Schneider Electric recently announced that it won the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award, in the category ‘Energy Economy’, for its new SM AirSeT switchgear, a green and digital medium voltage technology. The innovation makes it possible to end reliance on the industry-standard sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) greenhouse gas commonly contained in electrical equipment used to power the grid and industrial electrical installations.

Schneider Electric IEEA sustainability award

 Schneider Electric was presented with the IEEA for Energy Economy at Hannover Messe’s Digital Days.

The Industrial Energy Efficiency Award showcases companies’ outstanding commitment to investing in and applying energy-efficient solutions. In cooperation with independent market research and consulting company EuPD Research, the award was presented by Deutsche Messe at the Hannover Messe Digital Days. When choosing the recipient of the award, the jury considered the technology’s degree of innovation, contribution to efficiency, economic benefits, and social sustainability characteristics.

Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric, said, “As electrification increases around the world, and renewables continue to grow, more MV switchgear is needed. With our new SF6-free technology, which replaces the greenhouse gas with pure air, we’ve accomplished a key step towards decarbonising the grid and making power systems that are truly green. Schneider Electric prides itself on pioneering a sustainable future of electricity, so I am delighted to accept this award.”

The SM AirSeT medium voltage switchgear uses pure air insulation combined with Schneider Electric’s new shunt vacuum interruption (SVI) technology. It enables the adoption of green technology while maintaining the advantages of the compact physical footprint, cost-effectiveness, and trusted operating mode of traditional SF6-based equipment.

“The replacement of SF6 gas with air in switchgear contributes to making the energy industry more sustainable. Schneider Electric has developed an innovative plug-and-play solution and demonstrated its usage in various projects,” said Martin Ammon, Managing Partner and Head of Energy Industry at EuPD Research.

One exemplary project is with electricity utility company EEC ENGIE in New Caledonia. Here, SM AirSeT is already proving its worth in the utility’s pursuit of grid decarbonisation.

“On behalf of EEC ENGIE, I am proud to have contributed to this unique technological advance that promotes the development of cleaner energy for our ecosystem and our customers. The absence of SF6 is a major asset in the operation of our networks for our island and distant territories faced with the problem of waste treatment. We would like to thank the Hannover Messe which, with this award, recognises manufacturers and their customers for their commitment to a low-carbon industry,” said Dominique Roecker, Energy Procurement Manager at EEC ENGIE New Caledonia.

Schneider Electric has reported successful pilot projects of its new SF6-free medium voltage SM AirSeT range at a number of other electric utilities, including E.ON in Sweden and GreenAlp in France, with more being energised on a regular basis. These include private power networks for commercial and industrial applications.

The Industrial Energy Efficiency Award comes on the heels of earlier accolades. In May, Schneider Electric’s SM AirSeT technology was recognised by IF, the celebrated design institution, with an IF Design Award. It was also nominated by Deutsche Messe this year for the HERMES Award, which recognises proven industrial technological innovations, where it was placed among the three finalists.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.