by Thermo 1. March 2012 13:13

The Color of Money – Part IV

In my post of February 27th, The Color of Money – Part I, I gave the big picture answer to Cap’s query. In February 28th’s follow-up post we delved into the details of depreciation. On my Leap Day post we deliberated discounting. Today, in the fourth and last post of the series, we will tie up loose ends and cover the rest of the assumptions.

Rejuvenation Technology Inputs

In cells B12, B13 and B14, the name for “Product X”, the fully absorbed cost for product X, and the warranty length are entered respectively. Cells B16, B17 and B18, hold the same values for “Product Y.” Cell B20 is the ratio of the warranty length of Product Y divided by the warranty length of Product X.  The accounting lives are assumed to be the respective warranty lives.  The actual life multiplier in cell B21 is the ratio of the actual life of Product Y divided by the actual life of Product X. The warranty life is an approximate indicator of the actual life, as the technology suppliers use some combination of experience, accelerated life experiments, and accelerated life simulations to arrive at reliable life expectations.

For individual large and stable firms, such as most utilities, the spread or difference between the discount factor in cell B3 and the inflation rate in cell B6 is quite constant. If inflation increases, discount factors increase too. The 5.9% spread in the example is typical for the power distribution industry in North America.

Accounting Treatment of Warranty Remittance 

GAAP would suggest that warranty remittances are handled as negative capital expenditures. That is, the cost of replacement is reduced by the amount of the warranty remittance. Any remaining undepreciated value associated with rejuvenation is written off in the year of the failure on both the tax books and the rate-making books. Individual circuit owners may treat these warranty refunds differently. Write to me to tell me how your firm accounts for these warranty payments.  I’ll enhance the model to accommodate your method.

Residual Value

For any net present value analysis there has to be an assumption regarding the handling of residual values at the end of the analysis period. Where two rejuvenation technologies with different actual lives are compared, the technology with the longer life will have a greater residual value than the product with lesser life. For the purposes of this analysis a single replacement cycle is executed after the rejuvenation cycle has completed and future value is calculated to a one century horizon. Cash flows after 100 years are ignored. This assumption favors the technology with the shorter life, since the product with the longer life would have the greater residual value.

Bottom Line

This rigorous analysis confirms and quantifies what should be self evident. The longer the life – the greater the value.

Greener is better,

Thermonuclear Frog 

by Thermo 27. February 2012 16:44

The Color of Money – Part I

Dear Gregarious Green One,

My firm purchases rejuvenation services from both Novinium and UTILX. While we have a preference for the mastery displayed by your team and your inherently safer process and fluids, it is difficult for us to settle on Novinium as our sole vendor, because the UTILX price is lower. Can you help me understand your value?

Capital Concern

Dear Cap-

I’ll bet that you thought my FrogBlog tagline, ”It’s easy to be green™” focuses upon the environmental benefits of using Earth-friendly cable rejuvenation technology. Others might believe that the tag line is a play on the lyrics to that other famous frog’s song, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” This frog is a master of the triple entendre. It’s easy to be green, while you are saving some green, and … I am not above poking fun at Kermit! Notice in the image nearby how nicely my complexion matches the color of money! That’s money that you earn when you employ superior technology.

We can provide a lower price by lowering the quality of the products and services we deliver to more closely match those of the two-decade-old approach, but we will not compromise on safety. For example, we will not use flammable fluids. But hey, there is no need to compromise safety or performance. The value of the longer post-injection reliable life and the longer warranty periods enjoyed by the patented Novinium processes and fluids can be calculated. Let’s consider two general cases.

In the first case, compare the 20-year life expectancy, warranted by the other guys, versus the 25 years enjoyed by the improved unsustained pressure rejuvenation (iUPR) process together with Ultrinium™ 732 fluid. At first glance 25-year life extension suggests a 25% increase in value, but there are the matters of the time value of money, regulated rates of return on capital, and distortions caused by the tax code. In the graph nearby I show the difference in net present value (NPV) between the two choices as a function of the post-injection reliable life. The actual value waxes and wanes depending upon the life of the cable, but for the most common case, where the life meets the expectations, iUPR enjoys more than a 10% value advantage. For other cases the value may be higher or lower, but it is generally positive.

