Fluoride Action Network

Movers and Shakers

Source: The Parliament Magazine | March 11th, 2022 | By Nisa Khan
Location: European Union

This content was commissioned by Siemens Energy and produced by Dods

“With the electrification of our energy system, a rapid phase-out of SF6 is more urgent than ever. In my eyes, a ban on SF6 in switchgear is one of the key goals of the F-Gas Regulation Review”
MEP Bas Eickhout

While ENVI Committee colleague Jutta Paulus told The Parliament Magazine, “For reaching the EU’s climate goal, it is crucial that the Commission proposes a phase-out for all fluorinated gases as soon as possible, especially for those with the highest global warming potential and those with additional environmental damage. As sustainable alternatives for switchgear are available today, sulphur hexafluoride, which is the strongest known greenhouse gas, should be phased out completely.”

With the aim of the European Commission to phase out SF6 in power grids, the focus now shifts towards available alternatives to replace SF6 in switchgear. Currently two alternatives are on the market: one alternative replaces SF6 with the F-gas Fluoronitrile with a GWP of 2800. Fluoronitrile is also a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) which are currently under review for potential restriction due to their associated environmental and human health risks. The other alternative replaces SF6 with natural origin gases based on air (like N2, O2 and CO2) which have zero impact on the climate, the environment and human health with a GWP of <1.

What is the industry response?

Industry leaders have so far welcomed EU-level actions, with Masanori Osumi, General Manager of the Switchgear department at the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation T&D Systems Center, telling The Parliament Magazine, “The industry welcomes Europe taking a lead in reducing SF6 gas emissions to carbon neutrality – and the industry has been both proactive and passionate in the development of zero-emission switchgear products that use F-gas-free alternatives.”

However, they argue that more can be done such as establishing a regulatory environment that supports the phasing-out of SF6 and bans F-gas/PFAS alternatives in switchgear. Tim Holt, Member of the Executive Board at Siemens Energy, told The Parliament Magazine, “Shaping the energy transformation and grid technologies of tomorrow drives us to develop clean air technologies without compromising on performance, while improving operational safety. Today, the Review of the F-gas Regulation in Europe should set course for zero impact technologies in power equipment.”

“Shaping the energy transformation and grid technologies of tomorrow drives us to develop clean air technologies without compromising on performance, while improving operational safety”
Tim Holt, Siemens Energy

Last year, many of the world’s leading T&D companies, including Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi Electric, Schneider Electric, Toshiba, Nuventura, Iljin, Eaton, Siemens AG and Meidensha Corporation, signed a joint T&D statement committing themselves to delivering T&D equipment free of F-gases and PFAS that are needed to enable the transition. Soon after, leading AIS Instrument Transformers, Pfiffner and Trench also committed themselves to phase out F-gases to provide equipment with zero emission. These companies have already developed alternatives based on natural origin gases which are tried and tested technologies that are reliable and affordable with a GWP <1. The technology has already been in operation for more than ten years. It has lower maintenance cost and is safer than F-Gas/PFAS alternatives, with no health hazards nor risks to workers during operation. Siemens Energy is developing a complete portfolio of Clean Air Switchgear with GWP = 0.


In light of the availability of clean alternatives, industry leaders argue that the Review of the F-gas Regulation is an opportunity to set much higher emission reduction targets and ban all F-Gas/PFAS alternatives. Melton Chang, Senior Vice President of Medium Voltage Line of Business at Schneider Electric, told The Parliament Magazine, “For Europe to meet its environmental ambitions, now is the time for policy to move the power industry away from the use of greenhouse gases in electrical equipment. Technology suppliers have already innovated beyond F-gases and are ready to support this crucial transition to green and digital infrastructure, which desperately needs to speed up.”

Finally, it’s worth remembering that for every ton of F-gases still in use in our power grids by 2050, Europe will eventually have to pay for offset measures to reach climate neutrality. Therefore, this Review could be crucial in deciding whether Europe’s power grids will be climate neutral and toxic-free by 2050 by allowing for innovative and clean alternatives or if the power grid will keep depending on F-gases.

*Original article at the bottom of https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/news/article/an-fgas-free-future-in-power-grids