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Kilian Gerbl Feb 14, 2023 4:55:48 PM 4 min read

How cost-efficient & sustainable is the recycling of transformer oil?

In particular after repair and maintenance work on transformers or on-load tap-changers, many companies use recycled transformer oil - instead of new oil. Read what this is all about and how you can be sure that you are choosing the right insulating oil. 

Sustainable asset or plant management is becoming more and more perceived as a decisive value-added factor in companies. This is due to both general cost pressure and legal requirements regarding environmental protection. The importance of supply chain issues and dependence on the countries of origin of crude oil is also increasing. In addition, transformers must be available longer than before and operating costs from energy, material and personnel should be reduced to a minimum. 


Recycling of transformer oil is a cost-efficient alternative

The economic handling of transformer oil has also become a cost factor in the optimisation of plant management. Because producing recycled transformer oil is far less energy-intensive. No crude oil has to be extracted and transported from overseas or over long distances. 

As a result, the costs of recycled oil are lower than those of new insulating oil and are not directly subject to fluctuations in the market price of crude oil. 


Recycling of transformer oil is an image-enhancing, sustainable initiative

The benefits for the environment should also be emphasised. After all, it is important to avoid wasting valuable insulating oil. And those who decide to recycle transformer oils are thus deciding in favour of a greater sustainability focus for their company.

Already today, more than 60,000 tonnes of transformer oil are recycled annually in the Benelux countries, Germany, France and Great Britain. In the interest of sustainability and resource conservation, you too can reduce oil-containing - and thus hazardous - waste in your company!


Is the quality of recycled transformer oil the same as that of new oil? Take the following precautions


1. Transformer Oil acc. to IEC 60296 

There are high-quality recycled transformer oils that can compete well with new insulating oils. As long as they meet the requirements of the international standard IEC 60296:2020 for mineral naphthenic insulating fluids in electrical equipment, they are oils with as-new properties

2. Expertise of Service Provider

In addition to the as-new product, the service provider who takes care of the removal of the poor quality transformer oil and replaces it professionally must also be considered.

This involves important questions such as:

  • Is the company certified as a specialist disposal company?
  • Is it allowed to work with liquids that are hazardous to water?
  • How is the quality of  all key processes checked and audited?
  • To what extent is the environment taken into account?
  • And how is occupational health and safety ensured? 


Important standards and certificates when dealing with transformer oil

In other words, make sure to only commission companies that meet the standards and can show the relevant certificates: 

  • Transport companies require a Hazardous Waste Carrier Licence: Before used transformer oils are removed from equipment and site, ensure that your appointed service company has the necessary and correct waste licence in place to comply with all local, national and international regulations.

  • Recycling companies must have regulatory Waste Management accreditation or Environmental Permit: Recycling is a proven process via proprietry technology undertaken in strict accordance with local and national regulation and accreditation. Ensure your service company has these in place before trusting them to recycle responsibly. Better still choose a company dedicated to recycling the precious resource of insulating oils.

  • Quality Management - ISO 9001: This certification specifies requirements for quality management along the entire value chain, formulates a management system and provides companies with suitable measures.

  • Environmental Management - ISO 14001: This certification covers all aspects for continuous improvement of environmental performance.

  • Occupational Health & Safety - ISO 45001: This standard formulates the requirements for occupational health and safety management systems and provides companies with suitable measures.


Electrical Oil Services (EOS®) fulfils all the above requirements and produces recycled transformer oils in accordance with IEC 60296:2020 Ed.5 and BS148:2020. 




Transformer oil has excellent potential for reuse by returning it to the cycle after proper treatment: Recycled transformer oil is used by public utilities and industrial companies especially when transformers are refilled with insulating oil after repair and maintenance work. Our tip: Make sure you have the right certificates with regard to the products and the service provider!


Do you have any questions on the recycling of insulating oil? We will be happy to advise you.

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Synonym: transformer oil, insulating oil 


Kilian Gerbl

Kilian Gerbl is Head of Sales for Electrical Oil Services GmbH. He is responsible for all commercial-related topics in Europe – this includes customer relationship management as well as new project and business development. His key focus is to expand the EOS activities across Europe and further implement the sustainable EOS Closed-Loop model.
Tel: +49 151 5351 5373