Safely Collect and Transfer Sulfur Hexafluoride

Mobile test and measurement equipment allows service and maintenance technicians to work more effectively and efficiently, making it easier for them to travel to and from sites where sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is being used in high voltage (HV) and medium (MV) circuit breakers, switchgear and transformers.

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Mobile test and measurement equipment allows service and maintenance technicians to work more effectively and efficiently, making it easier for them to travel to and from sites where sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is being used in high voltage (HV) and medium (MV) circuit breakers, switchgear and transformers.

Testing and measuring the dewpoint, or trace moisture in SF6 commonly requires a hand held instrument, or dewpoint meter. SF6 should not be released into the atmosphere after collection and testing because of its greenhouse gas properties. It is estimated by scientists and environmentalists that the SF6 gas used in insulators of HV and MV breakers, switchgear and other applications is approximately 23,900 times more damaging than CO2 and, if released, can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Strict controls, monitoring and even bans esixt for some applications to restrict the release of this gas into the atmosphere, which is why SF6 needs to be viewed as a product to recycle and keep safe.

With this in mind, SF6 must be returned to the source or placed in secure storage cylinders without leakage. It also must be easy for the end user to apply his or her connections to the unit without complicated procedures and confusing alternatives, again with no risk of leakage.

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Fully transportable and easy to use equipment is key to a field technician, saving him time, costs and complications. A highly portable product, that can be transported like a suitcase, moved with a strong telescopic pull-along handle and fitted with glide wheels is desirable.

Alpha Moisture Systems' solution, the Model Gas Collection and Transfer Unit (GCTU), is specifically developed to collect all SF6 sampled for analysis. The GCTU is designed to recycle the entire SF6 sample back to the HV and MV circuit breakers, switchgear or transformers, giving a zero effect to the installations and protecting the environment by eliminating any discharge to the atmosphere.

The new GCTU can be used with field analysis instruments. Because it is battery operated and fully portable, it provides a simple, effective and environmentally friendly solution to SF6 analysis and recycling.

In addition, this product accepts many types of instruments for several species analysis. For moisture measurement the company recommends the use of its Models SADP, Hand Held SADPMini, P35 or DSP-FCI.

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The GCTU's components have undergone rigorous testing to ensure reliability. The unit's protective case is IP67 rated. When on site, the handle can be retracted; using the fixed anti-slip side handles will give more flexible positioning for sample taking.

Developed with the user in mind, the GCTU offers added features and benefits that include a double self-sealing, single-gas collection and transfer point; double self-sealing inlet and outlet instrument points; process pressure indicator; bypass purge facility; sample flow regulator; and approximately 10 minutes of test time running at 2 liters per minute.

Because the GCTU is fully portable, the rechargeable batteries and battery charger unit have gone through many hours of development to ensure the user can receive up to 20 fill and discharge cycles on a single battery charge. The battery light emitting diodes (LEDs) indicator is programmed to let the user know in real time the battery's condition, using a bar type symbol similar to that used by most cell phones. The battery charger has a variable voltage acceptance of 98V to 240V that automatically adjusts to source voltage when charging. The unit and accessories weigh 55 pounds.

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How does the GCTU work?

1. Ensure the sample flow control is closed,

2. Attach a sample line from the breaker/switch-normally PTFE-with female connector to the gas source male point on the GCTU,

3. Press test,

4. Press purge while opening the flow control-this is collected into the internal vessel of the GCTU,

5. Fit analysis instrument,

6. On completion of analysis press the discharge pump (transfer) function and replace back to source or using an auxiliary line, return to an alternative secure storage vessel,

7. When completed close sample control valve, and

8. Isolate gas source before removing instrument.

All SF6 sample has been transferred back to the source and recycled. For further details, please contact Alpha Moisture Systems Ltd, UK. Alternatively, the Model GCTU is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Delta Instrument LLC in New Jersey.

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