SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) has properties that make it an excellent insulator and switching medium for high-voltage switchgears and other high voltage electrical applications. However, SF6 is also an extremely powerful greenhouse gas (GHG): it has a 23 500 times higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2) and a half-life of 3 200 years. Although the contribution of SF6 to the overall GHG effect is less than 1%, every source of SF6 emission has a disproportionally large impact. The beneficiary, Grid Solutions, has demonstrated the feasibility of SF6-free technology for electrical switchgears for three types of high-voltage equipment, solutions that are commercially in operation in several European countries. To fulfil the EU's climate goals, the use of potent GHGmust be prevented. Elimination of SF6 from current use in the industry is therefore reflected in the EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014).
The concrete goals of the regulation are to:
Moreover, the Regulation has a provision for reviewing the situation in 2020, based on the availability of economically-viable alternatives.
The objective of the LIFE GRID project is to replace SF6 in High Voltage Circuit Breakers (HVCB) with an environmental-friendly alternative called g3. The technical feasibility has already been demonstrated for 145 kV gas-insulated substations (GIS), however, the aim is here to tackle the translation towards the highest voltage level for Europe, namely 420 kV, for which there is no solution currently available.
To achieve this goal, the project partners will develop successive pilots in order to prepare an integrated 420 kV SF6-free GIS solution for European transmission networks, with the support of Transmission System Operators (TSOs).