In the second case, compare the 20-year life expectancy, warranted by the other guys, versus the 40 years guaranteed by the sustained pressure rejuvenation (SPR) process together with Ultrinium™ 732 fluid. Doubling the life extension does not double the value, because of the aforementioned time value of money, regulated rates of return, and tax code considerations. In the second graph I show the difference in net present value (NPV) between the two choices as a function of the post-injection reliable life. The actual value varies depending upon the life of the cable, but for the most common case, where the life meets the expectations, SPR has about a 16% value advantage. For other cases the value may be higher or lower, but it is always positive. For cases where the post-injection life is greater than 3 years, but the cable fails within the warranty period, the SPR/Ultrinium 732 fluid combination provides up to a 32% value advantage.

In subsequent posts, this frog will again crack open her Frogonomics 101 textbook and explain each of the factors that influence this dispassionate economic analysis. Friends of Frog (FoF) may request a copy of the MS Excel worksheet so that they can adjust the parameters of the model to calculate their unique incremental value of using state-of-the-art technology.

Future Post


The Color of Money – Part II


The Color of Money – Part III


The Color of Money – Part IV



Always in the green,

Thermo B. Frog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


by Thermo 7. February 2012 14:55

HFDB-4201 From Dow Wire & Cable, “Color Indicates Presence of Antioxidants in XLPE Insulation Compounds”; Lovely vented and bow-tie trees are in every solid dielectric cable. Rejuvenation specifically addresses these. Suitable for Treatment

Dear B.F.

We’ve taken some photographs of cable samples identified with off-line PD testing.  I was hoping to get your opinion of the cable and if injection would be able to address these issues.

·        On two samples, we found the XLP insulation was a greenish color.  We’ve never found cables discolored before and it had an odd odor.  Upon wafering and dying the sample, quite a few trees were found.

·        On three samples, we found spots where a hole was burned through the semi-con layer and dirt had gotten between the semi-con and insulation, causing some deep pitting.

I’ve attached some photos of the issues.  Neither of these cables has been treated, but can they? Let me know what you think.

Wishing you well,



Dear Wisconsin-

First off – green is a lovely color and you should be proud of your sample’s hue. The green color proves that the insulation compound manufacturer included anti-oxidants in its formulation and is generally an indication of recent heat exposure. The sulfur-based anti-oxidants break into by-products as they do their job. Some of these by-products absorb red light, leaving a predominantly yellow to green hue. The insulation may by 4201 made by Union Carbide, now Dow Wire & Cable. Click here to check out a fact sheet put out by the Dow folks called:

Color Indicates Presence of Antioxidants in XLPE Insulation Compounds

With regard to the odor, I can’t answer definitively for two reasons. One, you did not send me a sample and two, frogs are not known for their olfactory prowess. I can, however, speculate. The sulfur-containing anti-oxidant by-products are called thiols or mercaptans and have strong garlic-like odor. I have a cat at my house with an exceptionally keen nose. If you send me a stinky sample I can ask her to identify the chemistry involved. I hope it does not smell like tuna fish  she might gnaw on it. See "rats" below.

With regard to the water trees, you will find those in every solid dielectric cable. Water trees are the predominant cause of solid dielectric cable failure. Fortunately, Novinium provides fluids that can reverse the damage caused by water trees and replace the anti-oxidants that have been consumed over decades of field aging.

·        Click here to learn how you can know that water trees are the predominant cause of cable failures.

·        Click here to learn how you can be confident that rejuvenation will reverse the damage caused by water trees.

·        Click here to learn how Novinium®-brand Ultrinium™ fluid can replenish the anti-oxidants in aged cable.

Deep Pitting

I don’t know if the cable with the holes in it smelled like garlic, but the rodents that chewed on it must have liked the odor.  I doubt that the meal was satisfying. I am fond of rodents. An adult mouse fills my belly for the better part of a week, but I might have taken a pass on the gal that was chewing on your cable. Shreds of polyethylene in her belly would end up in mine and would undoubtedly upset my delicate digestion. I suspect the rat stopped chewing when she started to feel a tingling in her mouth – those were partial discharges. Persistence would have led to an untimely end. That’s how I know the rat was a female. A male rat would not have been smart enough to back off when he felt the tingles … in fact they probably would have only encouraged him more.

Here is a question for you, Wisconsin. How many cables had to be examined to find these rodent bites? If rodent damage is rampant in your service territory, off-line partial discharge testing might be a useful tool to find where the rats reside. It is true, that rejuvenation cannot address rodent damage, but how prevalent is this failure mode? For some insight on that question check out my three-part postings of January 2012 …

Failure Causes I, Failure Causes II, and Failure Causes III.

