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Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) gas is a physically stable, non-toxic, and inert gas with high dielectric strength and thermal stability. It is generally used in high voltage electrical equipment for power transmission and distribution such as gas insulated circuit breaker, transmission lines and gas insulated substations. Even with its excellent properties as an insulation product, SF6 has also been identified as a very strong Greenhouse Gas.

Despite the advantages that SF6 gas brings, its use is not without challenges, driven by environmental considerations, and the goal of providing total solution for our customers.

Concorde Specialty Gases has developed proprietary technology for the comprehensive recycling/reconditioning of contaminated SF6 gas, based on a new energy- efficient cryogenic process. This new technology is the first fully automated, no loss SF6 gas recycling system. The purity of recycled/reconditioned SF6 gas is equal to or greater than 99.99 percent and is in accordance with technical grade ASTM D 2472 (the standard for new SF6 gas), which enables the gas to be reused again and again. Using recycled SF6 gas will help reduce carbon emissions and could result in a cost saving potential for end-users.

The greatest technical advantage of the new process in comparison with existing technology is that it can efficiently recycle/recondition SF6 irrespective of the type or level of contamination. Existing technologies suffer from an inability to treat all contaminants and all contamination levels in one process. Furthermore, the level of automation present in the new process allows significantly greater throughput and energy efficiency.

While SF6 is relied upon for its insulating and arc-quenching ability, over time the gas can deteriorate, particularly if the equipment has experienced regular switching. Inferior gas quality can diminish its capabilities, which compromises the performance and safety of the equipment.

The process is designed so that no loss of SF6 occurs at any stage of operation. Unique detection instrumentation in combination with an automated process control system is used to detect and prevent leakage that may result through either operator or plant fault.

To ensure safety, all plant processes have been internalized to prevent human exposure and eliminate the change of accidental exposure. Removal of all nongaseous contaminants is done with solid-state absorbents that are contained within self-contained columns, with the SF6 gas passes. The solid waste products, now safely concentrated and contained, can be disposed of without human contact or environmental exposure.

The technical, safety, commercial and environmental advantages that this new recycling technology brings are clear. The new recycling center offers a solution to a problem that previously had no commercially or environmentally friendly solutions. Concorde’s technology benefits end-users by completing total product life cycle considerations, while not altering the existing benefits of safety and reliability of this essential equipment. Customers can now benefit from not just a reduced physical footprint, but from a reduced environmental footprint as well.