Demand for Oil Gaining Prominence Across Industries
The transformer oil market has gained traction over the last five years across various industries based on energy and power. The oil is primarily being used for suppression of arcing and proper dissipation of heat energy produced during the working of these transformers. Apart from this, these oils have several other functions: they are consumed across different power distribution equipment including and numerous industrial applications such as in nuclear power plants, hydel power stations, thermal power stations, and others. Recent rapid expansion of the residential power grid in developing countries along with upgradation of existing ones are the key factors boosting the market.
Adoption for Bio-Based Oil
Frequent power outages in various developing nations across residential and industrial areas have boosted the demand of the market. The oil with high dielectric strength not only protect the solid insulation but also prolongs the life-span of transformer by offering a way to determine if any discrepancy exists so as to indicate the timely repairing of the transformer. Most commonly used products are mineral based such as paraffinic oil being used for cooling applications due to its excellent oxidative stability and viscosity features. Furthermore, overall naphthenic have a lower natural pour point and a lower viscosity index which makes it beneficial for the lower temperatures found in some climates and during the winter months. However, the market is gaining adoption for bio-based transformer oil–oil made using renewable, and biodegradable vegetable oil–that delivers high-performing insulating properties to power transformers. Prominent manufacturers of these bio-base oils are claimed to deliver cleaner energy and are hailed as greener, safer, longer-life oils. Recently, ABB Inc. a multinational corporation based in Zurich, Switzerland has launched BIOTEMP which is a natural ester-based dielectric insulating fluid used as the oil. The company claims the oil to be high-performing and innovative in delivering cleaner power as it is 97 % biodegradable within 21 days. This opens it to large-scale applications in being used as both indoors and in outdoor applications having enhanced environmental sensitivity.
Periodic testing of insulation quality of transformer oil is one of the vital factors which ensures environmental sustainability and safety of the oil. As a result, the refinery process needs to take care of determining the oil’s electrical, physical & chemical properties. The OEM and utility companies which make transformers are the largest consumers of the oil and they ensure that their customers have the most efficient transformers without any potential malfunction caused due to sub-standard product or one which do not meet standard specification requirements. This significantly reduces the menace of non-planned outages along with boosting the operating lifespan of the transformers.
The factor of sustainability is an important one. There is significant surge in the demand for the oil across developing nations. Last year, the consumption of the oil in Asia-Pacific region was highest owing to the increasing demand for electricity, especially in densely populated nations such as India and China. Natural ester in transformers sets a new industry paradigm for the power sector across developing nations. These oils are preferred over mineral oil based transformer oil as they have a high fire point and reduces risk of fires in the electrical installation.
A recent report by Allied Market Research titled “World Transformer Oil Market Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 – 2020” offers insight into the market dynamics, business profile of key market players, changing competitive landscape scenario in terms of strategies adopted by prominent companies to gain a stronghold in the market. Key developmental strategies adopted include partnerships, expansions, collaborations & joint ventures, mergers, and innovative product launches.