EE Supports GE's Development of a 245 KV G3 Circuit-Breaker
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This news is classified in: Sustainable Energy Smart Grids

Jul 22, 2021

EE Supports GE's Development of a 245 KV G3 Circuit-Breaker to Accelerate Decarbonization of EU's Electrical Grid

  • EU's LIFE program recognizes potential of GE Renewable Energy's g3 insulating and switching gas as an alternative to sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) to help significantly cut global greenhouse gas emissions
  • This is the second GE g3 gas project to be co-funded by the EU within two years
  • New g3 gas 245 kV circuit-breaker will be scalable to other high-voltage levels across Europe's electrical grids and help utilities get ready for stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulations

GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE-GE) has been awarded €2.5 million through the European Commission’s LIFE  climate action program to help fund the development of a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)1-free 245 kilovolts (kV) g³ live tank circuit-breaker2. The new circuit-breaker will rely on GE’s industry-leading g3 (pronounced “g”- cubed) gas technology to deliver the same high performance and compact dimensional footprint as a traditional SF6 circuit-breaker.  

The co-funding reflects the EU’s commitment to accelerate the decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grids and help them get ready for the EU’s stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulation, which aims to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030. GE’s g³ gas is a game-changing alternative to SF6 - a potent greenhouse gas - with a global warming potential (GWP) that is about 99% less compared to SF6.

The new GE air-insulated 245 kV g3 live tank circuit-breaker, which will be based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, is the second g3 gas project co-funded by the EU. In 2019, GE received funding for a g3 gas-insulated 420 kV circuit-breaker, also as part of the EU LIFE Program.

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“The EU’s co-funding of a g3 245 kV live tank circuit-breaker will help demonstrate the applicability of GE’s g3 gas for this commonly used voltage level by transmission operators around the world, as well as outdoor applications down to -30°C,” said Vera Silva, Chief Technology Officer at GE’s Grid Solutions. “The new g3 245 kV live tank circuit-breakers, once ramped up together with  420 kV voltage level, will help avoid the addition of some 52,000 tons of CO2 equivalent annually on to the European grid alone and more – as we expect other continents to adopt our g3 gas technology.”

GE’s Grid Solutions teams will work with several European partners on this second EU-funded g³ gas project, including Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, which will build a scientific database of g³ gas properties. Industrial partners will help optimize the environmental impact of the new circuit-breaker throughout its entire life cycle.

A recent EU Commission report concluded that fluoronitrile-based gas mixtures – such as g3 gas - may be the only insulating and switching gas alternative to SF6 when space is a constraint, such as in urban areas. That’s because fluoronitrile-based gas products feature the same compactness and performance as traditional SF6 equipment, unlike other SF6-free solutions.

Today, 25 leading electrical utilities have already adopted GE’s g3 products for their high voltage networks, avoiding the addition of more than a million tons of CO2 equivalent to the grid. That’s the equivalent of removing about 476,000 petrol cars from the road for one year.

GE’s g3 gas-insulated products are currently available for live-tank circuit-breakers and gas-insulated substations (GIS) up to 145 kV, as well as gas-insulated lines (GIL) up to 420 kV.

General Electric (GE)