Interview with Joël Ozil


Who are you and what is your role in the company?  

My name is Joël Ozil, I am the head of the circuit breaker and GIS research department of Grid Solutions’ research center located in Villeurbanne, France. I have been with GE for more than 25 years. I held several positions: as a research engineer or as leader of the Dead Tank development. My role today is to lead the research team for the development of the High Voltage Switchgear without SF6


How did you come to work in the Life SF6-free HV Breaker project? 

GE Grid Solutions aims to reduce the environmental impact of its products. With our new game-changing gas named g3, we had the ambition to renew our portfolio. And so, together with our teams, we started the LIFE SF6-FREE HV BREAKER project one year ago. We develop a g3 live tank circuit breaker supported financially by the LIFE Programme of the European Union. 


What is your role in the project? 

I am the project manager. My role is to coordinate all actions. Of course, each action is led by a specific leader such as for the circuit breaker optimization, the replicability of our technology, the cooperation with TSO or even communication. Not to forget the life-cycle analysis, or LCA, to measure the positive impact of our future GL314g circuit breaker. My role is also to report the results and progress to the LIFE Programme of the European Union, and of course to ensure that the project achieves its objectives. 


What is the most motivating thing in the project? 

Our motivation is clear. We can reduce the gas contribution to global warming by 99% with our future Live Tank 245 kV using GE’s g³ gas instead of SF₆. Let us not forget that Live Tank is the most commonly used circuit breaker in the world! Look at some figures: Some 4,000 circuit breakers at voltage levels between 245 kV and 550 kV are installed worldwide each year. We can therefore have a significant and positive environmental impact by spreading our new g3 solution. 


What are the biggest challenges of the project? 

The challenge here is to successfully develop a g3 245 kV Live Tank circuit breaker achieving the same performance as the SF6 one without using more raw material than the older generation. 


What are the most important assets of the project? 

This LIFE SF6-FREE HV BREAKER project follows the LifeGRID project. This first LIFE project dealt with the development of a gas-insulated substation circuit breaker. As we achieved successfully this development last year, we can take advantage of the LifeGRID project. But I think that the biggest asset of this project is the customer involvement. We have the support of three Transmission System Operators: RTE in France, Energinet in Denmark and Red Eléctrica in Spain. Their contribution into the circuit breaker specification helps us meet the expectations of the European TSOs and the European grid codes.


A last word about this LIFE project? 

With this LIFE SF6-FREE HV BREAKER project, GE Grid Solutions develops the new generation of GL314g 245 kV Live Tank circuit breakers with g3 technology for a more sustainable world and I feel grateful to be part of this journey.