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Article

Replacing SF6 in Electrical Gas-Insulated Switchgear: Technological Alternatives and Potential Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Savings in an EU-28 Perspective

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Intelligence in Processes, Advanced Catalysts & Solvents (iPRACS), Faculty of Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
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Energy and Materials in Infrastructure and Buildings (EMIB), Faculty of Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
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Department of Engineering Management, Faculty of Business & Economics, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(7), 1807; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071807
Received: 17 February 2020 / Revised: 26 March 2020 / Accepted: 30 March 2020 / Published: 8 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Energy and Environment)
To date, atmospheric concentrations of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are the most potent among the greenhouse gases identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and are still rising. In the EU-28, SF6 has been banned from several applications, however, an important exception is gas-insulated electrical switchgear (GIS) for which cost-effective and environmentally sound alternatives were unavailable when the F-Gas regulation was last revised in 2014. To date, after some recent innovations, we argue that the phasing out of SF6 could spur the accelerated development of alternatives with a lower carbon footprint. In the EU-28, the SF6 amount in switchgear is unclear. In this paper, we estimated the SF6 amount to be between 10,800 and 24,700 t (with a mode at 12,700 t) in 2017, resulting in 68 to 140 t of annual emissions from operational leakage only, corresponding to 1.6 to 3.3 Mt of CO2-eq. We additionally calculated the potential greenhouse gas savings over the lifecycle of one exemplary 145 kV gas-insulated switchgear bay upon replacing SF6 by decafluoro-2-methylbutan-3-one (C5-FK) and heptafluoro-2-methylpropanenitrile (C4-FN) mixtures. Projecting these results over the EU-28, a phase-out scenario starting from 2020 onwards could reduce the carbon footprint by a median of 14 Mt of CO2-eq, over a period of 50 years. Extrapolation to medium voltage could be assumed to be of a similar magnitude. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon footprint assessment; electrical switchgear; sulfur hexafluoride; phase-out; transmission; distribution carbon footprint assessment; electrical switchgear; sulfur hexafluoride; phase-out; transmission; distribution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Billen, P.; Maes, B.; Larrain, M.; Braet, J. Replacing SF6 in Electrical Gas-Insulated Switchgear: Technological Alternatives and Potential Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Savings in an EU-28 Perspective. Energies 2020, 13, 1807. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071807

AMA Style

Billen P, Maes B, Larrain M, Braet J. Replacing SF6 in Electrical Gas-Insulated Switchgear: Technological Alternatives and Potential Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Savings in an EU-28 Perspective. Energies. 2020; 13(7):1807. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071807

Chicago/Turabian Style

Billen, Pieter, Ben Maes, Macarena Larrain, and Johan Braet. 2020. "Replacing SF6 in Electrical Gas-Insulated Switchgear: Technological Alternatives and Potential Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Savings in an EU-28 Perspective" Energies 13, no. 7: 1807. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071807

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