Blue circuit breaker

Intelligent circuit breakers for a sustainable future

At Hesseln substation, Germany, Siemens Energy and grid operator Westnetz are showing how innovation can drive decarbonization and digitalization in energy transmission.  

Grid operators are the backbone of the energy transition. They ensure a reliable and secure energy supply while enabling the integration of growing amounts of renewable energy in the power grid. They also strive to reduce their own carbon footprint and search for eco-friendly solutions that can simultaneously manage the grid’s increasing complexity.   

Implementing future-proof climate-neutral high-voltage circuit breakers

Westnetz GmbH has been successfully testing these solutions in a field study at Hesseln substation, Germany. The installation of Siemens Energy 3AV1 Blue circuit breakers deliver a completely F-gas-free and digitally enabled high-voltage operation. A combination of vacuum interrupter technology and clean air insulation reduces the operator’s carbon footprint and also increases operational safety. Availability is enhanced by using Sensgear™. The 145 kV-rated circuit breakers are equipped with this innovative cloud-based online monitoring solution (OMS) that provides grid operators with data collected from intelligent assets to improve grid operation, asset management, and maintenance.

“As grid operator, we face a variety of challenges. In addition to the transformation of the distribution networks, the amendment of the F-gas regulation is also under political discussion. The resulting medium-term replacement of the insulating gas SF6 is therefore an essential component of the decarbonization strategy of our EON Group. We therefore welcome the activities in industry to develop alternative products in order to be able to test them in our network, as well as the implementation of digitization components.” 
Dr. Markus Obergünner, Senior Vice President High Voltage Grid, Westnetz GmbH

As part of Siemens Energy’s Blue portfolio, the 3AV1 Blue circuit breaker doesn’t contain any greenhouse gases like sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Because of its excellent extinguishing and insulation characteristics, SF6 is still the most commonly used insulation gas in high-voltage power grids. But regulations are expected to further restrict its application in high-voltage transmission soon. The Blue portfolio replaces SF6 with so called “clean air,” a pure mixture of 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen, and therefore has a GWP of ZERO. In addition to the ecological advantages, clean air provides even more benefits, including its global availability and the elimination of F-gas reporting. So far, the field study has proven that it’s performing on the same level – or even better in some technical areas – than its SF6-insulated counterpart, making it a future-proof and eco-friendly alternative for upcoming Westnetz projects.

Using online data to improve grid operation

The circuit breakers are equipped with Sensgear™, a cloud-based OMS that collects data from intelligent assets in the substation and provides intelligent event-triggered warnings and alarms to the operators in a smart way directly to a mobile device for an improved incident response time and more effective grid management. Westnetz is using Sensgear™ for 145 kV Blue Live Tank circuit breakers and for SVAA 123 kV Blue combined-instrument transformers. All data is accessible via cloud connection on any mobile device or computer and is virtually processed and displayed on a dashboard – enabling Westnetz to monitor their assets anytime, anywhere. This preventive detection of suspicious and critical assets reduces the risk of unplanned outages. The data is also used to derive trends related to the insulation gas and the devices’ mechanical lifespan, which enables better planning of service operations and maintenance.

“We’re proud to work together with customers like Westnetz to develop the grid of the future. Projects like the Hesseln substation lay the groundwork for intelligent grids and improving our Sens-technology. The next step is to further advance data collection and analysis to enable a predictive instead of time-based maintenance, which will reduce costs for our customer.”
Dr. Ulf Katschinski, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice President of the Switching Products Business Unit 

UN sustainability goals

With our innovative F-gas-free products, Siemens Energy is supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number 7, 9, and 13: “Securing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”; “Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and supporting innovation"; and "Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts."

Let’s make tomorrow different today

Transmission products play a vital role in the energy value chain. Siemens Energy Transmission offers all key elements including power transformers, gas-insulated and/or air-insulated switchgear and components – individually or bundled with the associated engineering. With our global factory network and leading innovations, we provide the highest level of quality and reliability to our customers to support them in achieving their objectives.