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Hitachi Energy welcomes the provisional agreement on the new F-gas regulation announced by the European Council and the European Parliament on October 5. It provides guidance on the path away from sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas contributing 0.2 percent to global warming1, which is used in the power grid due to its insulation properties that allow equipment to be compact.
The agreement affirms the need to reduce F-gas emissions and ensures at the same time that high-voltage substations will remain safe, reliable, and compact.
It mandates a phase-out of SF6 in new high-voltage switchgear, up to 145 kilovolts, by 2028 and for higher voltage levels by 2032. Afterward, where there are no specific constraints, gas insulation should have minimal global warming potential, which implies using natural gases, such as nitrogen, oxygen, or carbon dioxide.
Within high-voltage, the agreement allows for the use of eco-efficient gas mixtures, typically comprising 3-5 percent of an F-gas, to fulfill specifications for technical performance or if space is limited. In addition, it considers the overall carbon footprint of a product over its complete lifetime, factoring, for example, a lesser use of raw materials.
In its pursuit to accelerate decarbonization, Hitachi Energy has recently delivered SF6-free switchgear for 420 kV and will continue developing a complete product portfolio free of SF6 at all voltage levels. This portfolio minimizes carbon footprint without compromising safety, reliability, or size.
1 Simmonds et al., The increasing atmospheric burden of the greenhouse gas sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (2020)