To remove the mineral oil impregnating the insulating paper present in old, disconnected, underground electrical cables, which represents a threat to the environment, two approaches are investigated at laboratory (1 m) and pilot (10 m) scales. The first one involves in situ polymerization to clog the inner channel of the cables and to enable the washing of the outer paper region impregnated by the oil by axial flow of a displacing fluid (water). The second approach leaves the inner channel open and employs repeated cycles of pressurization and rest to displace the oil contained in the paper by radially pushing the water from the inner channel into the outer layers. The pressurization and rest times were optimized to obtain the highest oil extraction rate. While the first approach showed limitations in terms of required pressures and operating time, which increase with the length of the cables, the second one was effective at removing 97% of the oil impregnating the paper layers within 25 cycles. Even more relevant, this second solution, in contrast to the first one, can be easily scaled up as it does not depend on the length of the cable, and was successfully tested on a 10 m cable, showing 98% oil recovery.

Recovery of mineral oil from underground electrical cables

Caimi S.;Colombo C.;Ferrari R.;Storti G.;Morbidelli M.
2019

Abstract

To remove the mineral oil impregnating the insulating paper present in old, disconnected, underground electrical cables, which represents a threat to the environment, two approaches are investigated at laboratory (1 m) and pilot (10 m) scales. The first one involves in situ polymerization to clog the inner channel of the cables and to enable the washing of the outer paper region impregnated by the oil by axial flow of a displacing fluid (water). The second approach leaves the inner channel open and employs repeated cycles of pressurization and rest to displace the oil contained in the paper by radially pushing the water from the inner channel into the outer layers. The pressurization and rest times were optimized to obtain the highest oil extraction rate. While the first approach showed limitations in terms of required pressures and operating time, which increase with the length of the cables, the second one was effective at removing 97% of the oil impregnating the paper layers within 25 cycles. Even more relevant, this second solution, in contrast to the first one, can be easily scaled up as it does not depend on the length of the cable, and was successfully tested on a 10 m cable, showing 98% oil recovery.
Electrical cables; Environmental threat; Oil recovery; Oil-filled cables; Underground cables; Electricity; Polymerization; Energy-Generating Resources; Environmental Restoration and Remediation; Mineral Oil
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1129428
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