World’s first greenhouse gas-free circuit breaker gets EU support

The European Commission has provided GE Renewable Energy with €2.2 million in funding to develop a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-free, 420 kiloVolt (kV) 63-kilo Amps (kA) gas-insulated substation (GIS) circuit-breaker.

The circuit breaker is the world’s first of its kind and has secured funding through the European Commission’s LIFE climate action programme.

The new circuit-breaker will rely on GE’s “Green Gas for Grid”—or “g3” (pronounced “g- cubed”)—technology, resulting in the same high performance and compact size as a traditional SF6-insulated circuit-breaker, but with a gas mass having more than a 99% reduced CO₂ equivalent value.

Upon completion in 2022, the gcircuit-breaker is expected to be the first SF6-free 420 kV gas-insulated substation circuit-breaker in the world and will be applied to all other high-voltage levels of Europe’s electrical networks.

“Our g3 technology is a game-changing alternative to SFfor high-voltage equipment and is part of GE’s broader efforts to help the electric transmission and distribution industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Vera Silva, Chief Technology Officer at GE’s Grid Solutions.

“This project is a great fit for our recent round of LIFE financial awards due to its potential impact on Europe’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future,” said Angelo Salsi, LIFE Programme Head of Unit at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). “The LIFE program is one of the most efficient and well known EU funding mechanisms that has supported nature, the environment and climate action for over 25 years. We look forward to the positive ripple effect this project will have across Europe over the next decade and beyond.”