Marius Grisaru is an analytical chemist with a vast experience in transformer oil, condition monitoring, and dissolved gas analysis (DGA) in particular. He is also a domain expert on health management of power transformers. He has a vast experience in transformer fault analysis, diagnostic testing of transformer components, research and development. He is a distinguished member of various technical committees such as ASTM, CIGRE and IEC. He has published many high-quality papers in various international journals, magazines and conferences. He also conducts periodic lessons DGA of transformer oils on various educational platforms.
Let’s start the interview!
Q. Tell us about yourself
Marius: I am very glad to have this opportunity to speak and share my experience and view with you and Seetalabs. I study and have been employed as an electrician for almost 20 years and as an analytical chemist for more than 30 years. More than 10 years were overlapping on that occupation. I tried to understand the chemistry of the insulating liquids, their functions in the electricity industry. I have the chance to be involved in sampling, preparing bids, recommending internal inspections, and performing many postmortem inspections.
Now I try to share my experience in the chemical and electrical fields with the industry and participate as actively I can in our remote conditions, and of course conducting DGA oil course at Transformer Academy. I hope in next future to continue with a course in transformer oil tests also at Transformers Academy. I also study STEM education for young and mature students.
Q. What inspired you to join this sector?
Marius: I must confess that I did not arrive intentionally in this sector. I did have a strong background in analytical chemistry. I was an electrical technician, and somehow, I had the chance to be involved in the electricity industry for more than thirty years. Sometimes I see the transformers as supreme equipment, and I am very sympathetic with the famous William Stanley declaration: ” I have a very personal affection for a transformer.”
The transformer is a chemical reactor activated by mechanical, magnetic, electrical forces. It contains many organic and inorganic materials that are in a continuous change in the influence of all those forces, with still needed to be discovered phenomena. As occurred with the sulfur corrosion phenomena. More phenomena are waiting to be discovered and explained as they have a huge influence on everyday humane routine through their effect on power transformers operations.
Q. What trends do you think will rule in the next 5 years in this sector?
Marius: For transformer, insulating liquids industry has multiple potential scenarios. And while they may be real, is will not be easy to predict its future. For insulating oils, management and tests are expect to advertise a pressure on the market. But, I do think that a few hidden chemical aspects will surprise, quite unpleasantly, the industry.
Users are demanded to imply various cautions in adopting a new liquid in their transformers. The successful oil company will be those that share their knowledge with the users. The oil test industry will move from classic tests to more sophisticated ones. And, accuracy and test reproducibility in a different laboratory will be a real issue in this post-privatization era. Online DGA device future is very challenging, not only because of rising global demands but also for the technical and scientific issues. I predict the same trend for data analytics as well. They need to still solve classic and novel issues.
Q. Can you elaborate why?
Marius: Human experts in the transformer oil field are becoming rare. This influence stimulates replacement by automatic devices instead of specialized chemists and their data to being processed by AI and ML. Both fields are in the childhood stage, even chronological are quite mature. As per the literature (CIGRE DGA2019 brochures) online DGA market is a jungle with a high rate of appearance and disappearing. Unfortunately, the users today spend more time on their maintenance and tenders than for the transformers themselves. Data analysis domain need also more scaffolds which unfortunately become more complicated to achieve, as security or full-range training.
Q. Most of the people think maintenance and reliability are the same thing. What are your thoughts about it?
Marius: In most cases, wisdom of the crowd is a correct answer. In the power transformer industry, those terms are very close and intercorrelated. But are a few cases and different aspects for both terms. It is correct that transformer reliability depends also on its maintenance. Of course, it depends on other aspects such as design, materials, loading regime, and others. Valuable and accurate measurements, followed by the best available diagnose are the first conditions for valuable maintenance policy. But for reliability is still not enough. Users must be aware that uncontrolled and unnecessary maintenance may cause the opposite effect of lower reliability. A good example of this is to exaggerate oil sampling, both manually or by the usage of low-quality online measurement devices.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you would give to a junior professional to succeed in your sector?
Marius: Learn from everybody, from field technicians, and also knowledgeable experts. Less from commercial representatives. Be open mind and ready to change your views as much as needed. Above all the mentors let the results and scientific reality influence your decisions.
Q. What is something nobody tells you, but you wish you knew earlier?
Marius: The wheel is already invented but I need to understand how and why it spins. Meaning that in our field is crucial to learn in deep every aspect and technology. Although is problematic advice I did not recommend electricians specialists to be involved in the chemical decision and of course vice-versa. Same for software and commercial experts. Even in our days, information is much easy to achieve, experience is important as well.
Q. Can you recommend any books or media?
Marius: As I have continuously contributed to Transformers Magazine since the first volume on 8 April 2014 and presented the DGA course there, I strongly recommend reading it and participating in all the courses at Transformer Academy that are wisely tailored for all the participants in our industry. Surely, I also recommend listening to “Women in Power Engineering – live interview with Mrs. Chakraborty”.
CIGRE brochures and relevant IEEE and IEC standards are a must reading for all transformers users. The avalanche of papers published at IEEE may be problematic for practical readers because quite a few papers and few authors publish easily applicable methods.
I found very interesting and even relevant to professional life the best sellers’ books of Prof Yuval Harari. He describes very well the future of Artificial Intelligence and how it influences many life aspects. Of course, he doesn’t mention transformer diagnosis, but from his book, it is understandable how the AI will take control also in this field.