EU Commission supports GE’s development of a 245 kV g³ circuit-breaker to accelerate decarbonization of Europe’s electrical grid

  • EU’s LIFE program recognizes potential of GE Renewable Energy’s g³ insulating and switching gas as an alternative to sulfur hexafluoride (SF) to help significantly cut global greenhouse gas emissions 
  • This is the second GE g³ gas project to be co-funded by the EU within two years 
  • New g³ gas 245 kV circuit-breaker will be scalable to other high-voltage levels across Europe’s electrical grids and help utilities get ready for stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulations 

Paris, FRANCE – July 22, 2021 - GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE-GE) has been awarded €2.5 million through the European Commission’s LIFE climate action program to help fund the development of a sulfur hexafluoride (SF)¹-free 245 kilovolts (kV) g³ live tank circuit-breaker². The new circuit-breaker will rely on GE’s industry-leading g³ (pronounced “g”- cubed) gas technology to 

deliver the same high performance and compact dimensional footprint as a traditional SF circuit-breaker. 

The co-funding reflects the EU’s commitment to accelerate the decarbonization of Europe’s 

electrical grids and help them get ready for the EU’s stricter fluorinated (F)-gas regulation, which aims to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030. GE’s g³ gas is a game-changing alternative to SF – a potent greenhouse gas – with a global warming potential (GWP) that is about 99% less compared to SF. 

The new GE air-insulated 245 kV g³ live tank circuit-breaker, which will be based on International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, is the second g³ gas project co-funded by the EU. In 2019, GE received funding for a g³ gas-insulated 420 kV circuit-breaker, also as part of the EU LIFE Program. 

“The EU’s co-funding of a g³ 245 kV live tank circuit-breaker will help demonstrate the applicability of GE’s g³ gas for this commonly used voltage level by transmission operators around the world, as well as outdoor applications down to -30°C,” said Vera Silva, Chief Technology Officer at GE’s Grid Solutions. “The new g³ 245 kV live tank circuit-breakers, once ramped up together with 420 kV voltage level, will help avoid the addition of some 52,000 tons of CO equivalent annually on to the European grid alone and more – as we expect other continents to adopt our g³ gas technology.” 

GE’s Grid Solutions teams will work with several European partners on this second EU-funded g³ gas project, including Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, which will build a scientific database of g³ gas properties. Industrial partners will help optimize the environmental impact of the new circuit-breaker throughout its entire life cycle. 

A recent EU Commission report concluded that fluoronitrile-based gas mixtures – such as g³ gas – may be the only insulating and switching gas alternative to SF when space is a constraint, such as in urban areas. That’s because fluoronitrile-based gas products feature the same compactness and performance as traditional SF equipment, unlike other SF-free solutions. 

Today, 25 leading electrical utilities have already adopted GE’s g³ products for their high voltage networks, avoiding the addition of more than a million tons of CO equivalent to the grid. That’s the equivalent of removing about 476,000 petrol cars from the road for one year. 

GE’s g³ gas-insulated products are currently available for live-tank circuit-breakers and gas-insulated substations (GIS) up to 145 kV, as well as gas-insulated lines (GIL) up to 420 kV. 

For more information on GE’s high-voltage g³ substation equipment and product roadmap, visit our website.