For Rosendahl, the answer is clear. By forgoing the cross-linking process and transitioning from XLPE to PP-based compounds, the insulation of medium-voltage cables becomes simpler, faster, and more sustainable.

A horizontal line saves up to 40% in length and up to 60% in height, compared to a traditional CV line.

Why Polypropylene?

Polypropylene (PP) is a fully recyclable and environmentally friendly base material for cable insulation. Those who switch from XLPE to PP and can, therefore, skip the associated and complex cross-linking process enjoy many advantages:

  1. CO2 and energy reduction
    Skipping the cross-linking part completely means no energy-intensive curing or degassing of the by-products anymore. This results in a CO2 reduction of up to 50%.
  2. Space saving concpet
    No massive CV system is necessary for PP cables. A streamlined horizontal line layout saves about 60% in height and 40% in length. This also translates to reduced acquisition costs.
  3. Scrap reduction
    Thanks to the simplified line layout, a PP line contains much less cable length. The overall scrap rate is significantly reduced. Additionally, less frequent cleaning is required – there is no risk of contaminating the PP cable insulation with polymer agglomerates already partially cross-linked in the extruder.

In total, these advantages result in a more efficient investment with quick ROI and lower operating expenses. A win-win situation.

What is the current status quo regarding electric standards?

Many currently enforced standards have yet to recognise PP as an insulation material. Several tests outlined in these standards are specifically tailored for XLPE cables and aren’t technically adaptable for PP. Comparable tests for PP already exist, so technically speaking, there is no reason to hinder its establishment as an insulation material anymore.

Italy and the Netherlands show how it’s done
Gradually, PP is making its way into national standards. Italy and the Netherlands lead the way in this regard. These European countries have been pioneers in utilising PP cables within the medium-voltage grid for several years. Italy alone has installed more than 10,000 km of PP-insulated medium-voltage cables.

Given the pressure on the industry to transition towards more sustainable solutions, it’s only a matter of time before other countries follow and genuinely embrace the advantages of PP.

Image source: Courtesy of Rosendahl Nextrom

Read more about Rosendahl Nextrom here