SF6: The Perfect Gas for the Western Michigan Utilities Industry


GTW seen as a prime provider of dielectric gases – also called insulating gases – for the Western Michigan electrical utilities industry. Gases of this type are employed primarily to either prevent or quickly extinguish electrical discharges, for which their dielectric attributes make them perfect. The most notable of these gases and the one most sought from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities work with SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other such devices.

Where SF6 circuit breakers are concerned, they’re generally swapping out oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, because of the fear of their containing now-banned, environmentally toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have fallen out of favor.

The extensive use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is because of its having a dielectric strength significantly higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter one more gas used extensively by our utilities industry customers).

One important “side benefit” of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it lets the utilities industry shrink the size of electrical gear. This, in turn, allows installing such gear in more-practicable indoor environments, as opposed to air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated gear placed indoors is, of course, less likely to be affected by climate and pollution. Besides that, a more-governable environment also helps insure greater system trustworthiness and longevity.

If for any reason you’ve never used SF6 and would like to know more about its benefits in utilities industry application, contact GTW, your Western Michigan PurityPlus® Partner, today.