest reliability possible is a key aspect for future-proofing wind energy.”
Since its launch in 2020, NYTRO BIO 300X has been successfully approved and used by leading OEMs and utilities around the world.
“The output of wind farms is renewable energy. But you also want the operations and the components of the wind farm to be as sustainable as possible, with minimum environmental impact. NYTRO BIO 300X enables environmentally sensitive projects on both water and land,” concludes Gaia Franzolin.
Nynas oils enable smooth rotation
The turbine in a windmill contains components in both the rotor and the machine housing that require lubrication. As well as reducing friction, the lubricant must cool down bearings, maximise the efficiency of cog gears and reduce sound and vibration levels. The requirements are tough because of the exposed environment, and the right product makes it possible to reduce wear and thus avoid operational disruption and high maintenance costs. Lubricant manufacturers use Nynas’ base oils as components in their blends for windmills because of their excellent performance.
NYNAS introduces bio-based high-performance transformer fluid. With the introduction of NYTRO® BIO 300X, Nynas adds the first product in its new bio-based range, completing its portfolio of high-performance transformer fluids.Read more about NYTRO BIO 300X (IEC 60296, ED.5) – Super grade