2021 Claude de Tourreil Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Electrical Insulators

Claude de Tourreil (1936-2006).

March 2021 marked 15 years since the untimely passing of Claude de Tourreil. While his name may still resonate with many in the field of transmission and distribution, it is likely that every passing year sees fewer and fewer T&D engineers know who he was or what he achieved. With recognition of this, in 2009 INMR established an award to commemorate this man’s accomplishments so that his memory could ‘live on’ and his example hopefully inspire others. This award is presented each year to someone who, like Claude, has spent his professional life making important and lasting contributions to the field of electrical insulation.

Claude de Tourreil became one of the power industry’s foremost experts on composite insulator technology at a time when it was still in its infancy. Every new idea, every innovation, every breakthrough needs a human catalyst who not only understands it well but also helps to spread it effectively. In this regard, Claude was the right man in the right place at the right time. While a researcher during the 1980s with Hydro Québec’s IREQ facility near Montréal, Claude became fascinated by the promise of composite insulators in resolving persistent problems in certain service environments. Since he was a modest man dedicated only to the science, he became and served as a highly credible advocate of this technology. Users the world over trusted his judgement and were willing to experiment with the new technology, knowing that it had been sufficiently developed and properly tested beforehand.

Claude with members of his ‘family’ (1991).

While Claude was passionate about composite insulators he was also among the first to acknowledge areas where improvements were still necessary. These included having the right standards in place, establishing the most suitable testing methodologies in the field and in the laboratory, and ensuring that quality was never sacrificed in the name of reduced cost. He was also among the first to recognize the need to disseminate Guides to ensure proper handling of insulators during transport, storage and installation.

Shortly before his passing, Claude co-authored a valuable text on composite insulator technology along with Roy Macey (center) and Wallace Vosloo (right).

Past recipients of this award have included luminaries such as:
LIANG Xidong, Tsinghua University, China (2009)
Wallace Vosloo, Eskom, South Africa (2010)
Ravi S. Gorur, Arizona State University, United States (2011)
Igor Gutman, Independent Insulation Group, Sweden (2012)
Frank Schmuck, Schmuck HV Insulation Consulting, Switzerland (2013)
Tony Carreira, K-Line Insulators, Canada (2014)
Alberto Pigini, T&D Expert, Italy (2015)
Vaclav Sklenicka, EGU HV Laboratory, Czech Republic (2016)
William Chisholm, Consultant, Canada (2017)
Jean-Marie George, Sediver, France (2018)
Andrew Phillips, EPRI, United States (2019)
Raouf Znaidi, T&D Consultant, Tunisia (2020)

INMR is pleased to announce that Dan Windmar, Vice President of Testing at STRI in Sweden has been chosen recipient of this year’s Claude de Tourreil Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Electrical Insulation.

Dan Windmar (legs crossed) at first INMR WORLD CONGRESS in Zürich (1995)

Dan’s career has seen him take on a variety of roles, all of which happened to touch upon electrical insulators. I first met him in the mid 1990s, when he was a young professional with ABB Corporate Research in Västeras, Sweden. He had attracted the interest of this industry leader due to his doctoral research on polymeric insulation materials while at Uppsala University and he was part of a new effort within ABB to evaluate this insulator technology and its application to different electrical apparatus. Dan was already one of this giant’s foremost insulation specialists and he was there at the inaugural INMR WORLD CONGRESS, held in Zurich, Switzerland in 1995.

By the turn of the millennium, Dan had taken on a new role as Manager of ABB’s High Power Laboratory in Ludvika, where he was involved in testing different transmission switchgear. This responsibility gave him an appreciation of the overload behaviour of different types of housings applied to equipment such as breakers. By 2005, he had become Sr. Specialist for Composite Insulators at ABB Power Technologies, where he was able to apply this laboratory experience to the design of a new generation of composite-housed apparatus. In fact, he presented a paper at the 2005 INMR WORLD CONGRESS in Hong Kong, Today’s Operating Performance & Manufacturing Processing Requirements for Silicone Rubber in Electrical Components. This paper reviewed how composite insulator technology was already being applied across a spectrum of system components and equipment and also emphasized the key production considerations in achieving good service performance.

Several years later, he joined STRI in a senior executive role with responsibility for HV Technology & Testing. STRI, as readers probably know, has been at the forefront of developing new test methodologies to evaluate different polymeric insulation materials and insulator designs going back over 30 years to its innovative and still widely used Hydrophobicity Classification System. There, he brought his knowledge of materials, design and testing to further innovate and allow suitable laboratory tests to be developed for UHV as well as for DC – both areas of high growth worldwide. For example, at the 2015 INMR WORLD CONGRESS in Munich, Dan presented another excellent paper: Practical Experience on UHV DC Dielectric & Pollution Testing. Two years later, at the 2017 INMR WORLD CONGRESS, he explained how TSOs had begun driving further investment in laboratory testing facilities in a paper: Trends & Demands from TSOs Driving New Investment in High Voltage Laboratories.

In 2019, Dan again made important contributions at the 2019 INMR WORLD CONGRESS where he informed on Progress on Revision of IEC 60383-1. He also explained why there has been a growing demand for Cases of Non-Standardized Testing given that certain test standards were no longer seen as sufficient to guarantee desired performance in the field.

In recognition of his numerous contributions in this regard, Dan was presented the IEC 1906 Award and in spring 2020 was elected Secretary of IEC TC36, Insulators.

Dan with youngest son, Tobias, and oldest, Anton (right). My son, Eric on his lap. (2004).

I am pleased to call Dan not only a valued colleague but also a friend whose family I have felt close to now for almost 20 years. Indeed, one of my fondest memories is when Dan visited my family in southern Spain in 2004, accompanied by his three sons, Tobias, Jesper and Anton.

Dan’s important and lasting contributions to the field of electrical insulation have made him a truly worthy recipient of this prestigious honour. On behalf of INMR and its community of thousands of T&D engineers and professionals worldwide, I extend deep appreciation to him for an illustrious and still active career contributing to the field of electrical insulation.


Marvin Zimmerman