Toshiba and Meidensha to develop GIS jointly using natural origin gases

- aim to commercialize GIS by March 2023, contributing to carbon neutral goals -


Transmission & Distribution

Strategies / Measures

R & D / Technology

June 21 2021

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation
Meidensha Corporation

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (hereinafter “Toshiba ESS”) and Meidensha Corporation (hereinafter “Meidensha”) have been collaborating since 2020 on the joint development of gas insulated switchgear (GIS) for 72kV/84kV using a natural origin gas that contains no sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) at all, and have now decided to accelerate the development and commercialization of this GIS due to higher demand for environmentally friendly products in the market. Specifically, the two companies plan to complete type tests to confirm performance in line with international standards by March 2022. The establishment of a system for mass production and commercialization of the product will follow by the end of March 2023.

The GIS under joint development uses a vacuum circuit breaker (VCB) for high-current interruption and dry air for the main circuit insulation of the equipment and for the current switching parts of the disconnect and earthing switches to ensure insulation performance and high-current interruption capability. Toshiba ESS will be responsible for the entire GIS, while Meidensha will be in charge of the development of the main component, the VCB.
Mr. Koji Saito, Director, Vice President of the Grid Aggregation Division of Toshiba ESS said, “We are very proud of this joint development with Meidensha. We have a great deal of expertise in the development of GIS products as a whole, including the 72 kV GIS launched into a commercial operation firstly in Japan in 1969. On the other hand, Toshiba ESS has been developing SF6 alternative technologies for more than 15 years.”

Mr. Nobuaki Tamaki, Director & Senior Managing Executive Officer of Meidensha said, “We are very happy to develop GIS jointly with Toshiba ESS. We have extensive delivery record of VCBs all over the world and have developed 72.5 kV dead tank VCBs with dry air insulation in 2007 for U.S. market. Since then, we have delivered them to a lot of customers in Japan and overseas. In 2020, we commercialized up to 145 kV class of VCBs. By combining the respective strengths of Toshiba ESS and Meidensha, it is possible to create a product with high performance and reliability.”

The two companies expect to commercialize this new type of GIS firstly in Japan. In the future, each company considers overseas expansion based on the business strategies of each company.
In Japan, a joint industry-academia "SF6 Alternative Gas Study committee", which aims to investigate the impact of introducing SF6 alternative gases, has compiled guidelines to evaluate SF6 alternative technologies. The present GIS under development fully complies with these guidelines.

Through the development and supply of GIS employing only natural origin gases, the two companies will contribute to the realization of a carbon neutral future – a goal of many countries around the world.

Background of product development

A GIS is a facility consisting of a circuit breaker to interrupt fault current on a transmission line to prevent it from affecting other power equipment, a disconnect to switch the transmission system, a lightning arrester, and an instrument transformer.
SF6 is chemically stable and has excellent insulation and high current breaking capabilities, and has been used in many high-voltage substations, including GIS, all over the world for more than 50 years. However, since SF6 gas has a global warming potential (GWP) 23,500 times higher than CO2, it was designated as one of the significant greenhouse gases in Third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) held in Kyoto in 1997. In this context, Toshiba ESS and Meidensha have decided to develop GIS using a natural origin gas jointly.

Information in the news release, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the news release , but is subject to change without prior notice.

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