SF6 has been used for decades as an insulating and arc quenching gas in electrical power engineering due to its excellent electrical properties. It is mainly used in gas-insulated switchgear and devices such as circuit breakers and transformers for outdoor installation. Current switchgear and equipment based on SFtechnology are technically mature, safe and highly reliable.
However, the effects of SFon the climate are increasingly becoming the focus of political discussion. SFhas a high global warming potential and a slow degradation rate if entering atmosphere.
Experts in manufacturing and grid operation work together in VDE FNN on issues related to the technical applications and practical usage of SF-free alternatives, with the aim of achieving transparency and acceptance in the introduction of these new technologies. Manufacturers and users have jointly developed in VDE FNN a recommendation for transition periods to be taken into account in the revision of the EU F-Gas Regulation to ensure that alternative technologies can be introduced safely in gas-insulated electrical equipment.
Revision of the EU F-Gas Regulation is planned
The European Commission is preparing the revision of the Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (Regulation VO (EU) 517/2014). The transition to alternative technologies is being sought due to the high Global Warming Potential (GWP) of SF and the availability of alternative technical solutions. Various studies and reports are available on this (see links on the Downloads + Links section).
The amendment of the EU F-Gas Regulation should provide a gradual transition to the new systems with appropriate transition periods.
Appropriate transition periods should be considered
VDE FNN has drawn up a recommendation on the design of transition periods.
The transition period refers to the period from the start of validity of a revised EU F-Gas Regulation until the entry into force of measures significantly restricting the use of new SF-insulated equipment. The transition period is intended to include the steps required by both manufacturers and users to develop and introduce new gas-insulated technologies. These transition periods were evaluated for various application cases. Existing synergies between manufacturers and users can be utilized to shorten transition periods through an Integration of the implementation steps.
For example, the transition to SF-free installations in the primary distribution level up to 24 kV is possible by the end of 2027, if a new EU F-Gas Regulation applied from the beginning of 2023.