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GE Grid Solutions wins EU funding for SF6-free technology

Sep 16, 2022
Substations
Posted by Patrick Haddad

The European Commission’s LIFE climate action program has awarded GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business €3 million to fund the realization of a full SF6-free 245 kilovolts (kV) g3 gas-insulated substation (GIS) for onshore and offshore applications.

This third GE g3 gas project co-funding reflects the EU Commission’s commitment to accelerate the decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grids and prepare utilities for the EU’s stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulation, which aims to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030.

GE’s LIFE SF6-FREE GIS project addresses the urgent need for reducing the use of SF6, a powerful greenhouse gas currently prevalent in high voltage equipment, with GE’s game-changing g3 gas technology. g3 equipment features the same high performance and compact size as traditional SF6 products with a 99% reduced global warming potential.

“The 245 kV voltage is a key standard voltage level for the European high voltage grid,” explains Eric Chaussin, GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions High Voltage Products Leader. “Having SF6-free gas-insulated substations at 245 kV will be crucial to support the decarbonization of the high voltage grid,” Chaussin said.

“This new g3 245 kV GIS will play an important role in meeting demand for compact SF6-free substations in urban areas, as well as offshore projects, and enable the extension of the network and replacement of aging assets without this potent greenhouse gas,” he added.

Supporting this point, 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.

GE’s LIFE SF6-FREE GIS project also addresses digitalization, which is another key challenge for the European high voltage grid. The replacement of conventional instrument transformers by a digital solution will deliver significant raw material savings, mainly in terms of copper and steel usage. This will not only limit resource depletion but also further reduce the switchgear’s carbon footprint. The full benefits will be evidenced by a life cycle assessment (LCA) as part of the project.

Today, more than 30 leading electrical utilities have already adopted GE’s g3 products for their high voltage networks.  Their adoption has the effect of eliminating the potential addition of more than one million tons of CO₂ equivalent to the grid. That is equal to removing about 476,000 petrol cars from the road for one year.

Source and image: GE Grid Solutions

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