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New SF6-Free Medium-Voltage Switching Technology

GreenAlp Pilots New SF6-Free Medium-Voltage Switching Technology from Schneider Electric

• The electric distribution network operator in Grenoble, France, has become first French user of Schneider’s new SF6-free switching technology.
• The new switchgear technology uses pure air insulation and vacuum interruption to eliminate the use of greenhouse gas SF6.


Paris, France, November 12, 2019 –Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has announced a new pilot project with GreenAlp, the electric distribution network operator in Grenoble, France.

GreenAlp is piloting Schneider Electric’s new SF6-free medium voltage switchgear, which was first unveiled in June at CIRED 2019 (the International Conference and Exhibition on Electricity Distribution).

Instead of using SF6—a greenhouse gas long relied upon for use in electrical equipment—the medium voltage switchgear of the future uses Schneider’s new shunt vacuum interruption technology and pure air insulation. Schneider Electric’s upcoming SF6-free offers are based on three of the company’s most popular product ranges for primary and secondary electrical distribution: SM6, RM6, and GHA. GreenAlp is piloting the new SF6-free version of SM6 in a new building belonging to an eco-district in Grenoble, the “Capital of the Alps.”

Innovation in the heart of the Alps
“It’s in our DNA to be innovative and innovative with others,” said Sébastien Julien, Director of Network Operations at GreenAlp. “The impact of global warming is the major issue of the 21st century, and we are committed to preserving the environment for future generations.”

“What impressed me most about Schneider Electric's new medium-voltage solution is that it accounts for the constraints of a distribution network manager, for example the size and the footprint of existing equipment, while completely replacing SF6 with air,” said Julien.

Air is the best gas
"At Schneider Electric, we believe the best gas is air,” said Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric. “We are delighted that GreenAlp has chosen to pilot our new SF6-free switchgear of the future. It’s a great fit because GreenAlp embodies a sustainability focus and forward-thinking perspective that’s crucial to tackle the climate emergency head-on.”

Schneider Electric is also working closely with other players in the utility and commercial/industrial building sectors, such as E.ON in Sweden, where its new SF6-free switching technology is operational today.

“We’ve developed these upcoming products because they provide a huge leap forward in sustainability, set new benchmarks for superior health and safety, and provide powerful digital technology. Our new SF6-free technology represents an ideal alternative to today’s status quo,” said Godemel.

The company underlined that their new SF6-free medium voltage switching technology achieves a level of cost efficiency that is crucial for the industry and vital for the widespread adoption of more sustainable equipment in the field.

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.

“With Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure solution, we are looking into the question of how to make tomorrow's distribution management possible: A sensor layer on the equipment, which gives us information on temperature, humidity, and flooding,” said Julien. “An ability to trace this information, an opportunity to analyze and leverage the data for asset management. For us it is the revolution of our work to change the way we carry out maintenance, to carry out our mission.”
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