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Novel medium voltage switchgear with zero environmental footprint

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Nuventura (Novel medium voltage switchgear with zero environmental footprint)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-04-30

In an electric power system, switchgear is the combination of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and different parts of the electricity grid. The state-of-art of switchgears are gas insulated switchgears (GIS) that use sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) as insulating medium, and are therefore responsible for 188 Mt CO2-e of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually. During the period of 1st Jan 2019-30th April 2019 Nuventura GmbH undertook a complete feasibility study on its switchgear technology – which uses pressurized dry air instead of SF6 as insulating medium.
During the Phase 1 of the SME Instrument, Nuventura successfully performed a deeper analysis of the technical and business feasibility of its gas insulated switchgear technology. In particular, focus was given to the development of a new variation on their current switchgear technology that will be applicable for a higher current rating (up to 2500A instead of 1250A). They believe this to be a market viable product (as confirmed by real user needs) which soon will be ready for commercialization.
Nuventura have confirmed and validated the problems that they intend to solve with their unique switchgear technology. They have also verified that there are no comparable competing solutions. During the Phase 1, Nuventura also better assessed the improvements that could be implemented during the technology’s industrialization phase which would lead to a reduction in production costs. This was significant as it demonstrated a feasible pathway from the current prototype stage, to commercialization. The current commercialization process has established strong foundations, which, at a later stage, can be adapted so as to allow for a rapid scale-up.
Nuventura has prepared a draft product development plan for a dry-air, MV GIS for a higher current of 2500 A. In so doing, the main objectives of such a technical development and the resources required, have been highlighted. The direct costs of the pure product development over 2 years is estimated to be around €2.242 M. Several stakeholders have been engaged, and their interest in the product’s development has been confirmed.
During Phase 1, Nuventura comprehensively assessed the industry, the gas insulated switchgear market and its current trends, and also continued to scout and talk to potential customers which include larger Tier 1 manufacturers as well as smaller Tier 2 companies. The focus during commercialization will be on the European market. Its increasing focus on sustainability, favourable market prices and the regulatory situation make it suitable for market entry. This will lay the groundwork for later commercialization at a global scale.
Nuventura has produced a forecast of its organizational growth for the next 5 years, as well as prepared financial projections that foresee for 2024 a revenue of €9.4m and a gross profit of € 5.9m.
Overall, Phase 1 provided the time and resources required to undertake in-depth market research, and to better understand the use cases of the switchgear technology. Moreover, dozens of discussions took place with potential stakeholders, based on which Nuventura was able to better define the objectives and the next steps. In summary, Phase 1 convinced Nuventura’s management of the viability of expanding their product range with new technologies. The product development of these new technologies will, hopefully, be conducted with the help of Phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 grant scheme
Nuventura has developed a switchgear, which uses pressurized dry air instead of SF6 as its insulating medium. Nuventura‘s design builds on all the advantages of SF6-using GIS systems, but operates with simple atmospheric air and is therefore much easier/cheaper to manufacture and operate. The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 °Celsius. The cornerstone to achieve these objectives is also to innovate and replace harmful technologies in the electricity generation and distribution industry. The Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases has prepared the ground to address effectively the leak prevention, recovery, certification of technicians and selected restrictions on the use and marketing of Kyoto Protocol synthetic GHGs (SGGs) gases. However, it did not addressed efficiently medium voltage switchgears, and therefore little was done by manufacturers to make them more eco-friendly.
The growing importance of this particular problem has to be recognized as electrification, especially in the developed world is accelerating. Thanks to economic development and urbanization, hundreds of millions of people have gained access to modern energy over the last two decades, especially in China and India. Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Also, smart cities and grids, IoT, electric mobility and other triggers significantly increase the need for efficient, clean and reliable electricity grid. In the middle of this, it is obvious, why there is a huge need for zero carbon emission switchgear technologies like Nuventura`s
Nuventura switchgear