Sustainability Trailblazers Renault Group and Schneider Electric Clean up Mobility with Green Electric Technology
Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and industrial automation, is supplying to Renault Group the SF6-free AirSeT equipment, an innovative solution eliminating the greenhouse gas SF6 from its medium-voltage switchgear at the Flins Refactory.
AirSeT switchgear with no GHGs supports Renault Group’s circular economy goals
Renault Group aims for a negative carbon balance at Refactory by 2030 and to become fully carbon neutral in Europe by 2040. To meet this target, the group deploys innovative solutions eliminating the greenhouse gas SF6 from its medium-voltage switchgear at the Flins factory, using Schneider Electric’s SM AirSeT MV switchgear. This sustainable MV equipment uses pure air and vacuum interruption technology instead of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
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SF6 is commonly used in electric distribution equipment, but it is 25,200 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) when it comes to global warming potential (GWP). SF6 is increasingly becoming the subject of climate-focused regulations and efforts. It has been listed in the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty committing UN parties to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Green and digital by design
Eliminating SF6 and replacing it with pure air offers the immediate benefit of removing a potent greenhouse gas from the equation (Scope 4), but it also simplifies the installation, dismantling, and recycling of equipment while limiting costs. Built with circularity in mind, SM AirSeT’s reinforced design is used in combination with digital features to extend the switchgear’s operational life by over 30%.
The solution’s connected, digital capabilities also address Refactory’s wider concerns of:
- Power reliability
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AirSeT provides a solution for these three issues. The MV switchgear is cybersecure and has integrated smart sensors that bring 24/7 connectivity. This allows Renault Group to remotely monitor the Refactory’s MV switchgear operations for condition-based maintenance and increased safety. The sensors’ data is fed to Refactory’s local field tools/apps and to sophisticated analytics tools such as those offered by Schneider Electric’s robust EcoStruxure architecture and platform.
The full range of digitally native features unlocks the value of data for optimized operations and maintenance
AirSeT technology is designed for secondary electrical distribution markets, such as industrial and commercial building applications and utilities. These sectors are increasingly challenged to reduce their environmental footprint in a bid to support climate action and speed up energy transition.
“In the fight against climate change, moving away from F-gases is imperative to accelerate decarbonization,” commented Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President of Power Systems at Schneider Electric. “Green energy is about much more than renewable energy generation and efficient energy consumption. SM AirSeT fits in the crucial space in between, where significant environmental improvements are to be made.”
Schneider Electric pioneers environmentally responsible MV switchgear solutions
Like Renault Group, Schneider Electric has been laser focused on finding opportunities to increase sustainability. Schneider Electric has pioneered the shift toward SF6-free MV technology, replacing gas with pure air. Launched commercially in 2021, SM AirSeT has received multiple awards and recognitions as an enabler of the green and efficient energy transition. Those include the Industrial Energy Efficiency Award at Hannover Messe, the Top 10 Innovations award from the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum, and an iF Design Award. Additionally, the company’s project with E.ON in Sweden won the enerTIC Award for smart grid. AirSeT technology was also recently honored at the Energy Mastering Awards 2022 and recognized by International Carbon Handprint Award at Climate Week NYC.
The technology has been successfully piloted at numerous electric utilities, infrastructure and buildings, by customers such as GreenAlp in France, EEC Engie in New Caledonia, and Azienda Trasporti Milanesi in Italy.
Schneider Electric is committed to phasing out SF from its products. It is systematically building a complete portfolio of green alternatives to its SF6-based MV equipment, with new green offers dedicated to more industrial applications, including electro-intensive industries. The company will prevent the equivalent of around 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year through this action.
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