General Electric
Ge G3 Doe Grant 800

GE Wins DOE Funds to Test Decarbonization of US Grid

Nov. 3, 2021
General Electric earned two grants from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program to assess its g3 gas technology as an alternative dead tank circuit-breaker, to avoid network outages.

General Electric has drawn $3.7 million worth of U.S. Dept. of Energy grants for two research projects described as efforts “to help accelerate the decarbonization of the U.S. electrical grid.” The funds come from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program.

The first award, for $2.3 million to GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business, is related to development of a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-free 245-kilovolt (kV) dead tank circuit-breaker – a protective device used in case of a problem on the high-voltage electrical network (“the grid”) to cut or redirect power, to avoid blackouts.

The new dead tank circuit-breaker will be built at a GE site in Charleroi, Penn., drawing on work conducted there and at GE’s technology research center in Villeurbanne, France.

The new circuit-breaker will use GE’s g3 (“g cubed”) gas insulating and switching technology, which according to the developer has a global warming potential that is 99% less than SF62 (an insulating and arc-quenching atmosphere) when used as a circuit-breaker. As g3 products have the same dimensions as SF6 equipment, there is no increase in emissions during the manufacturing process from additional material.

The second award, for $1.4 million to GE Research Center is part of a larger project led by the University of Connecticut that will focus on the life cycle management of g3 products, mainly gas leakages and byproduct detection, capture, and monitoring tools.

“SF6 is a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and can remain in the atmosphere for up to 3,200 years. ARPA-E anticipates that any technology developed to replace SF6 could have a significant and widespread global impact as countries look to reduce, regulate, or eliminate SF6 emissions from their electrical grids,” stated Dr. Isik Kizilyalli, ARPA-E Associate Director for Technology.

“This funding will help demonstrate the applicability of g3 gas for the commonly used 245-kV voltage level used by transmission operators in the U.S.,” stated Danielle Merfeld, chief technology officer at GE Renewable Energy. “One of the major advantages of GE’s g3 gas is that this fluoronitrile-based solution is scalable to higher voltage levels. As part of this project, the 245 kV g3 circuit breaker will be scaled to 550 kV, which helps accelerate market acceptance of SF6-free technology and support the U.S.’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Latest from News

Derek Gordon | Dreamstime
Lockheed Martin
Maximilian Pogonii | Dreamstime
Pratt & Whitney
Liujunrong | Dreamstime