National Grid introduces tech to fix leaks of greenhouse gas SF6

The solution is designed to futureproof key energy infrastructure against potential outages

National Grid has started using technology developed to fix leaks of greenhouse gas SF6 while keeping its substations safely in service.

SF6 is an insulating gas commonly used in high-voltage electricity equipment to prevent short circuits and ensure networks remain safe.

Engineering technology company Rawwater had developed technology designed to seal flowing leaks, avoiding the need for planned outages.

The technology involves easy application of a mould to leaking pipework, into which a low-melting point liquid alloy is injected.

The solution has been successfully used for repairs at Dinorwig and Sizewell substations and National Grid is exploring using it for repairs at its Stella West substation.

The company aims to eliminate SF6 from its infrastructure by 2050.

Nicola Todd, Head of Strategy and Innovation at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We have a programme of work underway to reduce our dependency on SF6 technology in England and Wales, but initiatives like this innovation project with Rawwater are critical in mitigating its impact in the meantime.”

Kat Lennox, Managing Director of Rawwater Applied Technology, said: “Even though the phase-out of SF6 is planned around the world, it will be many years before this highly insulating greenhouse gas is eradicated completely from electricity supply networks.

“Until that day, a rapidly deployable solution is required to seal or mitigate SF6 leaks.”

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