The Novinium masters of reliability have been involved in the injection of many millions of cable feet. Cables with water trees, with or without interesting color and odor, are handled easily and these represent the frog’s share of the root causes of cable failure. Add in component issues addressed by rejuvenation and a tiny minority of potential issues are left unaddressed. It is for this reason that more than 99.4% of all cable treated by Novinium enjoy failure-free reliability.

Never put anything in your mouth that can kill you,

T. B. F.

by Thermo 27. January 2012 13:07

Real World IV – NE Utilities – finally a ray of sunshine

In my last post of 2011, Wondering in Western Washington, questioned the merit of the claims made by UTILX® in a document titled, “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid.”  That document includes 17 pages and numerous claims. In this fourth in a series of five posts, I consider two paragraphs on page 15 devoted to some “real, real world” data provided publically by Northeast Utilities, Connecticut Light & Power subsidiary.  The author devoted the previous 14 pages to the “Duke Deception” and the “Dominion Dodge,” each a poster child for the Wikipedia entry for “Non-representative Sample.” We saw that those two examples were displaced from the “real, real world” by 20X to 240X! So here is what the author said with his characteristic flair about his third and final example:

Part Three:  Connecticut Light and Power Co. Published Success:

Part One of this paper demonstrated that the fluid content contained in a cables' insulation even many years post injection is very high. Part Two of this paper demonstrated the long term effectiveness of that fluid on real cables that underwent real world ageing. Part Three of this paper shows a published real world accounting of the effectiveness of treatment on a real world population of cables. This accounting was performed by Connecticut Light and Power Co (CL&P). It was presented in the spring 2008 ICC and published in those notes. The spreadsheet describing their injection program success has been included as Appendix C of this report. That spreadsheet makes the following points.

CL&P has been carefully maintaining the failure records of the cable they consider to be 'at risk' since 1995. They began their injection program in 1999 selecting cable from that same pool of 'at risk' cables. Although the appendix includes a detailed breakout by year, the summary is succinct. From 1999 to 2007 the pool of at risk un-injected cable totaled 7.8 million feet upon which they experienced 2512 failures. From that same pool of at risk cables, 2.1 million feet had been pulled for injection. Across that same time period there are only 43 failures experienced on the 2.1 million feet. The un-injected pool is suffering a failure rate per foot of cable that is larger than 15 times greater than the cables that have been injected.

The first two sentences are of course untrue. Part One and Part Two demonstrate that under conditions unrepresentative of typical cables and in the least demanding of applications, PMDMS (phenylmethyldimethoxysilane) fluid works quite well. What this frog struggles to fathom is why the author didn’t just stick to CL&P data. The CL&P data show the profoundly positive impact that PMDMS fluid has on, dare I say it, real world reliability. The post injection failure rate is 0.7% and it is does represent an over 15-fold improvement over the untreated cable population. In the interest of transparency, I have attached the CL&P data to the bottom of this post.

Conspicuous by its Absence

What’s missing from the “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid” document is any analysis that shows the “real world” concentration of treatment fluid in the CL&P cables. This would be the proper way to draw together the Duke, Dominion, and CL&P data. At Novinium, we don’t have to make measurements to know what the concentration profile looks like. We have two U.S. Patents (7,643,977 and 7,848,912), which allows us to calculate the profile with uncanny precision. If the author were to make a measurement, it would not support his narrative. The author would find that the concentration of fluid found in the Duke transmission cable and the unloaded 35kV Dominion feeder cable are substantially greater than that found in a similarly aged 7-strand or 19-strand CL&P URD cable. I should think the author would want to revise his thinking.

In any case, there is good news. For non-demanding applications in cool mesic soils such as those in Connecticut, even the first generation of fluids performs admirably. Novinium offers the same PMDMS-based treatment fluid with several safety and performance improvements. We call our PMDMS-based material, Perficio™ 011 fluid. Numerous improvements in the next generation of technology made by the Novinium Masters of Reliability™ provide up to twice the life and twice the post injection reliability with the Ultrinium™ 73X fluid family. What do the “real world” folks in Connecticut use today for their rejuvenation program? To find out you will have to ask them, but I can say that I have added granite to my habitat.

