Energy production

With regular lubricant analyses, relubrication and oil change intervals can be optimised and machine downtime minimised.

Changing oil or replacing defective components in wind turbines is associated with significant outlay and costs. However, water, steam and gas turbines, whose oil systems often hold thousands of litres with oil being used for several years or even decades, can also benefit from OELCHECK analyses.

For a secure energy supply

Most energy production facilities work around the clock to meet the constant demand for energy. Yet wind turbines, power stations, gas and steam turbines come to a standstill if the oil is neglected. Not only machine downtime and replacing or repairing components, but also the oil itself and changing it, can incur massive costs.
Monitoring the oil's condition by means of oil analyses allows future planning for oil changes and early damage detection. Both are essential for the smooth operation of energy production facilities.

Varying wind speeds and environmental temperatures affect all of a wind turbine's components. Due to the fluctuations in temperature allowing the gear to "breathe", water can enter the oil as condensation. Dirt particles and dust in gears or bearings lubricated with grease increase wear. Increasingly, synthetic high-performance lubricants are being used in wind turbines. These offer optimum protection against wear and increased service lives. Depending on use, a gear oil of this nature may be used for up to 10 years and longer in a main gear.

Monitoring lubricants and parameters such as oil purity, water, wear and the condition of the oil is crucial. As the lubricated machine components are often at great heights, changing oil or replacing defective components is only possible with significant outlay and costs.

Oil changes are often performed in natural gas-powered engines at fixed intervals, as operating conditions are constant.

However, as a wide range of speciality gases (e.g. biomethane) are increasingly being mixed with natural gas, regular oil analyses are recommended. This is because the acidic components of these gases put strain on the engine and the oil used. If the gas engine oil can no longer offset and neutralise these elements, the engine is severely damaged.

Oil analyses shed light on the condition of the oil and detect damage early. Trend analyses also allow important parameters such as oxidation to be monitored in the event of long-term use. Our analysis kit for gas engines also allows you to analyse the condition of the coolant used.

Due to various basic products and fermentation processes, the composition of biogases and speciality gases is constantly changing. The main components are methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. Biogas may also contain trace gases, such as the extremely aggressive hydrogen sulphide.

Biogas engines are therefore exposed to much more severe strain than natural gas, diesel or petrol engines. The acids that enter and the rate at which the oil ages (oxidation) are significant factors, as is the protection the oil continues to offer. The longer a gas engine oil can be used, the more cost-efficient the operations are. Only regular oil analyses make it possible to establish the optimum period between oil changes and safely run a gas engine. The analysis kit for gas engines can also be used to investigate coolants.

Water and steam turbines often run around the clock in order to produce electricity in power stations. Gas turbines are also used as "peaking units" and connected where required. Operating conditions and temperatures can vary. In order to ensure the turbine oil can be used for as long as possible in the oil systems, which are up to 50 m³ in size, protection against corrosion and oxidation stability are important. The turbine oil should also avoid deposits ("varnish"), which cause problems in the system and the slide bearings in particular.

In-depth monitoring allows deposit issues, foams or air in the oil, dangerous impurities such as water and the oil condition to be regularly assessed. With its all-inclusive analysis kit, OELCHECK always offers the right scope of analysis for all turbine oils. The analysis and subsequent diagnostics establish whether the oil used can continue to reliably do its job.

Transformer and/or insulating oils insulate, cool and protect the transformer from flashovers. They must therefore be thermally stable and resistant to oxidation and be resilient to all materials with which they come into contact.

Changes in viscosity may affect the oil circulation and, consequently, the cooling effect. As transformer oils should remain in use for decades, a high level of resistance to oxidation is important. If the insulating oil ages, the electrical properties change. The breakdown voltage decreases. OELCHECK analyses determine the key values. DIN EN 60422 stipulates inspection intervals of 2 to a maximum of 6 years. All test methods recommended for these inspections are covered by the all-inclusive analysis kit.

Sample taking for insulating oils

Recommended analysis kits for energy production

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Gears Hydraulics Gas engines Wind turbines Insulating oils Power plants/Turbines Coolant and anti-freeze agents Greases Compressors