SF6: The “Perfect” Gas for the Utilities Industry


Our utility customers use SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other such equipment.

In the case of SF6 circuit breakers, they’re almost singularly taking the place of oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, due to the fear of their containing now-banned, environmentally hazardous polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are no longer favored.

The widespread use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is due to its having a dielectric strength considerably higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter another gas in wide use by our utilities industry customers).

One significant “side benefit” of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it enables the utilities industry to reduce the size of electrical gear. This makes it possible to place such gear in more-manageable indoor environments, rather than air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated gear placed indoors is, of course, less subject to the damages wrought by climate and pollution. What’s more, a controlled environment also helps ensure greater system dependability and longevity.

If for some reason you’re not yet familiar with SF6 and would like to know more about its advantages in utilities industry application, contact your local PurityPlus® Partner today.