In my upcoming fifth and last post on this thread …

Real World V – Irrefutable Proof, …

I will provide a final peer review and editorial of UTILX’s “Confidential and Proprietary” document.

Until then,

T. B. Frog

80-20120127_Real_World_IV-NE_CLP_Cable_Injection_Program.pdf (8.14 kb)

Tags: , ,

Crazy Competitor Claims

by Thermo 26. January 2012 12:43

Failure Causes III

In my January 24th post, “Failure Causes I,” I provided a partial answer to an inquiry from Colorado Querier. Colorado sought to understand if rejuvenation technology was appropriate for the “many types of aging factors” from which his firm’s circuits might suffer. We learned that 39% or more of all circuit failures are component failures and that these reliability issues are directly addressed with a rejuvenation program.  In yesterday’s post, “Failure Causes II,” we learned that more than 78% of the cable failures, which represent over 60% of the circuit failures are directly caused by water trees.  78% times 60% yields 47%. Water trees are the root cause of more than 47% of circuit reliability issues. Taken together (39% plus 47%) component issues and water trees account for more than 86% of all circuit reliability issues. We could stop right there, because 86% could be characterized as the vast majority. We could stop right there, because of the over 100,000,000 feet of cable rejuvenated over the last two-and-a-half decades, over 99% continue to provide reliable service. Cables treated by Novinium enjoy a post-injection failure rate less than half that of the industry-wide figure. We could stop there, but we won’t. The Novinium masters of reliability strive for post-rehabilitation reliability perfection.

If component issues and water trees represent the frog’s share of reliability root causes, what are the secondary issues? And how does rejuvenation technology address, or not address, these issues?

Neutral Corrosion

The occurrence of neutral corrosion within the population of bare neutral cables is 100%.  But don’t despair, the occurrence of neutral corrosion that creates safety or reliability issues is an order of magnitude less significant than circuit failures from all other causes – that is, generally 1-2% of cables suffer substantive neutral issues. Click here to check out my July 7, 2010 post along with its links to other published works. Even though the neutral corrosion issue is less significant than many assume, the good news is that neutral corrosion is both detectable and addressable. In fact, the Novinium masters routinely detect and repair neutral corrosion.

Thermal Issues

When cables are heavily loaded over sustained periods the insulation loses anti-oxidants and plasticizers. Oxidative degradation and polymer embrittlement contribute to a decrease in dielectric strength and in severe, but rare, cases may lead to cracking of the insulation. Designed to stay in the insulation for decades after injection, Novinium’s Ultrinium™ 73X fluids include anti-oxidants (AOs) and plasticizers. These materials all but halt oxidative degradation and embrittlement. Anti-oxidants have also been proven to slow the rate of water tree growth and increase the inception voltage of electrical trees. Click here to learn more about anti-oxidants in my March 14, 2011 post, “AO, AO … It’s home from work we go.” If the insulation gets hot enough the conductor may migrate and the insulation will become eccentric. These eccentricities usually manifest themselves at tight bending radii. The Novinium masters identify and remove most excessively bent cable sections. These most commonly occur near terminations or accessible splices and these areas are inspected during pre-injection preparation. Novinium® brand rejuvenation addresses all of these thermal issues.


Halos are unavoidable when a cable is thermally cycled in the presence of water. Thermal cycling creates micro-voids in the middle radius of the insulation driven by the “Molecular Thermodynamics of Water in Direct-Buried Power Cables.” Click here to view the paper by the same name from IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine (Nov/Dec 2006). The collection of voids formed this way is referred to as a halo. In the absence of water trees or some other defects, a halo does not lead to failure, because the halo size is limited by the molecular thermodynamics of water in the polymer. None-the-less, rejuvenation reverses most of the dielectric degradation caused by halos by filling the micro-voids with more compatible organo-silicones. Novinium® brand rejuvenation addresses halos.

