Adaptive power transformer lifetime predictions through machine learning and uncertainty modelling in nuclear power plants

Jose Ignacio Aizpurua, Stephen D. J. McArthur, Brian G. Stewart, Brandon Lambert, James G. Cross, Victoria M. Catterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)
526 Downloads (Pure)


The remaining useful life (RUL) of transformer insulation paper is largely determined by the winding hot-spot temperature (HST). Frequently the HST is not directly monitored and it is inferred from other measurements. However, measurement errors affect prediction models and if uncertain variables are not taken into account this can lead to incorrect maintenance decisions. Additionally, existing analytic models for HST calculation are not always accurate because they cannot generalize the properties of transformers operating in different contexts. In this context, this paper presents a novel transformer condition assessment approach integrating uncertainty modeling, data-driven forecasting models and model-based experimental models to increase the prediction accuracy and handle uncertainty. The proposed approach quantifies the effect of measurement errors on transformer RUL predictions and confirms that temperature and load measurement errors affect the RUL estimation. Forecasting results show that the extreme gradient boosting (XGB) algorithm best captures the non-linearities of the thermal model and improves the prediction accuracy amongst a number of forecasting approaches. Accordingly, the XGB model is integrated with experimental models in a Particle Filtering framework to improve thermal modelling and RUL prediction tasks. Models are tested and validated using a real dataset from a power transformer operating in a nuclear power plant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4726-4737
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Issue number6
Early online date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • condition assessment
  • forecasting
  • prognostics and health management
  • sensitivity
  • transformers


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive power transformer lifetime predictions through machine learning and uncertainty modelling in nuclear power plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this