Our Central Oil Reprocessing Department (CORD) at Whitebirk, near Blackburn, has a new process
to improve the reclamation of transformer oil. Established in 1984 as a bespoke process, CORD is
still the only one of its kind in the UK Since it was built, the site has processed a massive 28 million
litres of oil. To improve performance, during 2008 we installed more modern reclamation equipment.
CORD not only enables us to reuse waste but also ensures that we do not have to spend as much on
this finite resource.
Oil is used in some electricity transformers to ensure safe and efficient operation. During its use the
oil picks up various contaminants which reduce the efficiency of the oil. Used oil removed from
equipment is classified as a waste and reusing the oil is seen as a more environmentally friendly
option that disposal.
Our four strong team at CORD is responsible for collecting, testing and reconditioning of the oil and
for getting it back out into transformers oil fill switch gear.
The whole reprocessing plant can fit on a trailer with the potential of going to sites to process oil
without having to take it back to base. The plant and trailer combined weigh a relatively lightweight
In the last 12 months CORD handled 1.3 million litres of oil of which achieved 100% of the
requirements for Transformer and switchgear maintenance by using reclaimed insulation oil. In
previous years it has been necessary to purchase up-to 250,000 litres of new insulation oil.
Any surpluses that know become available above our strategic stock levels or any oils deemed
unsuitable for reclaiming are sent to alternative uses.
Emissions from plant are carefully monitored and scrubbed – meaning there are no harmful
emissions that escape into the atmosphere. Any potential emissions are carefully monitored as part
of the site’s quality management system.