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Hitachi Energy and National Grid have successfully energized a pilot project replacing SF6 in installed high-voltage gas-insulated lines with an eco-efficient fluoronitrile based gas mixture. This retrofill solution, in Richborough, UK is part of Hitachi Energy’s EconiQTM portfolio which is designed to deliver a superior environmental performance compared to conventional solutions.
As one of the world’s largest investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities, National Grid has the ambition to remove all SF6 from its fleet by 2050. In this pioneering project, National Grid has replaced SF6 from 420-kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated lines installed in 2016, eliminating 755 kilograms of SF6. This is equivalent to taking approximately 100 passenger cars1 off the road.
For decades, SF6 has been used in the electrical industry due to its excellent insulation and current interruption properties. However, it has a high Global Warming Potential (GWP) and requires careful handling. Hitachi Energy is continuously reducing the use of SF6, improving its lifecycle management, and accelerating the development of eco-efficient products.
“We have a responsibility to help our customers like National Grid to accelerate the energy transition,” said Markus Heimbach, Managing Director of High Voltage Products business in Hitachi Energy. “Innovative EconiQ retrofill technology for installed gas-insulated lines along with the new EconiQ switchgear and breakers portfolio will enable our customers and the industry as a whole to reduce carbon footprint and rapidly transition to eco-efficient solutions.”
“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and this new transformational green technology will help achieve wide-scale decarbonisation on our electricity transmission network. The retrofill solution replaces SF6, cutting emissions and network outages at the same time as saving costs by avoiding the need to spend on costly replacement equipment”, said Chris Bennett, Acting President of National Grid. “We are proud to be working with Hitachi Energy, and to demonstrate a practical solution to a significant issue in the energy industry’s transition to net zero.”
EconiQ is Hitachi Energy’s eco-efficient portfolio for sustainability, where products, services and solutions are proven to deliver exceptional environmental performance. Recently, the company announced the acceleration of its development of eco-efficient solutions, outlining its extensive EconiQ roadmap of switchgear and breakers in various voltage levels. Hitachi Energy has placed sustainability at the heart of its Purpose and is advancing a sustainable energy future for all.
1. Based on the assumption that a car emits 19 kg CO2 equivalent per 100 km, drives 10,000 km per year, and an estimated leakage rate of 1 % per year for gas-insulated lines
2. Retrofill is the process of replacing SF6 in an existing equipment with a new eco-efficient gas mixture to improve the environmental and life-cycle performance of the equipment.
Hitachi Energy is a global technology leader that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all. We serve customers in the utility, industry and infrastructure sectors with innovative solutions and services across the value chain. Together with customers and partners, we pioneer technologies and enable the digital transformation required to accelerate the energy transition towards a carbon-neutral future. We are advancing the world’s energy system to become more sustainable, flexible and secure whilst balancing social, environmental and economic value. Hitachi Energy has a proven track record and unparalleled installed base in more than 140 countries. Headquartered in Switzerland, we employ around 38,000 people in 90 countries and generate business volumes of approximately $10 billion USD.