An earlier life cycle assessment (LCA)1 on high-voltage (110kV to 380kV) switchgear had demonstrated clear advantages from SF6insulation technology in a power supply network This assessment was taking into account present practices of minimising leakage and handling losses and of recycling consistently SF6. This showed that the focus on the global warming potential (GWP) of SF6(LINK) is misleading and that a global approach is necessary to fully appraise the total environmental benefits of SF6 in the systems in which it is used. However, in medium-voltage (MV) applications this global performance of SF6 still needed to be demonstrated. Therefore, a LCA study was commissioned by a group of companies (equipment manufacturers, grid operators, producer) and subject to critical and independent peer-review.
The study covers MV (between 1 and 30kV) switchgear used in systems including transformer substations, ring-main units, consumer substations. Again and despite a high GWP, SF6 was shown to be environmentally preferable to alternative technologies. The results confirm also the need of a “system approach” to adequately evaluate the performance in such applications. Contact for more information about this document
Gas insulated switchgears (GIS) using SF6 as an arc quenching and insulation medium provide considerable environmental advantages over air insulated switchgear (AIS) as clearly shown in a Life Cycle Assessment taking into account the complete chain including primary energy consumption, area requirement and contribution to global warming.
Power supply fulfills an essential role in our economy. But what about the contribution of electricity distribution grids to Germany’s greenhouse gas emission burden? This new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study investigates the environmental profile of medium-voltage equipment, with a comparison between air-insulated and SF6-insulated switchgear.
Preisegger, Duerschner, Klotz, Koenig, Kraehling, Neumann, Zahn “Life Cycle Assessment – Electricity Supply Using SF6 Technology”, IPCC workshop, Noordwijkerhout, September 1999