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A Novel Fuzzy Logic Based Technique for Power Transformer Remnant Life Estimation

Muhammad Arshad Curtin University of Technology Perth, Western Australia ABSTRACT
Remnant Life estimation is a different concept in transformer condition monitoring and is becoming increasingly important as the average age of transformer increases. Existing assets serving close to their expected life or beyond are being considered for further utilization in order to reduce capital expenditure as the replacement cost of these transformers is too high. Since many of these transformers are operating beyond their rated life, asset reliability under peak load cant be ensured. Transformer failures are increasing in number and having serious impact on forced outages, blackouts, revenue and environmental/ collateral damages. The remnant life assessment facilitates a flexible decision on assets retirement/ replacement or relocation. This paper presents a novel fuzzy logic technique to predict power transformer remnant life.

Syed M. Islam Curtin University of Technology Perth, Western Australia

mechanism at higher temperatures. Thus the process ultimately affects the reliability of the transformer and reduces its residual life. In a review presented by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) of United Kingdom, 50% of the 650 MVA transformers are serving with the age of 30 years. Also 30% of 275 and 400 MVA in service transformers have reached to the age of 45 years. In the United States, the installed power transformer capacity has reduced from 185 Giga Volt Amperes (GVA) to 50 GVA per year over the past twenty-five years [4]. The average load growth rate observed is approximately 2%. Transformer utilization has been increased by 22% on average, causing oil hotspot temperature to increase by 48% (approximately ) at normal peak load. P eak load insulation life is reduced by a factor of 8 (approximately ) due to gradual increase in the hotspot temperature [4] . In the Australian and New Zealand utilities , the average age of power transformer population for 66 kV, 10 MVA and above is 35 years, with a considerable number of transformers over 40 years [5]. Transformer failure (repairable) rate for Australian utilities is around 1.2% [6]. The current transformer fleet is fast approaching to end of life, with out remnant life being assessed. There is a high demand of the appropriate, reliable and non destructive diagnostics tools for transformer insulation assessment. The significant requirement of such diagnostics tools is due to the ageing of power transformers, expensive to replace [7].

Transformer failures usually include irreversible internal damage and have many adverse effects. Sudden transformer failure may cause the long term unavailability, revenue loss, unscheduled expensive maintenance, environmental and collateral damages [1, 2]. Also in some cases power interruptions imposes penalty due to inability to provide continuous supply of electricity. Alternate power resources will have to be arranged to meet the demand. The study shows that within Australia and New Zealand on average, failure of ten transformers per year occurred during the period from 1975 to 1995. The repair cost estimated at least $600,000 per year, including other associated costs. Transformer insulation system mostly under goes electrical, thermal, mechanical and chemical stresses. Transformer fails when its insulation system could not withstand against any or combination of these stresses. Materials with different dielectric properties within the insulation system will discharge energy and may lead to a breakdown. The failures in power transformer occur due to ageing, contamination, poor maintenance programs, operational stresses (overloading) and harsh environmental conditions. Transformer remnant life mainly depends on the cellulose degradation and decomposition which generates water as a by-product. Water affects dielectric properties of the insulation chain with in the transformer and contributes to the ageing phenomena [3]. Thermal stresses influence the cellulose mechanical properties and accelerate the ageing


The majority of solid insulation is based on cellulose in the form of paper, pressboard or timber. In the presence of heat, oxygen, water and other chemicals the cellulose molecules undergo into chemical changes. This causes the degradation in term of its electrical and mechanical properties. The increase in operating temperature, oxygen and moisture causes accelerated degradation. One product of these reactions is a glucose, which undergoes further degradation and yields a group of chemicals called furans. Furans are significant because they are more soluble in oil than glucose and can be used as an indicator of cellulose ageing. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are also produced together with water and some hydrogen. The cellulose molecules become shorter on average, reducing its dielectric and mechanical strength . 1

