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Protection Riddle No.78 - Generation of hidrogen gas in Power Transformer
In one of our transformer 100 MVA, 220/132 kV Auto, only Hydrogen generation is increasing, other fault gases are absent.

The oil used in the transformer has a very low aromatic content less than 2%. Is this the cause of H2 generation?

can any body answer this question please?

Author : Gajjala Sreelatha - From: India
Tue, October 26th, 2010 - 13:20
In lowest temperature fault conditions the hydrogen generation is possible, of course it is with other hydrocarbon radicals; because the hydrocarbon molecule breakdown without new produced material containing carbon atom in related temperature is impossible.
The identification and significance of gases in electrical equipment was first used to distinguish between combustible and non-combustible gases produced in transformers as long ago as the 1920s. This was carried out by applying a light to the gas collected from the sample or vent tap of the Buchholz relay.
Transformer Oils consisting of high molecular weight hydrocarbon molecules can suffer degradation due to decomposition of these molecules into lighter more volatile fractions. This process is also accelerated by temperature. It is desirable that it should not occur at all within the normal operating temperatures reached by the plant, but it cannot be prevented at the higher temperatures generated by fault conditions.
Initially the procedure aimed to detect the presence of hydrogen, which meant that there was a ‘real’ fault within the transformer. Over the next 30 years the procedure was refined to enable hydrogen, acetylene and carbon monoxide to be detected, which enabled some indication of the nature of the fault to be deduced. In particular, the presence of acetylene meant that very high temperatures existed, and carbon monoxide was taken as an indication that solid insulation was involved.
The immediate effect of the breakdown of the hydrocarbon molecules as a result of the energy of the fault is to create free radicals. These subsequently recombine to produce the low molecular weight hydrocarbon gases. It is this recombination process which is largely determined by the temperature, but also influenced by other conditions. For the lowest temperature faults both methane and hydrogen will be generated, with the methane being predominant.
As the temperature of the fault increases ethane starts to be evolved, methane is reduced, so that the ethane/methane ratio becomes predominant. At still higher temperatures the rate of ethane evolution is reduced and ethylene production commences and soon outweighs the proportion of ethane. Finally, at very high temperatures acetylene puts in an appearance and as the temperature increases still further it becomes the most predominant gas.
The area indicated as including normal operating temperatures goes up to about 140°C, hot spots extend to around 250°C, and high-temperature thermal faults to about 1000°C. Peak ethylene evolution occurs at about 700°C. Also the organic polymer or aromatic polyamide material can be made into a range of papers and boards in a similar way to cellulose fibers but which remain stable at operating temperatures of up to 220°C.
However there are some hydrogen combination material which may be origin of free H2 in transformer (KOH).BS 148:1923 included an oxidation test with a limit to the amount of sludge produced. However, new oil was allowed an acidity equivalent to 2.0 mgKOH/g, a figure which is four times higher than the level at which oil would now be discarded.

In the UK the organisation EA Technology’s Dr M.K. Domun has studied and collated oil analysis data from around 500 transformers, mainly of 132 kV, for many years and as a result of this work has published figures in a paper presented to an IEE Conference on Dielectric Materials, Measurements and Applications in September 1992 as ‘optimal values’ for transformers which have been on load for a lengthy period and which are considered to be in a ‘healthy’ condition. These are listed in Table below.

Author : Hamid - From: Iran- Firouzabad in Fars
Tue, October 26th, 2010 - 15:01
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your reply. This is well understood. But my question was whether due to less aromatic content in oil (less than 2%) the oil in this case is unstable and its gassing tendency is negative and is not absorbing hydrogen produced. Is it a case od OD? But CH4 is absent also cellulose involvement is not there.

H2 is increasing nearly at the rate of 35ppm per day. Should we take shutdown but what to look for?

Author : Gajjala Sreelatha - From: India
Wed, November 10th, 2010 - 00:26
Get EA technology in. Get them to do partial discharge testing 
Author : bob o - From: United Kingdom
Wed, November 10th, 2010 - 10:10
Dear Bob,

Please more explain, we will glad and appreciate to hear about your experience.

Best Regards
Author : Hamid - From: Iran- Firouzabad in Fars
Thu, November 11th, 2010 - 02:06

it seems you may have a low level fault. You need to carry out some testing. If you do not want an outage you could try partial discharge testing to see if there is any discharge/ insulation problems within the transformer. What hydrogen levels are in the tapchanger? Is there any gasses building up in the bucholtz? Eventually if the problem persists you will have to have an outage to carry out some testing. Regards 
Author : bob o - From: England
Sat, November 13th, 2010 - 07:58
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your reply. If there is PD, Methane should have also come and CH4/H2 should have been < 0.2 as per IEC.

If there is leakage from OLTC compartment to main tank, other fault gasses potentially C2H2 should have shown.

There are no gases at present building in Buchholz relay. We have analyzed chemical composition of oil. Aromatic compounds are 1.3% less than 4% min as per IEC. Is low aromatic content the cause of H2 generation? Is the gassing tendency of oil creating issue? Is this a case of stray gas (H2) generation? What to look for if transformer is opened?

Author : Sreelatha - From: Hyderabad
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