Knomentous Customer Login Cable Tracking System
Menu

Methanol

August 2, 2012

Q:

In Section 16 of the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for Cablecure iXL [Perficio™ 011] fluid it states that methanol is listed as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP). Given your green credentials it is hard to believe that you would create any significant air pollution.

A:

The most important word in your question is “significant!” Heck, according to the EPA I can’t breathe without emitting life-threatening CO2. I’m glad I’m not a coal-fired power plant, or I would be an endangered species. Let’s start by putting methanol in context. When you press the windshield washer button on your car the colored fluid that comes out is about 30% to 50% methanol—all of that evaporates into the atmosphere. Commercially significant rejuvenation fluids include one or more methoxysilanes. When methoxysilanes react with water in the cable they create methanol. The three most common methoxysilanes utilized over the past 25 years and the amount of methanol produced by 100 grams of rejuvenation fluid are shown in the table nearby.

Component 100 grams yields –> grams methanol Used in
phenylmethyldimethoxysilane

35.15

Cablecure iXL[Perficio 011] fluid
tolylethylmethyldimethoxysilane

28.56

Cablecure 732[Ultrinium™ 732] fluid
cyanobutylmethyldimethoxysilane

34.21

A very small amount of methanol exudes out of the cable over a very long time. Microorganisms in the soil or water metabolize methanol in these very low concentrations.Unlike windshield washer fluid, the methanol is not released all at once, but rather the chemical reaction that creates the methanol occurs over a period of months inside the cable. If the cable is buried in soil or is submerged in a river, a lake, or the ocean, very little of the methanol produced will make it into the atmosphere. Because the methanol is diluted and dispersed in water, it is readily metabolized by microbial activity.

Let’s calculate the methanol generated per meter of cable. A larger conductor size, such as a 750 kcmil concentric conductor can hold about 96 grams of fluid per meter of cable. One formulation that might be utilized is Cablcure iXL [Perficio] and in this example, less than half of the 96 grams (about 45 grams) would be methoxysilane.1 The methanol yield per meter of cable would be about 35.15% of 45 grams, or about 16 grams of methanol per meter of cable. That’s much less methanol than a single squirt of your windshield washer. And most of it will be consumed by microorganisms.

The other side of the rejuvenation coin is replacement, which has a much larger environmental footprint. Check out my March 17, 2011 post for some quantification of the environmental benefits of recycling medium voltage power cables.

1See Step 8 of Novinium Rejuvenation Instruction 20, NRI20.