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Short-circuit Current Making in Medium Voltage Switches with Environmentally Friendly Gas

ABB EPMV in Skien manufactures 12 - 40.5 kV compact, gas insulated switchgears for the world market. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) gas is used as the electrical insulation- and current interruption medium. However, since SF6 is an extremely strong "greenhouse gas", restrictions on its use are anticipated.

Contact person

Laboratory work. Photo: NTNU/Geir Mogen

Short-circuit current making is the ability of an electrical switch to close upon the full rated short-circuit current of the switch without being damaged. During such a closing operation, the full current (~tens of kilo amperes) will start to flow at the full rated voltage and a high energy arc will burn across the contact gap. Without the excellent thermal- and insulating properties of SF6, the energy generated by this arc is increased and the contact may fail to re-open because the contact members are welded together.

Previous and ongoing research funded by ABB and the Norwegian Research Council have addressed dielectric insulation, load current interruption and thermal performance for air and air mixtures as alternatives to SF6. Now, we need to initiate R&D work on short-circuit current making in the same gases in order to facilitate a complete alternative to the existing SF6 based MV switchgear product line.



  • Projectadministration: ABB
  • NTNU

This project is an Innovation projects in business and industry (IPN) with funding from The Research Council of Norway under the ENERGIX-programme.
Innovation projects in business and industry (IPN) and Development projects targeting business and industry players, and including projects that generate knowledge and skills for development of new or improved products or services.


Key Factors

Project duration

2017 - 2021

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