LIFE GRID - Greenhouse gas Reduction process via an Innovative high voltage circuit breaker Development

LIFE18 CCM/FR/001096

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Contact details:

Contact person: Yannick KIEFFEL
Tel: 33680874395
Email: yannick.kieffel@ge.com

Project description:


SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) has properties that make it an excellent insulator and switching medium for high-voltage switchgears and other high voltage electrical applications. However, SF6 is also an extremely powerful greenhouse gas (GHG): it has a 23 500 times higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2) and a half-life of 3 200 years. Although the contribution of SF6 to the overall GHG effect is less than 1%, every source of SF6 emission has a disproportionally large impact. The beneficiary, Grid Solutions, has demonstrated the feasibility of SF6-free technology for electrical switchgears for three types of high-voltage equipment, solutions that are commercially in operation in several European countries. To fulfil the EU's climate goals, the use of potent GHGmust be prevented. Elimination of SF6 from current use in the industry is therefore reflected in the EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014).

The concrete goals of the regulation are to:

  • limit the total amount of the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU from 2015 onwards, in order to phase out one-fifth of 2009-2012 sales by 2030, and to drive research and industry towards investment in alternatives;
  • ban the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment; and
  • prevent emissions of F-gases from existing equipment by proper monitoring, staff certification and recovery at the equipment's end-of-life.

Moreover, the Regulation has a provision for reviewing the situation in 2020, based on the availability of economically-viable alternatives.


The objective of the LIFE GRID project is to replace SF6 in High Voltage Circuit Breakers (HVCB) with an environmental-friendly alternative called g3. The technical feasibility has already been demonstrated for 145 kV gas-insulated substations (GIS), however, the aim is here to tackle the translation towards the highest voltage level for Europe, namely 420 kV, for which there is no solution currently available.

To achieve this goal, the project partners will develop successive pilots in order to prepare an integrated 420 kV SF6-free GIS solution for European transmission networks, with the support of Transmission System Operators (TSOs).


Expected results:

  • realisation of pilot 420 kV/63 kA High Voltage Circuit Breakers (HVCB) at General Electric facilities: o in-depth integration assessment of 20 pilot SF6-free HVCB to ensure performance is in line with TSO requirements; o for every HVCB used, an average of 81 tons CO2 eq. could be saved for the manufacturing and assembly, (1 620 tons CO2 eq. in total) and an average of 25 kg that will not be released into the atmosphere per leakage during the equipment life span (approximately 500 kg).
  • replication to other types of components for 420 kV; and
  • set-up a pilot to prepare the implementation of an integrated 420 kV SF6-free GIS solution on European transmission networks with the support of TSOs.


Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Electric - Electronics - Optical
Climate change Mitigation - GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors


greenhouse gas‚  electrical industry‚  alternative technology‚  climate change mitigation

Target EU Legislation

  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • Regulation 517/2014 - Fluorinated greenhouse gases (16.04.2014)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Grid Solutions SAS


Project reference LIFE18 CCM/FR/001096
Duration 01-JUL-2019 to 31-JAN -2022
Total budget 4,045,641.00 €
EU contribution 2,225,102.00 €
Project location


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