Due to the hygroscopic nature of oil, water and oxygen in the insulation system will further accelerate the ageing process. Moisture is the main cause of the accelerated ageing process in cellulose. Major part of water is contained in the solid insulation. The water in oil and its movement from solid to oil is highly temperature depended. Therefore water in oil is not the total amount present in the transformer. Transformer reliability and ageing highly depend on the dryness of cellulose. The dryness of cellulose can not be ensured from the measurement of water in oil [8]. With the increase in moisture level, cellulose breakdown and tensile strength decreases. Also sludge and metal particles (iron & copper) affects the degradation process. The activation energy of cellulose degradation in oil is of the order of 85kJ/mole for the oxidative degradation reaction and 120 KJ/mole for the hydrolytic degradation reaction. The cellulose degradation increases significantly above 140C [9] . The cellulose ageing rate is approximately proportional to the amount of water in it. This simply means going from 0.5 % moisture to 1.0 % accelerates the aging rate by two. Faults levels such as short circuits and ove r voltages have significant contribution in insulation deterioration. The relation between ageing factors is synergistic in nature and not just additive that makes the ageing mechanism extremely complex. The ageing mechanism of insulation system, within the high voltage (HV) system can be split in to two categories such as, intransitive and transitive ageing [10]. Intransitive Ageing: The ability of the insulating material with the passage of time to withstand the designed stresses such as electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical, and physical. Transitive Ageing : It is the rapid ageing of the insulating material when subjected to abnormal condition. The multi-stress ageing is very complex in term of the large matrix of measurement, interpretation and analysis. The lack of appropriate diagnostics and associated equipment that are non-intrusive, efficient and economical makes the multi-stress ageing much difficult. Historical data analysis revealed that for every 10C increase will cause the insulation life to be halved [11].



Power transformer condition monitoring plays a decisive role in the reliability of power systems operation. Significant investment in terms of expertise and finance is required for monitoring and diagnostics to ensure regular insulation assessment. Utilities are now focusing seriously on the cost and importance of diagnostic and maintenance practices such as condition based maintenance (CBM) or reliability centred maintenance (RCM) [13, 14]. Transformer rate of ageing can be better judged from the integration of expected criticalities. Laboratory experiments and simulation of various operating conditions and accelerated stress (various) procedures may come to reality, but life predication remains questionable [10]. It is possible to obtain an estimate of remaining reliable life, provided ample data of all the variables is available. The combined evaluation of the diagnostics provides better estimation of transformer remnant life. Power transformer end of life criteria could be strategic, economic or technical[12]. A transformer reaches to its end of practical life, when one or more of the diagnostics characteristics decreases to a level where further operation stands inadmissible. [15]. Furanic compound and moisture contents are the key indicators for life assessment. Furanic compounds are generated due to cellulose degradation with normal ageing as well as due to incipient faults [16]. Furans are also produced due to over all rise in temperature as well as the heat produced by active fault in any localized area. Due to degradation process, paper tensile and dielectric strength decreases. Electromagnetic forces due to through fault current have serious impact on the paper life by lowering its tensile strength [16, 17]. The degree of polymerization (DP) together with moisture content is another set of good indicator for transformer remnant life mapping. Paper insulation, with DP value greater than 1000, exhibits high dielectric and tensile properties, where as DP less than 200 shows poor dielectric and mechanical properties [18]. The considerable difficulty in forecasting the end of life suggests developing a remnant life estimation model using fuzzy logic approach, based on actual test data and sound experience judgment. Moisture contents (%) are derived from the return voltage measurement (RVM ). The RVM test is based on the application of dc voltage to insulation to establish the polarization and then the dc voltage is removed to relax the dipole. RVM and relaxation time constant in the insulation provides ample information on the moisture level absorbed by the insulation. [2]. 3.1.2. REMNANT LIFE FUZZY LOGIC MODELING


The remnant life estimation fuzzy model indicates various criticalities, rate of ageing and expected residual life. Due to the cumulative effects of various factors it is not possible to predict the remnant life with a great degree of accuracy using statistical approach. Also it would be not appropriate to assess the transformer with statistical methods, even under constant or closely controlled conditions [12]. Emissions associated with the insulation ageing process are of interest in life assessment. All the factors contribute collectively in the ageing of a transformer and become difficult to assess its remnant life.

