Environmental aspects of the use of Sulphur Hexafluoride

(A. H. Powell, 2002) This report was commissioned by ERA Information Services to investigate environmental aspects of the use of sulphur hexafluoride and, in particular, to provide a preliminary assessment of the likely future trends in legislation or usage.
The report is based on a literature survey and provides information on the properties and characteristics of sulphur hexafluoride and its decomposition products that may arise during use as electrical insulation or in switchgear applications. Safety precautions that need to be taken are discussed, as well as considerations to be taken into account in respect of maintenance of equipment containing sulphur hexafluoride.
Environmental aspects discussed include ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. Sulphur hexafluoride is a potent greenhouse gas. Recent developments suggest that there may be significant constraints imposed on the usage of sulphur hexafluoride in the years to come. It is therefore important for the electricity supply industry and other sectors using SF6 to continually monitor best practice procedures in environmental management of equipment containing SF6 and the regulatory controls that apply.
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