Manufacturing Defects

Voids, protrusions, contaminants, eccentricities, and skipped shields are “unwanted features” of a new cable. With the possible exception of skipped shields all of these unwanted features are in every cable. Fortunately for your newer purchases the magnitude of the defects is low enough that the cable can provide reliable service for its design life. For both your new cable purchases and your 30- and 40-year-old legacy purchases if the defects are large enough the cables will fail early in their lives … these kinds of defects yield what statisticians call infant mortality.  Your decade-old cables have been screened by operation of substantive manufacturing defects – those that will actually cause a failure without an accompanying water tree. In short, manufacturing defects are everywhere, but in legacy cable their manifestation is a water tree growing from the defect. Rejuvenation directly address the water tree and Novinium Ultrinium™ 73X brand rejuvenation includes patented stress grading components, which directly address stress-enhancing defects. Click the links below to learn more about stress grading …



Really Long Term Life 

March 18, 2011

Real World I – High K 

January 11, 2012

Installation Defects

Excessively tight bending radius, excessive pull force, and exterior abuse rendered during installation are analogous to manufacturing defects. Serious problems manifest themselves shortly after installation. If an installation defect survived for several decades it is not so serious that it cannot be addressed by rejuvenation technology, particularly technology that includes Novinium patented stress grading chemistry.

Physical Damage (post-installation)

Frost thrust, dig-ins, and critter attacks can occur at any time. At Novinium we have seen insect attacks and rodent attacks. Amphibians have never been a problem. In the case of critter attacks, these usually occur near terminations and hence are often discovered and rectified as a routine matter during a rejuvenation program.  Dig-ins and frost thrust are generally not discoverable, but follow a pattern similar to manufacturing and installation defects. Cables struck with significant damage fail shortly after the event, insignificant damage may be mitigated by rejuvenation. In summary, rejuvenation mitigates, but does not prevent all failures resulting from post-installation physical damage. Rejuvenation with stress grading technology such as that found in patented Novinium Ultrinium™ 73X brand rejuvenation fluids provides superior mitigation.

Testing Induced

My faithful readers know that this frog is not a devotee of diagnostic testing. The fundamental problem can be summed up thusly:  None of the technologies can reliably discriminate between cables which will fail in short order and those which will not. The rejuvenation program alternative puts a final nail in the diagnostic coffin, because components will all be changed anyway. What sense does it make to find out if the components are good or bad? Since over 99% of rejuvenated cables don’t fail when no diagnostics are utilized and the extension of life is 5-20 times longer that the retesting horizon, paying for a diagnostic is difficult to justify.  If all of that were not enough many diagnostics test induce defects! Electrical trees can be initiated directly by high voltage methods such as off-line partial discharge or indirectly by inducing space charge with DC methods. Even though it makes no technical sense to test, rejuvenation does mitigate the damage testing inflicts on cables if rejuvenation is given some time to improve the dielectric performance of the cable.  For SPR that is about a week; for UPR it is best to wait for at least a year. To explore diagnostic testing further do a key word search on my blog for “diagnostic testing.”

Insulation Shield Separation

Loss of adhesion between the insulation shield and the insulation is a rare occurrence and is the only fault mode not addressed or at least mitigated by rejuvenation. This frog can count on one front paw, and I only have four toes on that paw, the number of failures where the loss of insulation shield adhesion was the cause of failure. These few observed failures suggest that chemical contamination of the soil causes swelling of the shield material and loss of adhesion. Transformer oil or motor oil spills are suspected culprits. If you have a bunch of these kinds of failures on your hands, you have a potential Love Canal situation and you are going to be excavating the whole neighborhood.  No need to treat the cable.


Advanced cable rejuvenation provided by the masters at Novinium has a proven track record of 99.4% post-rejuvenation reliability. Almost all known causes of solid dielectric underground cable reliability problems are either directly addressed or mitigated. The sole exception is insulation shield separation, which is incredibly rare.

Broad Spectrum Reliability,

T. Bull Frog

by Thermo 25. January 2012 13:01

Failure Causes II

In yesterday’s post, “Failure Causes I,” I provided a partial answer to an inquiry from Colorado Querier. Colorado sought to understand if rejuvenation technology was appropriate for the “many types of aging factors” from which his firm’s circuits might suffer. In yesterday’s post we dealt with circuit failures caused by connected components, rather than the cable itself. Today we will focus on cable failures.  First a disclaimer – it is often difficult to determine with 100% certainty the cause of a cable failure in field conditions. A cable failure is a destructive event that usually vaporizes its own root cause. Those who analyze field failures can examine the cable near its fault for neighboring defects. If a defect or defects are found, the examiner may infer without certainty that a similar defect may have been the root cause of the actual fault. If no substantial defects are found the root cause will surely remain unknowable.

