Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Transformers with different Dielectric Fluids

Currently, transformers that transform power from medium voltage to low voltage usually contain mineral oil as dielectric fluid to dissipate heat and prevent voltage flashovers. ifeu accompanied a pilot project of Netze BW in cooperation with Siemens and the University of Stuttgart, in which 100 bio-oil transformers were initially used. In test operation alone, around 37 tons of mineral oil were saved. The new rapeseed-based bio-oil has comparable insulating properties and is also classified as non-toxic, making it also suitable for use in water protection zones, for example. Based on a screening life cycle assessment, ifeu came to the conclusion that this does not result in a clear environmental advantage when all environmental impacts are considered. Although the consumption of fossil resources is avoided in the production process, it is not certain, for example, that a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases can be achieved. All in all, it depends on the entire life cycle.


A study was compiled on the project:

H. Keller, G. Reinhardt & N. Rettenmaier (2017): Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Transformers with different Dielectric Fluids, commissioned by Netze BW GmbH, ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany (available on request).


January 2016 – May 2017


Netze BW GmbH