Photo by GE Grid Solutions

GE Reveals Sulfur Hexafluoride-Free Circuit Breaker for Gas-Insulated Substations

March 30, 2022
The g³ circuit-breaker was presented to a group of transmission utilities from across Europe

GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions unveiled its 420 kV, 63 kA g³ gas-insulated substation (GIS) circuit-breaker prototype.

The g³ circuit-breaker was presented to a group of transmission utilities from across Europe, at a recent virtual roundtable event.

The performance achieved by the prototype means that the industry will soon have a viable SF6-free alternative for high voltage products. GE’s 420 kV fully g³ gas-insulated substation (GIS), which includes the g³ circuit-breaker, is expected to be commercially available in 2023.

A circuit-breaker is protective equipment that is critical to any substation and mainly used to cut or redirect power through another path if there is a problem on the electrical grid. This new circuit-breaker relies on GE’s g³ (pronounced “g”-cubed) gas-insulating and switching technology. g³ technology allows GE to build electrical equipment with the same high performance and compact size as traditional SF6 products, along with a gas CO₂ equivalent impact reduced by 99%.

To develop the 420 kV g³ circuit-breaker, GE’s LifeGRID project received funding from the European Union under the European Commission's LIFE Programme. GE’s Grid Solutions’ research and development experts collaborated with several European partners on the project, including SSEN Transmission, who contracted with GE in December 2020 to install the world’s first 420 kV g3 GIS featuring the g3 circuit-breaker, at its Kintore substation in Scotland.

Today, more than 30 electrical utilities from 12 European countries and South Korea 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 half a million petrol cars from the road for one year.

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