I emphasized “substantial” in the last sentence because at a small enough scale there are always defects. Water trees grow in all medium voltage solid dielectric cables exposed to moist conditions. Unless you have hermetically sealed metal sheaths, those would be your cables! Water treeing is an oxidative process, but even where there are no water trees, oxidation of the polymer occurs, because oxygen and other oxidizing agents are ubiquitous. Free radicals facilitate oxidation and are common in nature. Cosmic radiation, radioactive decay, and other natural processes spawn free radicals around the clock. On top of those chemical processes there are mechanical strains placed on the cable by thermal cycling driven by load cycling.  Such thermal cycling creates micro-voids in the middle radius of the insulation driven by the “Molecular Thermodynamics of Water in Direct-Buried Power Cables.” Click here to view the paper by the same name from IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine (Nov/Dec 2006). The collection of voids formed this way are referred to as a halo.  I provide an illustration of a halo and water tree nearby.

What are the primary causes of failure and how is each addressed or not addressed by rejuvenation?

In the frogograph nearby, I show you a subset of field reliability data (Editors note: I have come to call this kind of data – “real, real world!”) gathered by Dr. Steennis of KEMA. The simple logarithmic equation explains 78% of the relationship between maximum water tree length, expressed as a percentage of the insulation thickness and reliability expressed as AC breakdown strength.  AC breakdown strength is not a perfect surrogate for cable reliability, but it’s a pretty good one!  Lightning bolts appear next to each cable sample that failed in service. Water tree length is the single best predictor of reliability. In the same work, Dr. Steennis and his colleagues demonstrated that the laboratory failure of the field aged cables always occurred at the longest water tree, just as a chain fails at its weakest link.

Well over three-quarters of solid dielectric cable failures are caused by water trees. Rejuvenation technology was originally designed to address water tree degradation specifically. In fact, rejuvenation has a proven track record of treating the biggest and ugliest water trees on the planet.  Click here, to check out my October 5, 2011 post, “Water Trees – Too Big to Fail?” In my third post of this series we will examine the other less important root causes of cable failure and consider whether or not those root causes can or cannot be addressed by the application of rejuvenation technology.

Master of Reliability,

T. Bull Frog

by Thermo 24. January 2012 16:47

Failure Causes I

Dear Beautiful Bull Frog-

I wonder if you have any information I could use to help address a concern I have heard in my company.  That concern is that a 30 to 40 year old cable may have accumulated degradation due to many types of aging factors. Cable injection may not substantially address these factors and injection may not provide a very great increase of life extension for a very old cable.

Colorado Querier

Thank you for the inquiry Colorado. That is actually a great inquiry, because it will take me more than a single post to answer! The first question we have to address is:  Which of the two categories of failures plague your solid dielectric circuits?  In the figure nearby I ponder this question, because only you can know? At Jicable 2007, the International Conference on Insulated Power Cables, Nigel Hampton of NEETRAC (National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center) provided some survey data from their circuit owner members in a paper titled, “Validating cable diagnostic tests.”  Perceived failure experience of NEETRAC member companies suggested that on average, 55% of the failures in the population are cable failures, 39% are accessory failures, and 6% are unknown.  The perception of Utility 21 is that almost all of its failures are cable failures and very few of its failures are accessories. The perception of Utility 4 is reversed.  Utility 4 perceives that about 4 out of 5 of its failures are component failures and 20% or less are cable failures.

If the primary cause of your failures are components, consider which components are failing – terminations or splices or both. There are two injection paradigms, namely Unsustained Pressure Rejuvenation (UPR) and Sustained Pressure Rejuvenation (SPR). See “How to Inject” for more on UPR and SPR. Novinium is the only firm in the world that can use both paradigms. UPR attempts to flow through existing splices, so it is not the best choice if your firm experiences splice reliability issues. SPR replaces 100% of the splices and terminations with modern state-of-the-art components. UPR replaced all of the dead-front terminations, so if those are problematic components for you, UPR will address that issue. Novinium has made several improvements to the safety and reliability of dead-front terminations used for injection. I will describe those improvements another day.

In summary, if your reliability issues are primarily component issues, rejuvenation directly addressed these with systematic component replacement. Depending upon your specific circumstances, the Novinium masters of reliability will help you decide which injection paradigm best addresses your reliability issues at the lowest capital cost.

If your reliability issues are cable-centric, check out my next post in this series, Failure Causes II, where we will ask the question:  What are the primary causes of cable failure and how is each addressed or not addressed by rejuvenation?

