Cargill plant to turn soy oil into electrical fluid

Cargill officially opened a new operation at its Wichita oil seeds production plant — turning soybean oil into electrical insulation fluid.

The company will make Cooper Power Systems Envirotemp FR3 dielectric fluid, a nontoxic and biodegradable fluid used in energy line transformers, to increase the performance of transformers during peak energy use periods.

The primary customer is Cooper Power Systems, a global maker of medium- and high-voltage electrical equipment.

The company spent $2.6 million for equipment to remove some ingredients and add others to its soybean oil to make it a better electrical insulator, said Michael Hora, Commercialization Engineer for Cargill Industrial Oils and Lubricants.

The company also has a plant in Chicago that does this, he said.

"We are always searching for new ways to use plant derived materials in our work with industrial customers to improve their products," Dave Roesser, general manager of Cargill's Industrial Oils and Lubricants group, said in a statement.

The company collaborated with Cooper Power Systems to produce the fluid.

Cargill has operated its Dressing, Sauces and Oils business in Wichita since 1981. Cargill also has the headquarters of its Meat Solutions division and a Horizon Milling flour mill in Wichita. Cargill has approximately 1,100 Wichita-based employees.