ABB Australia has developed a new patented technology for the comprehensive recycling of contaminated SF6 gas based on a new energy efficient cryogenic process.
Developed by an Australian team at ABB’s Moorebank, NSW facility, the new gas recycling technology will be implemented at a dedicated SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) gas recycling centre at Moorebank. With this implementation, Australia will be the first country in a global rollout of the new technology.
The new gas recycling technology delivers a purity of 99.99% in the recycled SF6 gas, exceeding the purity that can be achieved using traditional methods and removing the need for costly and energy-intensive gas destruction.
Using recycled SF6 gas will help reduce carbon emissions and result in a cost saving potential of up to 30%.
SF6 gas is extensively used in the electrical industry for dielectric insulation and current interruption in circuit breakers, switchgear and other electrical equipment. Pressurised SF6 gas is used for the safe and reliable operation of gas-insulated switchgear as it has a much higher dielectric strength than air or dry nitrogen, making it possible to significantly reduce product footprint and enable installation in constrained spaces.
SF6 gas however posed several challenges in its lifecycle management for utility and industrial users. Additionally, handling the gas in a compliant manner was expensive, particularly when decommissioning aging substations.
The new SF6 gas recycling technology developed by ABB will enable contaminated SF6 gas to be recycled into technical grade gas (according to IEC 60376 standards) for reuse using approved handling practices that do not allow the escape of SF6 gas into the atmosphere.
ABB’s services also cover monitoring to ensure compliance with changing local and international regulations and standards.
Axel Kuhr, country manager for ABB in Australia explains that the breakthrough technology actively supports a complete lifecycle management approach, improving asset optimisation and performance while reducing environmental impact cost-effectively.
The locally developed technology, he adds is a great example of Australia’s contribution to ABB’s global R&D program.