Master of Reliability,

Thermo Bull Frog

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rejuvenation Science

by Thermo 12. January 2012 17:14

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 [3]; ''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.

Executive Summary

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.

Truly yours,

T. B. Frog

Tags: , , ,

Crazy Competitor Claims

by Thermo 11. January 2012 21:04

Real World I – High K

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 many, many claims. In this first of a series of posts, I examine the following set of claims from page 3:

Once the CableCURE® molecule reaches those sites it performs two important functions. First, it chemically combines with the water, desiccating the water tree site. Second, it polymerizes; the polymeric chain that forms continues to grow until its chain length traps it inside of the water tree structure. Once trapped inside of the cables insulation, it serves as a “high K" style stress gradient reducing the electrical stress amplification that occurs at the tips of the water tree “branches". This two part functionality arrests the growth of water trees in aging cable.

I added highlighting to focus on the words and phrases of the claims that could create confusion; I left all puctuation and grammer errors untouched.  The first two words I highlighted could be characterized as quibbles, but I endeavor to be precise in my language. I am sure the author will appreciate my clarifications, since these claims taken together with others are held out as “irrefutable proof” of CableCURE efficacy. The third highlighted “high K” claim will receive the majority of my attention today.


The CableCURE molecule to which the author refers is phenylmethyldimethoxysilane or PMDMS for short. The chemical reaction of PMDMS with water is well understood. On average each PDDMS molecule consumes about one water molecule.  The effect is real, but the implication of the claim is that this desiccation-by-reaction is one of PMDMS’s two important functions.  It is not. The reaction with water is a necessary precursor to a subsequent condensation reaction. In the next sentence the author refers to this second reaction as polymerization.* Chemical desiccation is not important because the phenomenon is fleeting.  Consider the data reported by another UTILX employee in “The Importance of Diffusion and Water Scavenging in Dielectric Enhancement of Aged Medium Voltage Underground Cables” at the IEEE PES T&D meeting in Chicago, 1994.  Figure 4 and the accompanying text indicate that the water reactive capacity of PMDMS is exhausted at between 54 and 67 days for a 1/0 conductor at 60°C.  At lower temperatures the time to exhaustion might be longer, even on the order of a year or even two. When one is talking about decade-long life extension, a couple of months or a couple of years is not of critical importance. None-the-less, PMDMS does help keep the insulation dry for many, many years, but not by the mechanism suggested by the author. Instead, the mechanism is preferential wetting, which is well described in U.S. Patent 7,976,747 held by Novinium and in the paper “Advances in Chemical Rejuvenation of Submarine Cables” available here. The reason the distinction is important is that only Novinium® brand Ultrinium™ 73X fluids include components with preferential wetting properties superior to PMDMS. Reducing the amount of water present in the insulation is indeed important, but not all rejuvenation fluids perform the same in water reduction efficacy.


The word “trap” is too absolute for this frog. Trap implies eternity and it just isn’t so.  In a December 29, 2010 post, “Chain Entanglement,” I explain how the larger oligomers substantially retard the exudation of the rejuvenation fluid, but it is not trapped. As shown in the figure nearby, improvements in rejuvenation molecules patented by Novinium (U.S. patent 7,658,808 and others pending) are designed to stick around in the insulation longer than PMDMS.

High K

There is no agreed-upon definition for High K, when applied to stress grading in power applications.  At 20°C and 60Hz, the dielectric constant or “K” of unfilled polyethylene is about 2.3 and EPR insulation varies from about 2.7 to 2.8 depending upon the specific compound. (See Bartnikas & Srivastava, Power and Communication Cables, IEEE 2000.)  The dielectric constant for PMDMS is 3.2. The dielectric constant of PMDMS is indeed higher than PE and EPR insulation, but using the word “high” is a bit of a stretch.  High K materials are quite often used in shrink-to-fit splices and terminations.  For example, 3M’s data sheet for its Quick Term II Silicone Rubber Termination Kit states:  “The High-K material has a dielectric constant of about 25.”  Pure water has a K of 78. Cyanobutylmethyldialkoxysilane or CBMDAS for short, a patented component of Novinium® brand Ultrinium™ 73X fluids, has a K much greater than that of water.  3M’s stress control material, water, and CBMDAS are “real life” High-K materials.  I have arranged these six materials in a table nearby for easy reference.

