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Tel. 215-443-9600
Fax. 215-443-2665

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April Gas Spotlight: Sulfur Hexafluoride

sf6 newsletter header








Because of its major importance to the electrical industry, coupled with its global warming potential, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) presents some special challenges for customers. As one of the largest suppliers and a major recycler of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), Electronic Fluorocarbons is in a unique position to help.

Using SF6
The majority of all SF6, 80 percent or more, is used as a dielectric insulator in GIS (Gas Insulated Systems) in high voltage (anything above 72.5 kV) electric distribution systems. SF6 offers dielectric strength (it rapidly quenches electrical discharges), chemical stability during electrical operations, excellent thermal conductivity, and easy synthesis. SF6 was discovered in 1901; before the mid-1900s, most manufacturers made oil switchgear. Now almost all switchgear is either SF6 gas or solid dielectric.
SF6 also has nonelectrical applications such as manufacturing of molten magnesium and aluminum, leak detection, window insulation, and plasma etching for semiconductor chip production. It is used as a contrasting agent in ultrasound imaging and as a tracer in monitoring air pollution. In fact, in 2007, the St. John’s Wood Station in London was deliberately flooded with SF6 to determine how toxic gas might spread through the London Underground.

Recycling SF6
One pound of SF6 has the same global warming potential as 22,800 pounds of CO2.   Additionally, since it is such a stable compound, it has a life of 3200 years in the atmosphere vs 200 years for CO2. Therefore, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a “voluntary program in which partner companies agree to reduce SF6 emissions through technically and economically feasible actions.”
Electronic Fluorocarbons continuously seeks out new processes and systems designed to facilitate the recovery and recycling of used SF6 from old breakers, cylinders, or other systems. EFC recycles this material and returns it to a fit-for-use purity that exceeds ASTM D2472-00 and IEC 60480 standards.

Importing & Distributing SF6
Most of the SF6 gas imported into the US comes from Asia and Eastern Europe. SF6 is known as a synthetic greenhouse gas and requires a controlled substance license to import, export, or manufacture, plus a quota allocation.
Fully licensed and compliant with all US regulations, EFC provides SF6 at the highest purity levels possible: 99.9%, 99.99%, 99.995% and 99.999%. For use as a gaseous dielectric in high voltage equipment, we provide it at any purity required by the end user. We ship it under its own vapor pressure in cylinders with fill volumes from 18 to 115 pounds, as well as in bulk tanks and trailers.

Electronic Fluorocarbon’s Commitment
EFC’s global partnerships and multiple suppliers make us the go-to source for fluorocarbons and specialty gases. We are dedicated to supplying specialty gases to meet all of your customer’s needs in the electrical, semiconductor, medical, and other industries. Please call 1-888-924-3371 or email us at for more information about our other high purity gases.


Download EFC’s April 2018 Newsletter

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