High Voltage Switchgear: Knowing the Configuration and Operation

switchgearThe power system deals with voltage above 36KV, is regarded as high voltage. Since the voltage level is high, the arcing formed during switching operation is also quite high. Therefore, special care is to be taken during the designing of high voltage switchgear. High voltage circuit breaker is the major component of HV switchgear, thus high voltage circuit breaker ought to have special features for reliable and safe operation. Switching operation and faulty tripping of high voltage circuit are very rear. At time these circuit breakers remain, at ON state, and might be operated after a long period of time. Thus CBs must be dependable enough to make sure of safe operation, as when necessary. High voltage circuit breaker technology has changed drastically in the last 15 years.

SF6 circuit breaker, air blast circuit breaker and minimum oil circuit breaker are mostly used for high voltage switchgear. Vacuum circuit breaker is hardly used for this purpose since till date vacuum technology is not sufficient for interrupting very high voltage short circuit current. There are two kinds of SF6 circuit breaker, that is, single pressure SF6 breaker and two pressures circuit breaker. Single pressure system is the latest and updated high voltage switchgear system, these days. Nowadays SF6 gas as arc quenching medium has become most accepted for high and extra high voltage electrical power system. Though, SF6 gas has strong influence on the greenhouse effect. It has 23 times stronger influence on the greenhouse effect, than that of CO2. Therefore, leakage of SF6 gas in the service life of circuit breaker should be prevented. For minimizing the emission of CF4 – SF6, N2 – SF6 and SF6 gas mixture, might be used in circuit breaker in future, as an alternate of pure SF6. It should always be taken into consideration that, no SF6 gas comes out in atmosphere throughout the maintenance of CB.

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