Abatement cost of SF6 emissions from medium voltage switchgear

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is a gas with applications including use as an insulator and switching medium in medium voltage (MV) switchgear. While having certain unique properties, it is also a greenhouse gas, with a 22,800 times greater impact than CO2 and an atmospheric lifetime of over 3,000 years. Although the use of SF6 in MV switchgear can be avoided, according to recent studies for the European Commission by Öko-Recherche et al. the abatement costs are high. This study validates the calculated cost levels as well as the general feasibility of determining a fixed cost figure for this purpose.

This analysis yields a result which differs from the earlier studies, particularly with respect to the cost aspect, but also in other areas. CE Delft concludes that for the majority of applications cost-effective SF6-free options are available, leading to abatement costs for the use of SF6 in MV switchgear that range from – 40 to 0 €/tCO2 eq., for all types of switchgear, with voltage levels below 25 kV and situated on relatively dry locations.