I object to the statement proffered by the author for two reasons …

     1. It is an assertion without proof.  If the author believes that the mechanism he claims is significant with a K of just 3.3, he should provide a calculation or measurement as substantiation.

     2. The PMDMS is replacing water, which has a much higher dielectric constant.  How could that conceivably provide stress grading?  CBMDAS on the other hand, enjoys a K greater than the water it replaces.

Executive Summary

The author of “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid” is not a master of the facts. While CableCURE fluid does dry the cable and extend its life, the explanation of why this is so lacks foundation. Stress grading at the microscopic scale is possible with materials that have dielectric constants greater than the water that they replace.  One example of such a material is available only from Novinium and is protected by a U.S. Patent, other pending patents, and their foreign equivalents. While this frog cannot be sure what the author was thinking when he made his claim, I can provide a common-sense recommendation: Do not rely on secret documents that have not been peer reviewed … especially if they include assertions without proof.

Always basking in transparency,

Thermonuclear Bull Frog

*The correct terminology is oligomerization, but I will let that slide.

by Thermo 9. January 2012 13:59
The Other Real World 
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.”  Because that document is 17 pages long and includes so many interesting thoughts it will take me several posts to explore the entirety of that inquiry.  The author of the 17 page missive, used the phrase “real world” 26 times. As my future posts unfold it will become clear that the author is almost certainly an alien, because his “real world” is not the same planet on which you and I live.  Some of my critics are no doubt screaming that a talking frog is not of this Earth, but I would refer them to the literature, which is replete with references to talking frogs. If anybody wishes to meet me in the flesh, come to Novinium’s headquarters and ask to speak with the real brains behind the Novinium Masters of Reliability™.  Links to the future posts, which provide analysis of specific “real world” claims will appear below as they become available.
          Real World I – High K
Before we delve into the specifics outlined above, I want to go on the record as stating unequivocally that the phenylmethyldimethoxysilane (PMDMS) fluid used by UTILX works well in non-demanding cable rehabilitation applications in the real, real world. Novinium founders invented that fluid about two decades ago. Heck the spouse of one of the Novinium founders coined the “CableCure” trademark! Novinium provides Perficio™ 011 fluid, which uses the same PMDMS monomer for non-demanding applications. The Novinium Masters have made significant improvements – Perficio 011 is the perfection of PMDMS technology. To learn about those perfections, check out my post of one year ago entitled, ”Catalytic Considerations – Component II.”
I suspect that the author’s propensity to repeat the notion of “real world” is to imply that Novinium’s technology has not been tested against real world conditions.  I would reply to that implication in two ways …
1.    Novinium offers an improved version of what UTILX offers – same monomer, better catalyst.  We also offer an even more advanced product (Ultrinium™ 73X fluid) that builds upon the prior two-decades of experience. Whether or not the data and analysis proffered by the author is representative of the real world remains to be discussed in future posts. Whether or not it is representative, the data provides the same experiential foundation to Novinium’s improved technology as it does to the two-decade-old approach. If people were not willing to try something new and improved, the earth would still be flat.
2.    Novinium has injected millions of feet of cable on this real world – the planet Earth.  We have aspirations to get to other planets some day, but for now the entirety of our experience is admittedly terrestrial.  In the figure nearby I illustrate Novinium’s actual failure experience in the form of a Crow-AMSAA analysis.  To learn more about Crow, check out my August 11, 2011 post of the same name.  We publish this graph regularly and we transparently discuss our faults. Check out: “Lessons Learned” UTILX has a data analysis system similar to that of Novinium. We know this to be the case, because Novinium employees designed and programmed UTILX’s original CTS database. UTILX could end any debate about which set of technologies provides more reliable post-injection service by publishing its total failure history. If they don’t know how to do the required analysis, I will volunteer to provide the requisite lesson in statistics.  Two dozen large crickets is all I will charge for an afternoon lesson in Crow.

There is undoubtedly a reason why Novinium’s post-injection performance is transparent and others choose opacity.  As we shall see, the anecdotes selectively plucked from data and provided in “Life Extension Estimate for UtilX® CableCURE® Rejuvenation Fluid” are the opposite of the “irrefutable proof” claimed.

Signing off from the planet Earth,


Tags: , , ,

Crazy Competitor Claims

Frog Blog

Month List