On June 5 (World Environment Day*), Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi Electric signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct a feasibility study on the joint development of high-voltage switching solutions with zero global-warming potential (GWP) that substitute greenhouse gases with clean air for insulation. Both companies will research methods for scaling up the application of clean-air insulation technology to higher voltages. They’ll start with a 245-kV dead-tank circuit breaker that will speed up the availability of climate-neutral high-voltage switching solutions for customers around the globe. Both partners will continue to manufacture, sell, and service switchgear solutions independently.
In most of the world’s substations, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – the most potent greenhouse gas in the world, with a potential for global warming roughly 23,500 times greater than CO2, – is still the insulating gas of choice. Even with a very low number of leakages, the impact on global warming is significant. In light of the drive toward global decarbonization, the demand for alternatives is growing as operators seek future-proof technologies that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of their systems. At the same time, regulations to reduce or prohibit the use of fluorinated gases in the electrical industry are being reviewed and implemented in various parts of the world.
Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi Electric are pioneers in the development of high-voltage switching solutions. Both companies have been working on the development of SF6-free gas-insulated switching solutions that replace the greenhouse gas with clean air, a pure mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, in order to contribute to global carbon-neutrality goals. To date, clean-air insulation is the only alternative to greenhouse gases and therefore poses zero health and safety risks. In conjunction with vacuum interrupters, a higher performance for switching applications is ensured, even compared with all known SF6 circuit breakers.
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