E.ON and the VC Fund Technologie Berlin, managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, are investing in nuventura , a start-up that develops switchgear without the potent greenhouse gas sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). By replacing SF6 in gas-insulated switchgear with dry air, nuventura’s technology offers significant environmental benefits while increasing efficiency and profitability.
Gas-insulated switchgear, a fundamental component of any electricity grid, uses SF6 as a protective gas layer enclosing the conductors. SF6 is a synthetic gas that is extremely long-lived – its atmospheric lifetime is estimated at over 3,000 years. The atmospheric greenhouse effect of one kilogram of SF6 in the first 100 years alone equals that of over 23,500 kilograms of CO2. In the long term, nuventura’s technology will make SF6 obsolete in switchgear insulations, which currently use 85 percent of all globally produced SF6. Currently, the annual greenhouse effect of SF6 emissions equals that of 100 million cars emitting CO2.
Switchgear equipped with nuventura’s solution is easier to operate than SF6-based technology and allows for sensors within the gas container, which monitor the equipment and capture valuable operating data for smart grid applications. Based on sensor data, the operator can optimize maintenance cycles and anticipate required actions to ensure smooth operations. Sensors also play a key role in grid IT security and, therefore, for smart grid management.
E.ON and nuventura are planning to launch a pilot project with the German E.ON grid operator E.DIS at Ketzin substation, the site of E.DIS Energy Transition Lab.
“Our collaboration with nuventura is an active contribution to climate protection,” says Alexander Montebaur, E.DIS AG Chairman. “In nuventura, we have found a partner with the potential to make a key technical asset in our grids emission-free.”
Fabian Lemke, commercial director at nuventura, adds, “We should do everything in our power to achieve a complete ban of SF6. That is why we are making our technology available to all switchgear manufacturers via licenses.”
E.ON has long been supporting nuventura via its :agile accelerator start-up program. An accelerator and seed investor dedicated to energy-related innovation, :agile scouts start-ups throughout Europe and Israel with the aim of launching joint pilot projects with individual E.ON business units.