SF6: The Perfect Gas for the Denver Utilities Industry


Rocky Mountain Air Solutions has emerged as a significant producer of dielectric gases – also known as insulating gases – for the Denver electrical utilities industry. These gases are used most often to either avoid or rapidly extinguish electrical discharges, for which their dielectric qualities make them ideal. The most prominent of these gases and the one most purchased from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities employ SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other such hardware.

In the case of SF6 circuit breakers, they’re almost singularly taking the place of oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, because of the fear of their being contaminated with now-banned, environmentally toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are no longer favored.

The widespread use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is due to its exhibiting a dielectric strength considerably higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter another gas used extensively by our utilities industry customers).

One major “side benefit” of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it lets the utilities industry diminish the size of electrical gear. This, in turn, allows locating such gear in more-governable indoor environments, rather than air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated equipment located indoors is, of course, less subject to the damages inflicted by climate and pollution. In addition, a controlled environment also helps assure greater system trustworthiness and longevity.

If for any reason you’re unfamiliar with SF6 and would like to learn more about its benefits in utilities industry application, get hold of Rocky Mountain Air Solutions, your Denver PurityPlus® Partner, today.