A consortium of 10 European partners have formed Novum, Espoo, Finland, to develop a cellulose-based material for producing electrical insulation components for oil-cooled power and distribution transformers. Bio-based cellulose is a biopolymer that comes from the cell walls of plants and is naturally abundant. Insulation components must traditionally be manufactured using custom-made metal molds, but Novum has been working to develop a foam-forming technology that accepts 3D-printed bio-based cellulose material to replace traditional molding techniques and materials to make the components.

The benefits of the new process include reduced energy consumption (20 percent), waste generation (60 percent), labor time (40 percent), and operating costs (40 percent) versus manual production. The consortium is aiming to create a pilot line concept and manufacture two different types of electrical insulation components. The project is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.

Consortium partners are from several steps along the value chain, including three large industries, five small and medium-sized enterprises, and two research partners. The industrial partners understand the business side of the project, and the research organizations provide expertise on the cellulose material, novel process technologies, and testing of prototype components. More info on the partners is available at www.novumproject.eu. (5/21)