Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi Electric Partner to Develop High-voltage Industrial Switches

June 25, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi Electric signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly investigate methods for developing high-voltage, energy-efficient switching solutions.

Siemens and Mitsubishi Electric have joined forces to design and create industrial solutions for their plants with zero global-warming potential (GWP). 

Recently, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study to this end, focusing on the joint development of high-voltage switching solutions. The hope is to create gas-insulated switching solutions that use harmful greenhouse gases with clean air. 

At present, clean air insulation appears to be the only alternative to greenhouse gases. Clean air insulation also poses zero health and safety risks.


What Does the MoU Entail?

The agreement between Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi promotes joint research of methods for scaling up the application of clean-air insulation technology to higher voltages. Each company plans to begin with a 245-kV dead-tank circuit breaker to speed up the availability of more environmentally sustainable high-voltage switching solutions for their global customers.


Siemens Energy 8VN1 Blue GIS switchgear. Image used courtesy of Siemens Energy


Under the MoU, Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi will continue manufacturing and selling switchgear solutions independently. 


The New Switching Solutions

Both Siemens Energy and Mitsubishi bring years of technical experience to the table in this partnership. They are creating and offering up F-gas-free and energy-efficient technologies to their customers. 

Together, they will continue their work on the development of SF6-free gas-insulated switching solutions. Siemens Energy's Blue portfolio offers its customers F-gas-free gas-insulated switchgear, circuit breakers, and instrument transformers. 

Siemens Energy's solutions aim to reduce emissions and extend the lifetime of its products. In a recent news release, Siemens Energy won a contract to deliver ten bays of SF6-free gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) to Finland's transmission system operator, Fingrid. 

Mitsubishi aims to provide its customers with high- and medium-voltage products to ensure improved safety and reliability during the operation of modern power networks. Mitsubishi is currently providing SF6-free and net zero-emission, energy-efficient, and low lifecycle-cost solutions. 


Mitsubishi's medium-voltage switchgear solutions. Image used courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric


The company has accrued many years of experience in clean manufacturing and plans to engineer a new lineup of higher-voltage circuit breaker and switchgear products. 


Industrial Regulations to Control Harmful Gases

For most of the world's substations, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is the insulating gas of choice. A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and general distribution system. Substations across the globe help to reduce the voltage of electricity. This ensures safer and easier delivery of electricity to homes and businesses. 

Sulfur hexafluoride is a fluorinated gas (F-gas). It is known to be one of the most detrimental greenhouse gases, with a potential for global warming roughly 23,500 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2). 

The F-gas can also persist in the Earth's atmosphere for 3,200 years. The change in government policies across the globe is focused on the move toward carbon-neutral business operations. Companies are striving to reach their own carbon-neutral goals by creating climate-conscious technologies. Regulations are being put into place and reviewed concerning reducing or prohibition of fluorinated gases in the electrical industry.