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Top 10 Global Innovations: Schneider Electric’s SF6-free Switchgear Wins ICEF Recognition

Rueil-Malmaison, France

14/10/2020

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  • The company received the recognition for its new SM AirSeT medium voltage switchgear, which uses pure air instead of the industry-standard SF6 greenhouse gas commonly used for grid and industrial electrical installations

Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, has been recognized by the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) for its new SM AirSeT switchgear, a green and digital medium voltage technology. The company’s innovation makes it possible to end reliance on the now-standard sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) greenhouse gas commonly contained in electrical equipment used to power the grid and industrial electrical installations.  

ICEF brings the world’s best minds together to solve the 21st century’s greatest environmental challenges through technological innovation. Its Top 10 Innovations highlights the most notable among recent innovative developments in energy and climate change mitigation.

“We are honored to be recognized among such excellent institutions as MIT and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for making great strides toward global decarbonization. With our new SF6-free switchgear technology that replaces a commonly used greenhouse gas with pure air, we’ve unlocked a key pathway for building far greener grids and eco-friendly industrial electricity systems. As an industry leader, our company is driven to fight global heating, so we are proud to bring new technologies that decarbonize electricity. We thank the ICEF for this meaningful recognition and share our gratitude for how they deliver on their important mission of facilitating global collaboration to solve environmental challenges,” said Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems and Services at Schneider Electric.

The SM AirSeT medium voltage switchgear uses pure air insulation combined with Schneider Electric’s new Shunt Vacuum Interruption (SVI)TM technology. It enables the adoption of green technology while maintaining or extending the advantages traditionally conferred by the SF6 gas.

Schneider Electric has reported successful pilot projects of its new SF6-free medium voltage switchgear at numerous electric utilities, including E.ON in Sweden, GreenAlp in France, and EEC Engie in New Caledonia, with more being energized on a regular basis, including in private power networks for commercial and industrial applications.

Earlier this year Schneider Electric’s new SM AirSeT switchgear was honored by Hannover Messe with the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award, which showcases companies’ outstanding commitment to investing in and applying energy-efficient solutions. In cooperation with the independent market research and consulting company EUPD Research, the award was conferred by Deutsche Messe at the Hannover Messe Digital Days. When choosing the recipient of the award, the jury considered its degree of innovation, contribution to efficiency, economic benefits, and social sustainability characteristics.

SM AirSeT was also nominated for another industrial prize awarded this year by Deutsche Messe, the HERMES Award, where it placed among the three finalists. These recognitions came on the heels of a previous prize: In May, Schneider Electric’s SM AirSeT technology was recognized for its design excellence by iF, the celebrated design institution, with an IF Design Award.

The company further emphasized the benefits of the numerous digital technologies that can equip their new switchgear. For example, sensors for condition monitoring can unlock predictive and preventive asset management strategies by feeding data to sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric’s robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform.

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