Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd. and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions Business announced a non-exclusive, cross-licensing agreement related to the use of an alternative gas to sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) used in high voltage equipment in the electrical transmission industry. This fluoronitrile-based gas mixture has a significantly reduced impact on the environment compared to SF6.
Under this agreement, both companies will share complementary intellectual property related to their respective SF6-free solutions. This will help accelerate the use of fluoronitrile-based eco-efficient insulation and switching gas in high-voltage equipment as an alternative to SF6. A recent EU Commission report concluded that fluoronitrile-based gas mixtures may be the only insulating and switching gas alternative to SF6 when space is a constraint.
This agreement paves the way for a standard SF6-free solution for high-voltage equipment in the coming years. This would enable utilities and industries to accelerate their reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while facilitating their ability to plan, as well as operate and maintain their networks thanks to standardized services and use of the same auxiliary equipment.
For almost half a century, SF6 gas has been the norm in the electrical power transmission and distribution industry due to its unique physical properties. It is, however, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming if leaked. For this reason, Hitachi ABB Power Grids and GE have been investing in the development of better alternatives to SF6. The two companies will keep the product development, manufacturing, sales, marketing and service activities of their gas solutions fully independent. Each company will continue to independently grant and set terms of licenses to its respective intellectual property, hence preserving supplier base diversity for the industry and fair competition.