Real World II – Duke Deception
In my last post of 2011 one of my local fans, Wondering in Western Washington, questioned the veracity of the claims made by UTILX® in a document titled, “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid.” That document includes 17 pages and a bunch of interesting claims. In this second of a series of posts, I consider two claims proffered on the bottom of page 3. To wit …
“[Micro Infrared spectroscopy is] performed routinely on post injected cables. An example is provided by the published paper ; ''Case Study: Rejuvenation Fluid Injection Results from Duke Power's Little Rock Retail Tap Line, a 115kV XLPE, Buried Transmission Circuit." Figure One shows a chart from that paper demonstrating that the quantity of fluid, even after 10 years, exceeds the target concentration for a six to nine month old injected cable. Two points are established by Figure One. The first is that fluid in optimum injection quantities still exists in the cable's insulation. The second is that the rate of fluid decay is too small to measure after 10 years.”
Notes: Reference 3 above is to a non-peer-reviewed paper provided Stagi & Kimsey at the IEEE T&D Conference (Dallas, TX), May, 2006. An augmented facsimile of "Figure One" referenced above is shown in the graph below in the third illustration. All punctuation and grammatical errors were left as they were found by this frog.
Fallacy of the Anecdote
The author is attempting to make a case for the efficacy of his product. This Duke cable, and as we shall see in future posts, all of his examples except for the example of Northeast Utilities, is not representative of the population of “real world” cables. Let’s enumerate the problems with this single anecdote. Of the population of treated cables, the vast majority is single-phase URD cables with 7- or 19-strand conductors. The vast majority has insulation thickness of less than 260 mils and is unjacketed with bare concentric neutrals. The Duke cable has a 61-strand conductor, holding much more fluid and the insulation thickness is three to four times thicker than the population norm. The Duke cable has a copper taped shield, semi-impervious to permeation, and a 170 mil thick PVC jacket. In the table nearby I tally up the estimated impact of some differences.
All of these differences place the Duke cable among the least representative samples one might choose to make a population extrapolation. On top of the unrepresentative nature of the Duke cable design, the author makes an egregious omission. The Duke cable was not only treated from the conductor outward, as is the norm within the population of treated cables; the annular space under the cable’s jacket was also treated. The cable was treated from the inside-out and from the outside-in. This highly salient fact is not to be found in the author’s papers or accompanying slides. Taken together the differences put the Duke cable outside of the norm by about a factor of 240! That's not 240%; that's 24,000%!
First Assertion: Fluid remains in optimum injection quantities
In this season of presidential debates, I am reminded of the single Reagan-Carter debate of 1980, which I recently watched on YouTube. Over and over again, when Jimmy Carter made some bizarre claim, Ronald Reagan would chuckle and say, “There you go again.” Frog to author: There you go again – assertion without proof. What precisely are the “optimum injection quantities?” Are you suggesting that if the concentration profile were say, 20% higher, that the reliability of the cable would be poorer? That notion is silly and directly contradicted by earlier peer reviewed work done on the same cable. I will reference that work in the next paragraph. In the graph that I reproduce nearby, the author presented a green dotted line labeled “Target Concentration,” just below 1.5%w. If I were a betting frog, I would bet that the Target Concentration was chosen after the micro-infrared data was compiled. How else to explain an utter lack of justification for the figure? There you go again – assertion without proof.
Second Assertion: Fluid decay is too small to measure after 10 years
There you go again – assertion without proof. Where is the measurement from 10 years earlier to make the claim? The author doesn’t provide the data. Fortunately, Novinium houses the world’s largest library on rejuvenation science and a decent comparison can be found there. In the figure nearby I have inset micro-infrared data from the same cable. The data was published in “Cable fault prevention using dielectric enhancement technology” presented in June, 1995, by Novinium’s own Glen Bertini at the peer-reviewed Jicable conference in Versailles, France. The assertion is false. The average concentration in 1995 was about 3.5%w, the average concentration a decade later was about 1.7%w – a factor of two is not too small to measure.
There is undoutedely a good reason that the author of “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid” tried to keep this paper away from reasonable scrutiny. A cynical reader might even think that the author is trying to mislead his audience. Rejuvenation fluids do in fact improve the performance of transmission cables, but the author would have you believe that treating such cables is a greater technical challenge than treating a 15kV URD cable. In fact the opposite is true. Cables like the Duke cable should experience extremely long post-injection life, but that success is not easily extrapolated to 7- and 19-strand cables. The old technology used at Duke was conceived and deployed by a Novinium founder. That technology works well in non-demanding applications like cables with really thick insulation or low loads. In the decades that have transpired since the introduction of that old approach, those who are masters of rejuvenation technology came to recognize that one should not treat transmission cables the same as one would treat a URD cable. Only at Novinium is patented technology (U.S. Patent 7,611,748) available to address the full spectrum of cable types, sizes and flavors. This frog will not employ deception to convince anyone.
Novinium’s Integrity Value: Truth and knowledge are the foundation of the Novinium character. Each will be advanced at every opportunity and neither will be compromised.
T. B. Frog