Emissions control system for transformer oil processing applications

GE NuAir removes more than 84% of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions during reclamation service procedures in California and Ontario, Canada.


Industrial and commercial customers in environmentally conscious California and Ontario, Canada, get an eco-boost from GE Energy Industrial Solutions’ NuAir emissions control system during routine transformer oil reclamation processing.

GE equipped a number of its 40-foot mobile vacuum-oil-processing rigs with a specially designed catalytic oxidizer emission control device, which removes more than 84% of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) vaporous contaminants. The reclamation system improves transformer oil quality to IEEE C57.104 standards, which extends transformer life while greatly reducing emissions in the process.

“California and Ontario, Canada, require that vacuum emissions meet stringent standards. Those exacting standards must be met in the vacuum oil reclamation process anytime a transformer is serviced at a customer site,” says John Engstrom, transformer services product leader for GE Energy Industrial Solutions. “Our system meets and actually far exceeds what those standards require, making GE the only known provider in California and Ontario that has this capability.”

The NuAir emissions control device measures temperature to ensure proper operation. Its environmental performance is measured against federal, state, province and local air quality standards. NuAir’s compliance with EPA standards ensures best available control technology and reduces hazardous air pollutants, including toxic air pollutants and carcinogens.

According to Engstrom, competing reclamation service providers have the customary processing offerings but do not provide the VOC’s emission control capability. GE’s catalytic oxidizer emission control device is installed directly on the vacuum pump exhaust.

“Other service providers do not have the emission control devices, which, put simply, act similar to a catalytic converter in an automobile. It can be shown that this device is ‘best in class’ through emissions modeling and the issuance of a permit by multiple California Air Quality Districts as ‘toxic best available control technology,’” said Engstrom.

Utilities and medium to large industrial companies with mineral oil-filled transformers exist by the thousands in California and at least by the hundreds in Ontario province. Key conditions that this service is designed to address include maintenance leaks, loading of the transformer, age of the transformer, electrical and thermal faults, and degradation of transformer oil.

Most air quality management districts in other states and Canada have hundreds or thousands of utilities and companies such as these, but at this time those states do not require permits in most cases. That could change with the success of California and Ontario emissions standards, and with GE providing an economic solution.


General Electric

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com 

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