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New BOC service will help electricity companies meet environment targets

BOC Gases : 14 September, 2006  (New Product)
Industrial and special gases company BOC has launched a new service to help electricity companies meet stringent European rules on recovering sulphur hexafluoride, a fluorine compound widely used in electrical substations and transformers.
SF6 has a high potential for greenhouse warming but its unique insulation properties make it ideal for use in high voltage switchgear (upwards of 11,000 volts) to prevent arcing between electrical components, a cause of circuit breakdown and interruption to electricity supply.

Under the proposed European fluorinated gas (f-gas) regulation electricity companies throughout the UK and Europe will be required to recover SF6 gas whenever switchgear is repaired or decommissioned. The use of SF6 is already restricted under the Kyoto protocol to applications that prevent the gas escaping to the atmosphere.

BOC director of Special Products, Mike Dennis said: “Every year electricity utilities invest millions of pounds in repairing or upgrading their switchgear to meet growing consumer demand. Their ability to maintain high levels of service and the security of supply depends on the efficiency of their switching gear, to which high purity SF6 is critical.”

Said Dennis: “With European restrictions on both the manufacture and use of fluorinated gases utility companies will have a duty to ensure their supplies of SF6 are secure, handled safely and when no longer needed, that they are recovered and disposed of by an accredited supplier.

“While an absolute necessity for the environment the business benefit of passing SF6 ‘stewardship’ to BOC is that utilities will be better able to focus on vital repair and upgrading programmes safe in the knowledge that their business complies with these new regulations.”

BOC offers a range of services to utility companies and industry subcontractors from consultancy through to full contract. The range includes:

• On-site analysis of SF6 gas or sample testing at BOC’s laboratory at Immingham
• Review the SF6 gas quality status of switchgear
• SF6 leak detection from electrical switchgear equipment
• Training and specialist advice on handling, recovery, reclaim and decanting of SF6 gas
• SF6 gas cart maintenance
• Hire of decant cylinders for temporary storage of SF6 during switchgear maintenance and recovery cylinders for removal of SF6 for reprocessing or disposal
• Under the contract service BOC can provide a dedicated service engineer and equipment to carry out any SF6 servicing. BOC can also quote for removing and scrapping any high voltage devices containing SF6.

BOC’s SF6 services are highly specialised, are carried out in accordance with all relevant international standards and BOC is licensed by the Environment Agency to transport and reprocess SF6.

Said Dennis: “We draw on the expertise and knowledge of a dedicated team of service engineers, technicians and analysts and together we provide a tailored SF6 service that will be invaluable in the lead-up to the EU’s regulations and from that point onwards.”
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