Siemens Energy advances climate-neutral switchgear with facility in Berlin

Ulf Katschinski, Senior VP Switching Products and Systems at Siemens Energy, Helmut Kleebank, member of the German Bundestag, Christian Rickerts, State Secretary of the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises, Rüdiger Groß, Chairman of the Works Council of the switchgear plant and Stephan Jorra, Berlin plant manager. Credit: Siemens Energy

Siemens Energy has announced that it will invest over €60 million ($68 million) in a new production facility in Berlin.

The company’s new plant will occupy 6,200 m2 of space and will manufacture vacuum interrupters for the Blue Portfolio, which comprises climate-neutral power transmission products in the high-voltage range and uses industrially purified air for insulation and vacuum as the switching medium rather than fluorinated gases.

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“The consequences of rapidly advancing global warming require a fundamental change in the way we deal with energy, including power transmission,” said Ulf Katschinski, Senior Vice President Switching Products and Systems at Siemens Energy.

“Siemens Energy aims to sell only F-gas-free high-voltage switching technology starting in 2030 at the latest. With our new vacuum interrupter production, we’re laying the groundwork to achieve this goal and meet the growing demand for climate-neutral switchgear.”

Switchgear are responsible for power distribution in places like substations and wind turbines. The problem is that fluorinated gases (F-gases) are usually used for insulation and as the switching medium in these systems, especially sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas.

According to Siemens Energy, one kilogram of SF6 is equivalent to 25,200 kilograms of CO2 in terms of its climate-damaging effects, and it remains in the atmosphere for about 3,200 years when emitted.

Christian Rickerts, State Secretary of the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises: “The production of vacuum interrupters in Siemensstadt is a clear commitment to Berlin as an industrial location, to the energy transition and to climate protection. Siemens Energy is demonstrating in Berlin how climate-friendly and sustainable transformation of conventional technology can work.”

The new production facility will be fully digitally connected, have highly automated equipment and will be powered 100% by electricity from renewable sources.

The new manufacturing facility is scheduled to go into operation in 2023.

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