Regulatory aspects of Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

F-gas regulation impact on manufacturers and users of SF6-electric power equipment

In the F-Gas Regulation, SF6 is considered in some of the articles only. The use of SF6 in electric power equipment is permitted. A number of measures required of manufacturers and users have to be implemented. Relevant articles for SF6 electric power equipment are listed :

Article 2 "Definitions" - Meaning for SF6-handling
  • Recovery : Collection and storage, means in practice : taking out SF6 from equipment and putting it into a container
  • Recycling : Reuse of recovered SF6 means in practice : recycling of SF6 on site
  • Reclamation : Reprocessing of recovered SF6 means in practice : used SF6 is reprocessed (for ex in an SF6-production plant), consistent with existing IEC practices*
  • Destruction : Transformation or destruction means in practice : burning SF6
Article 4 "Recovery" : Recovery only by certified staff

The optimized gas recovery requires “State of the Art” equipment


For individual activities, a certificate is necessary.
SF6-handling processes are described -based on IEC 62271-303 (2008) (and CIGRÉ No 276/2005 SF6-handling, IEEE P1712/D1 guide for SF6-handling)

For the processing and handling, NO Certificate is necessary


A certificate is necessary, either for one’s own staff, or by contracting OEM or service companies with certified personal

SF6-handling at high voltage switchgear : maintenance, service, end-of-life of equipment

Article 5 "Training and certification" : Following (EC) 305/2008 on definitions, minimum requirement on certification of staff

Minimum requirements have to be known by technicians, and must be tested by an evaluation body


  • theoretical test with one or more questions testing that skill or knowledge
    practical test where the applicant shall perform the corresponding task with the relevant material, tools and equipment
Minimum knowledge and skills Test Type
1 for instance IEC 60376 and IEC 60480
1 Basic Knwoledge of relevent environmental issues ( climate change, Kuoto Protocol, Global Warming Potential), the relevant provisions of Regulation (EC) N° 842/2006 and of the relevant Regulations Implenting provisions of Regulation (EC) N° 842/2006 T
2 Physical, chemical and environmental characteristics of SF6 T
3 Use of SF6 in electric power equipment (insulation, arc quenching) T
4 SF6 quality, according to the relevant industrial standards1 T
5 Understanding of the design of electric power equipment T
6 Checking the SF6 quality P
7 Recovery of SF6 and SF6 mixtures and purification of SF6 P
8 Storage and transportation of SF6 T
9 Operation of SF6 recovery equipment P
10 Operation of tight drilling systems if necessary P
11 Re-use of SF6 and different re-use categories T
12 Working on open SF6 compartments P
13 Neutralising SF6 by-products T
14 Monitoring of SF6 and appropriate data recording obligations under natonial or Community legislation, or international agreements T
Article 6 "Reporting" following (EC) 1493/2007 on definitions, format of reporting

For utilities it is usually not relevant.

The reporting is a must to do in case of SF6 > 1 t in container or bottles, for Import from outside the EU, or Export outside the EU.

The reporting is not necessary for internal EU transfers, for SF6 in equipment or for quantities < 1 t per year and company.

In some countries additional voluntary commitments regarding reporting exist.

Article 7 „Labelling" following (EC) 1494/2007 on definitions, form of labels

Standards required SF6-weight already in the past (weight of gas according to IEEE C37.122 or IEC 62271-203). An additional label is required “contains the fluorinated greenhouse gas SF6 covered by the Kyoto Protocol”

The instruction manual must also contain a specific note worded “This equipment contains the fluorinated greenhouse gas SF6covered by the Kyoto Protocol and with a global warming potential (GWP) 22 200. SF6 shall be recovered and not released into the atmosphere. For further information on use and handling of SF6 please refer to IEC 62271-303: High-voltage switchgear and control gear -Part 303 Use and handling of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)”