SF6: The Perfect Gas for the Portland Utilities Industry


Cryo-Source seen as a prime provider of dielectric gases – also called insulating gases – for the Portland electrical utilities industry. Gases of this kind are employed most often to either avoid or quickly tamp down electrical discharges, for which their dielectric qualities make them most suitable. The most notable of these gases and the one most purchased from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities work with SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other similar kinds of equipment.

Where SF6 circuit breakers are concerned, they’re generally swapping out oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, because of the fear of their being contaminated with now-banned, environmentally toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are no longer favored.

The extensive use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is due to its exhibiting a dielectric strength substantially higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter another gas in broad 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-tractable indoor environments, rather than air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated gear placed indoors is, of course, less subject to the damages inflicted by climate and pollution. Furthermore, a more-practicable environment also helps insure greater system trustworthiness and longevity.

If for any reason you’ve never used SF6 and would like to understand more about its advantages in utilities industry application, talk with Cryo-Source, your Portland PurityPlus® Partner, today.