Cargill was recently presented with a 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its technological innovation in developing Envirotemp FR3 transformer oil made from natural esters.
The awards, which recognize the development of new technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into the design, manufacture and use of chemicals, are presented annually in five different focus areas. Cargill's award came in the design of greener chemicals focus area.
FR3 fluid is a soybean-oil based product used as a coolant and insulator in high-voltage electric transformers. Less flammable than mineral oil, it biodegrades easily and is carbon neutral, non-toxic and non-hazardous in soil and water.
FR3 fluid also can handle a much higher rise in temperature than mineral oil, which means manufacturers can design FR3 fluid-filled transformers 15 to 20 percent smaller and can deliver up to 20 percent overload capacity. The fluid actually protects the transformer insulation paper, making it last five to eight times longer than transformers filled with mineral oil.
"Developing a new product from the ground up and earning some acceptance in the marketplace is pretty satisfying work in itself," said Kevin Rapp, a senior chemist for Cargill and one of the scientists and engineers who developed FR3 fluid. "Knowing that the work we've done has made the world a better place … well … that puts it over the top for me."
This is the second Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Cargill has won in the past six years. Its BiOH brand polyols won in 2007.
For more information, visit www.cargill.com.