GE-Grid Solutions TRANSACTION Effective 2nd November 2015, GE acquired Grid Solutions’s energy businesses. The Grid Solutions content available on this site is for information purposes only.
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Greenhouse Gas initiatives

Grid Solutions initiated a GHG footprint program to measure and reduce its GHG emissions. For Grid Solutions, the most important stake in GHG emissions lays on SF6 management: SF6 emissions amount to 80% of Grid Solutions’ direct emissions.

SF6 is used in high and medium voltage switchgear to ensure top performance in arc breaking and insulation. Unfortunately, it is also tied to global warming. We are therefore committed to:

  • Reducing SF6 emissions at our sites (target reduction of 3% each year)
  • Training our customers to reduce their own emissions
  • Reducing the volume of SF6 within our products

In addition, Grid Solutions has developed alternative solution called g³ (green gas for grid). g³ has 98% less impact on global warming than SF6 with performances comparable to SF6.

Learn more about our revolutionary g³ solution.

SF6 alternative

  • Grid Solutions is the first in the world to launch a clean alternative to SF6, a gas commonly used in high-voltage equipment. Read more about the launch of this alternative at Think-Grid online magazine

    As excellent insulator, SF6 gas is widely used in the electrical industry in high-voltage (HV) air- or gas insulated switchgears, circuit breakers, disconnectors, earthing switches, instrument transformers, surge arresters, bushings, busbars and more. However, SF6 is a greenhouse gas with an extremely significant impact on global warming. It is one of the six gasses listed in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In addition, as a fluorinated gas, SF6 is subject to various other regulations and intended to reduce emissions.

    Until now, there was no economical alternative to SF6 at high voltages that featured equivalent switching and voltage-withstand capabilities. Grid Solutions is the first to offer the electrical industry an alternative to SF6.

    The revolutionary SF6-free solution, g³ (green gas for grid) was jointly developed with 3M™, a leader in environmentally sustainable solutions. g³ has 98% less impact on global warming than SF6. With performances comparable to SF6, it is a suitable technology for the development of today's new generation of clean high- and ultrahigh voltage equipment.

    g³ is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-flammable, SF6 free gas mixture that can replace SF6 for HV air- or gas-insulated switchgear applications. This solution complies with stringent switchgear specifications, including:

    • Voltage withstand,
    • Current interruption,
    • Heat transfer,
    • Low temperature application,
    • Compatibility with switchgear materials,
    • Stability versus temperature and time,
    • Easy handling for filling and topping-up,
    • Similar design compactness for equipment

    g³ has an extremely low global warming potential - a 98% reduction compared to SF6. It is safe to handle and has no impact on ozone depletion. Tests were conducted on actual HV equipment in the technology research center of Villeurbanne (France), to compare the new gas features to those of the existing SF6 solutions for different types of applications. g³ has demonstrated performances comparable to SF6, making it a suitable technology for the development of a new generation, clean HV equipment from 72 kV to the ultra-high voltages.

    To learn more about the development of g³, watch the video and read about our pilot projects.

SF6 and climate change

  • SF6, GHG and climate changeSF6-GHG-Climate change
    Greenhouse gases (GHG) are at the root of the “greenhouse effect”, which is causing climate change throughout the world due to dramatically increased emissions.

    There are 6 direct GHG listed in the Kyoto Protocol:

    • CO2, mainly from fossil fuel consumption 
    • CH4,N2O, mainly from agriculture
    • PFCs, HFCs and SF6, mainly from industryGHG GIEC

    Although the physical quantity of SF6 in the atmosphere is very small, it presents a very high global warming potential: 24,000 times higher than CO2. This means that SF6 has the ability to absorb 24,000 times more infra-red radiation than carbon dioxide.

    Therefore it is by far one of the most critical of the greenhouse gases and the emission of SF6 into the atmosphere must be reduced as much as possible.
    SF6 has no impact on ozone depletion but has significant effect on climate change.

SF6 leak reduction

  • Example of SF6 emissions reduction in Oberentfelden (Switzerland)

    One of the measures detailed in the Swiss Voluntary Agreement is "application of the most recent techniques to avoid SF6 emissions". To respect such a commitment, the Oberentfelden site set up various devices to detect any potential leakages, including:

    • Static warning device to help reducing SF6 emissions in areas with products containing SF6
    • Quantitative gas monitoring system to measure the concentration of SF6 in air samples = used for product tightness tests
    • Instrumentation for high sensitivity trace gas leak detection = detect and quantify leaks in a wide range of applications

    Thanks to these leakages detection devices and the application of best handling practices, SF6 emissions into the atmosphere are globally decreasing. In 2001, SF6 emissions were about 670 kg (16 kt eq.CO2). 15 years later, emissions have halved to only 156kg (3,5kt eq.CO2).

    Example of SF6 tracking device in Aix-les-Bains (France): Infrared CameraIR Tracking device

    Early detection of leakages is a key to minimizing SF6 emission into the atmosphere and protecting the environment. The French manufacturing site of Aix-les-Bains applies the best methods available for SF6 leakages detection, including the use of an infared (IR) camera. The principle function of such a device is to detect and visualize the wavelength of SF6 gas.

    • The IR camera is used during periodic inspections of SF6 containers and products. The aim is to detect leaks so small that they cannot be detected by the general alarms situated in the unit.
    • The IR camera can easily detect the position of leakages in a product or SF6 container, allowing for rapid action when a SF6 general alarm is activated into the unit.

Reduction of SF6 volume

  • From the mid-sixties, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) size and thus SF6 quantities have been reduced by more than 80% thanks to the evolution of circuit-breaker technology. However, now that GIS size has been optimized, it is increasingly difficult for new generations to reduce the quantity of SF6.

    Despite these challenges, through its eco-design approach, Grid Solutions is continuously working to find innovative solutions to reduce both SF6 mass and the length of their product seals, contributing to directly reducing the SF6 emissions of its customers. One such example is the 13% reduction of SF6 mass and 11% reduction of seals length for the new 252 kV GIS, compared to the former generation.

    From a systemic point of view, the GHG balance of SF6 in a gas-insulated substation compared to an air-insulated substation is interesting: SF6 insulated electrical equipment, thanks to its compact design, allows higher voltage networks to be brought closer to urban consumers. This means that it minimizes the energy losses associated with the transmission and distribution of electricity.

     SF6 mass reduction for GIS  

Customer training on SF6

  • Grid Solutions is committed to transferring knowledge and technical expertise to its customers. Our Technical Institute provides various SF6 and environmental risk management trainings. For more details, visit our technical training page or read our technical training catalogue.

    To evaluate and certify workers from across the industry involved in recovering SF6 gas from high and medium voltage switchgear, the Technical Institute Aix-les-Bains (TIA) offers two different training programs relating to the use of SF6 gases and adapted to applicant experience.

    The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has edited a new standard, ref. IEC 62271-4, regarding SF6 gas handling on all electric power equipment. Grid Solutions Technical Institute can train and certify your team.

    Our training centers can supplement the practical examination with hands-on training on real equipment, including gas-insulated switchgear and air-insulated switchgear technology. In addition, the Technical Institute can address other international regulations and standards related to SF6 handling, for internal and external operators from worldwide electrical industries. .

    For more information, please email us.