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EU supports GE’s development of a 245 kV g³ circuit-breaker to accelerate decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grid

EU supports GE’s development of a 245 kV g³ circuit-breaker to accelerate decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grid

Paris, FRANCE – July 22, 2021 - GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE-GE) has been awarded €2.5 million through the European Commission’s LIFE climate action program to help fund the development of a sulfur hexafluoride (SF₆)¹-free 245 kilovolts (kV) g³ live tank circuit-breaker². The new circuit-breaker will rely on GE’s industry-leading g³ (pronounced “g”- cubed) gas technology to deliver the same high performance and compact dimensional footprint as a traditional SF₆ circuit-breaker.

The co-funding reflects the EU’s commitment to accelerate the decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grids and help them get ready for the EU’s stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulation, which aims to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030. GE’s g³ gas is a game-changing alternative to SF₆ - a potent greenhouse gas - with a global warming potential (GWP) that is about 99% less compared to SF₆.

The new GE air-insulated 245 kV g³ live tank circuit-breaker, which will be based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, is the second g³ gas project co-funded by the EU. In 2019, GE received funding for a g³ gas-insulated 420 kV circuit-breaker, also as part of the EU LIFE Program.

"The EU’s co-funding of a g³ 245 kV live tank circuit-breaker will help demonstrate the applicability of GE’s g³ gas for this commonly used voltage level by transmission operators around the world, as well as outdoor applications down to -30°C,” said Vera Silva, Chief Technology Officer at GE’s Grid Solutions. “The new g³ 245 kV live tank circuit-breakers, once ramped up together with 420 kV voltage level, will help avoid the addition of some 52,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent annually on to the European grid alone and more – as we expect other continents to adopt our g³ gas technology.”

GE’s Grid Solutions teams will work with several European partners on this second EU-funded g³ gas project, including Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, which will build a scientific database of g³ gas properties. Industrial partners will help optimize the environmental impact of the new circuit-breaker throughout its entire life cycle.

A recent EU Commission report concluded that fluoronitrile-based gas mixtures – such as g³ gas - may be the only insulating and switching gas alternative to SF₆ when space is a constraint, such as in urban areas. That’s because fluoronitrile-based gas products feature the same compactness and performance as traditional SF₆ equipment, unlike other SF₆-free solutions.

Today, 25 leading electrical utilities have already adopted GE’s g³ products for their high voltage networks, avoiding the addition of more than a million tons of CO₂ equivalent to the grid. That’s the equivalent of removing about 476,000 petrol cars from the road for one year.

GE’s g³ gas-insulated products are currently available for live-tank circuit-breakers and gas-insulated substations (GIS) up to 145 kV, as well as gas-insulated lines (GIL) up to 420 kV.

For more information on GE’s high-voltage g³ substation equipment and product roadmap, visit our website.



Notes to the Editor:

  • 1 - SF₆: Due to its strong insulating and arc-quenching properties, SF₆ is widely used in substation equipment with the transmission industry accounting for approximately 80% of the world’s usage. Identified as a potent greenhouse gas by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, SF₆ is estimated to contribute 23,500 times more emissions than CO₂ when leaked and can remain in the atmosphere for up to 3,200 years.
  • 2 - Circuit-breaker: A circuit-breaker is a protective device used on the high voltage electrical network in case of a problem on the grid to cut or redirect the power through another path to avoid blackouts. High-voltage 245 kV circuit-breakers are found at electrical substations on transmission lines carrying the power to or within regional areas.


For media inquiries, contact:
Allison J. Cohen
GE Renewable Energy, Grid Solutions business
External Communications Manager