Due to the complexity in determining the transformer remnant life estimation with precise mathematics, fuzzy logic provides an approximate but practical means of residual life prediction. For various reasons many stresses act simultaneously inside the transformer which increases the complexity and is not possible to build a 2

precise analytical model. The fuzzy k nowledge based expert system for power transformer remnant life estimation encapsulates the engineer experienced knowledge. The information is mostly inexact and qualitative such as poor, satisfactory and excellent. Expert system using fuzzy logic codifies the experience based diagnosis and facilitates to enhance the transformer reliability, maintainability and availab ility. Inaccuracy in the single input variable will not invalidate the result but will reduce the accuracy of the analysis up to an acceptable understanding. The life estimation can be still done if the knowledge base information is incomplete [19]. A ll the parameters can be analyzed individually as each rule satisfies the following criteria: Relevant measurement with respect to the transformer indicated condition. Acceptable range for the measured quantity which includes any uncertainty associated with this measurement or acceptable range. Importance of the measurement in determining the condition of the transformer.

interval of 0 to 1 [19, 25]. Mamdanis model is used such as:

MAMD(x, y) = Vi n 1 ( Ai (x ) & Bi ( y )) =

Eq. 5 Eq. 6

A B (x ) = min [ A (x ), B ( x )] x X


is the respective membership function of

Fuzzy Rules: In terms of fuzzy logic, a set of knowledge based linguistic rules are developed made of IF THEN type. In this model a fuzzy set A defined in a universe X and the second set B defined in another universe Y . Therefore the fuzzy implication mapped in X Y surface is given as [19, 23, 26]:

A B (x , y ) = min [ A ( x ), B ( y )] x X , y Y

Eq. 7 Eq. 8

Most of the techniques used in transformer assessment are based on ad-hoc basis or stand alone indicator. The fuzzy logic model is an effective tool in transformer assessment, such as its criticality rank, rate of ageing and remnant life [20-22]. Membership Functions: Let X be a set of transformer diagnostic data, called the universe, whose elements are denoted x . Membership in a subset A of X is the membership function, A from X to the real interval [0, 1]. Where A is a fuzzy set and is a subset of X that has no sharp boundary. The A is a grade of membership the more

The knowledge based fuzzy rules are defined in term of input variables to the fuzzy logic model for an output of power transformer assessment. Demi-Cauchy or bell shaped membership functions are selected for the fuzzy modelling although other types may also apply. Some examples of the rules developed are:

Ri (a , b, c ) = min [ A (a ), B (b ), c (c )]

Eq. 9

a is Aai





ci = f i (a, b)


belongs to

A . The closer the value of A is to 1, A [19, 23, 24].

Eq. 1

Defuzzification: A centroid method is applied to obtain the crisp value for transformer assessment level. The centroid or center of gravity method finds the balance point of the solution (fuzzy region) by calculating the weighted mean of the fuzzy region. Arithmetically, for fuzzy solution region A , this is given as [13, 14, 19, 24]:

A = {( x, A ( x)), x X )}

Also the support of the fuzzy set A in the universal set X is the crisp set that contains all the elements of X .

d (d )
i A i i =0 n

A (d i )
i =0

Eq. 10

A = {x X A ( x) > 0}
With the finite support, let

Eq. 2 Where d is the ith domain value and (d ) is the truth membership value for that domain point. Diagnostic facts are represented by a large number of fuzzy rules for an accurate evaluation to reach a definite outcome in term of criticality, rate of ageing and remnant life. The main target of the model is divided into several sub targets using fuzzification of all the elements. The model is based on the optimization process which includes the combined effect of each sub problem as a multistage decision process (multi- criteria analysis) [13, 14, 23]. 3.1.3. TRANSFORMER REMNANT LIFE M APPING

x i be an element of the support of fuzzy set A and i a grade of membership in A , then:


n 1 2 + ........+ n = i x1 x2 x n i =1 x i

Eq. 3

The degree of membership is expressed as:

