Schneider Electric supplies Renault with SF6 free equipment

SF6-free AirSet equipment will be supplier to eliminate greenhouse gas from medium-voltage switchgear at Renault’s Flins Refactory

Schneider Electric, the global provider of digital transformation solutions for energy management and industrial automation, has said that it will supply Renault Group with SF6 free AirSeT equipment, which is a solution that aims to eliminate the greenhouse gas SF6 from its medium-voltage switchgear at the group’s Flins Refactory in France.


Energy management, industrial automation and sustainable energy

Renault Group said that it is aiming for a negative carbon balance at Refactory by 2030, and to become fully carbon neutral in Europe by 2040. In order to meet this target, the group said it will deploy innovative solutions to eliminate the greenhouse gas from its medium-voltage switchgear at the Flins factory. 

Schneider Electric’s SM AirSet MV switchgear is a sustainable equipment that uses pure air and vacuum interruption technology instead of sulfur hexafloride (SF6). The gas is commonly used in electric distribution equipment but is 25,200 times stronger than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming potential. 

It is increasingly becoming the subject of climate-focused regulations and has been listed in the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty committing UN parties to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“In the fight against climate change, moving away from F-gases is imperative to accelerate decarbonisation,” commented Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric. “Green energy is about much more than renewable energy generation and efficient energy consumption. SM AirSeT fits in the crucial space in between, where significant environmental improvements are to be made.”

Green and Digital in Design

Eliminating SF6 and replacing it with pure air offers the immediate benefit of removing a potent greenhouse gas from the equation (Scope 4), but it also simplifies the installation, dismantling, and recycling of equipment while limiting costs, Schneider Electric added. 

Built with circularity in mind, the technology’s reinforced design is used in combination with digital features to extend the switchgear’s operational life by over 30%. 

The solution’s connected, digital capabilities also address Refactory’s wider concerns of:

  • Cybersecurity 
  • Power reliability 
  • Maintenance 

AirSeT provides a solution for these three issues, the statement said. 

“The MV switchgear is cybersecure and has integrated smart sensors that bring 24/7 connectivity. This allows Renault Group to remotely monitor the Refactory’s MV switchgear operations for condition-based maintenance and increased safety. The sensors’ data is fed to Refactory’s local field tools/apps and to sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric’s robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform,” the company explained.

The technology is designed for secondary electrical distribution markets, such as industrial and commercial building applications and utilities. These sectors are increasingly challenged to reduce their environmental footprint in a bid to support climate action and speed up energy transition, it continued. 

It has been successfully piloted at numerous electric utilities, infrastructure, and buildings, by customers such as GreenAlp in France, EEC Engie in New Caledonia, and Azienda Trasporti Milanesi in Italy.


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