Protecting high-rise residential buildings from fire is a critical engineering challenge – the potential consequences of such an event are too devastating to contemplate.

In densely populated urban areas worldwide, utilities, regulators, developers and public associations are actively looking at ways to avoid any such occurence.

One pioneering UK utility is leading the way in mitigating this risk, having taken the decisive action in 2019 to upgrade potentially flammable mineral oil electrical transformers to further protect residents in over 100 high rise residential sites. They embarked on an extensive programme of corrective upgrades after a safety review downgraded the fire safety of a large number of mineral-oil filled transformers. Many of these high-risk units were located in embedded substations, often in the basements of the high rise apartments relying on them for electricity. The units range from 500kVa to 1000kVa.

“This is an exemplary initiative to improve the safety of residents, implemented at a scale never seen before in this country. As well as saving considerable time in upgrading the assets, since retrofilling can be done in-situ, this also avoids an expensive capital replacement programme for new, fire safe transformers.”
– Gavin Allen, Managing Director, Grosvenor Oil Services

The solution to reducing the transformer fire risk was clear; replace the mineral oil in every high risk transformer with a fire safe, biodegradable alternative – namely, MIDEL 7131 synthetic ester.

MIDEL 7131 has a high fire point of 316°C, far exceeding that of mineral oil (170°C), making it safer to specify for transformers located in residential buildings. MIDEL Service Partner, Grosvenor Oil Services, has been retrofilling with MIDEL fluids since 2015, upgrading the assets of many operators who have found themselves in a similar situation. The technicians at Grosvenor Oil were soon able to leverage their experience of ester liquids to the benefit of the project – and the safety of residents.

Get in touch