Fz[x A] = A (x) : [0,1]

Eq. 4

Where A is the fuzzy set represented by a membership function, all the elements are denoted by a point x on the real line . This is mapped to a degree of membership value , lies somewhere on the real

To map the transformer remnant life, a fuzzy logic modelling is carried out with furanic compound and moisture (RVM analysis) as input variables, Figure 1 , 3

Figure 2 and Figure 3 . Membership functions for furan are

considered on the scale 0 to 4 (mg/L) and for moisture from 0 to 10 (%), based on the various transformers test data and specified standards.

Figure 1: Fuzzy Model - Remnant Life Mapping Figure 5: Remnant Life Mapping Model Outcome



Figure 2: Input Variable MF - Furan (mg/L)

Residual life of identical transformers, with same period of service, may vary because of its insulation behaviour due to various reasons. Transformer rate of ageing has significant impact on its remnant life estimation. To predict the expected remnant life, it is vital to integrate the indicators responsible for the rate of ageing with remnant life mapping model, Figure 7. The output variable membership functions are based on the expected remnant life and rat e of ageing of the transformer and measured on the scale from 50 to 0 (new to significantly aged), Figure 6. Fuzzy rules are developed using transformer diagnostics and test data interpretation experience and know ledge. The expected remnant life using fuzzy modelling can be better predicted by a integrating the related indicis [2].

Figure 3: Input Variable MF - Moisture (%)

The models output variable membership functions are based on the various transformers test data interpretations and specified standards, measured on the scale from 50 to 0 (new to significantly aged), Figure 4 .

Figure 6: Output Variable MF - Transformer Expected Remnant Life

Figure 4: Output Variable MF - Remnant Life

Fuzzy rules are developed using transformer diagnostics and test data interpretation knowledge . The remnant life mapping model is tested with furan (3mg/L) and moisture (3%) to map the transformer remnant life. The model outcome for the defined inputs concludes low residual life, which is approximately 6.376 years on the scale from 50 to 0, Figure 1.The transformer remnant life can be mapped directly using the models surface graph (outcome) for the given inputs, Figure 5 .

The model is tested to determine the transformer expected remnant life with the inputs such as a , b , c , d , e , f , g , h , i , j , k , l, m , n, o , p , q, r , s , u , v , and w depending upon the respective criticalities. The model outcome for the defined inputs exhibits end of life criteria, which is 2.15 years where as the instantaneous age was concluded as 6.376 years regardless of its calendar age, Figure 7. The expected remnant life estimation assessment suggests immediate removal of transformer for detail investigat ions and asset management decision accordingly. For the inputs such as, rate of ageing and remnant life mapping the transformer expected remnant life estimation can be judged directly using the models surface graph (outcome), Figure 8. 4

Figure 7: Fuzzy Model - Transformer Expected Remnant Life

It also benefit the end user to have power supply without interruption, in particular the industrial sector. It reduces the risks to human kind and environment. The power transformer remnant life estimation model further facilitates to achieve the followings:
Figure 8: Expected Remnant Life Model Outcome

The outcome benefits the power utilities in terms of increased reliability and cost savings for longer period.

Maximum practicable operating efficiency. Premature failures minimiza tion. Timely relocation/ replacement flexible decision. Life extension with enhanced CBM strategies. System performance improvement with enhanced reliability/ and availability of the asset. Minimization of long-term operational cost. Elimination of unplanned maintenance cost. Development of cost effective maintenance strategies. Competitive rates on spare parts procurement. Low insurance premiums.

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