Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has announced the commercial availability of its new green and digital medium voltage switchgear range at Hannover Messe 2021. SM AirSeT is a leap forward for sustainability, using pure air and vacuum interruption instead of SF6 gas, as well as allowing users to take full advantage of digital features to unlock the value of data. The new offer is an environmentally superior continuation of one of Schneider Electric’s most popular product ranges for secondary electrical distribution, SM6.
Since unveiling the company’s breakthrough combination of innovative Shunt Vacuum Interruption (SVI)™ technology and pure air insulation in 2019, Schneider Electric has built numerous successful pilot projects of the SF6-free medium voltage range at both utility and private customer sites. This new switchgear is designed for secondary electrical distribution markets, such as industrial and commercial building applications and utilities, and is now available in several geographies in Asia and in Europe.
As seen during the pilot stage, Schneider Electric expect a high level of interest due to the combination of SVI and pure air insulation enabling the avoidance of SF6 while maintaining the advantages of the compact physical footprint and other benefits afforded by that industry-standard gas. The new SM AirSeT switchgear offers a comprehensive suite of functionalities, including the SF6-free switch-fuse, which is often the preferred solution for building installations. It also retains the trusted operating mode of traditional SF6-based equipment.
Air is the best gas
“At Schneider Electric, we believe the best gas is air,” said Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric. “Now that our green and digital SF6-free switchgear has hit the market, we can speed up the real work of decarbonization. When people think of green energy, they tend to focus on generation or consumption. But SM AirSeT fits in the curical space between the two, where there are massive environmental improvements to be made.”
Schneider Electric has reported successful pilot projects of its new SF6-free medium voltage switchgear at numerous electric utilities, including GreenAlp in France, EEC Engie in New Caledonia, E.ON in Sweden, and more recently Renault in France, with more being energized on a regular basis in private power networks for commercial and industrial applications and beyond.
Schneider Electric’s new SM AirSeT switchgear was honored by Hannover Messe in 2020, winning the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award, which showcases companies’ outstanding commitment to investing in and applying energy-efficient solutions. In cooperation with the independent market research and consulting company EUPD Research, the award was conferred by Deutsche Messe at the Hannover Messe Digital Days. When choosing the recipient of the award, the jury considered its degree of innovation, contribution to efficiency, economic benefits, and social sustainability characteristics.
SM AirSeT was also nominated for another industrial prize awarded in 2020 by Deutsche Messe, the HERMES Award, where it placed among the three finalists. These recognitions join the list of other important industrial awards given to SF6-free switchgear, including an IF Design Award, an enerTIC Award for its project with E.ON, and a Top 10 Innovation Award from the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum.
The future is green and digital
The commercial debut of SM AirSeT blazes a trail for Schneider Electric’s broader roadmap toward an SF6-free future. The company is systematically building a complete portfolio of green alternatives to its SF6-based equipment, with new green offers dedicated to more industrial applications, including electro-intensive industries. For example, Schneider Electric has already launched its GM AirSeT offer in China, a primary switchgear and sister technology to the new SM AirSeT, which is dedicated to secondary applications.
Further extending environmental benefits and independent from specific offers, the company emphasized the significance of the numerous digital technologies that can equip their new switchgear. For example, the natively digital SM AirSeT switchgear includes condition-based maintenance features, feeding data from its sensors to both local field tools/apps and sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric’s robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform. The entire platform of equipment is becoming natively digital, connected to cloud data sharing in order to better serve efficiency and safety of operations.