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Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) gas is largely used as a dielectric and insulating material in the transmission and distribution equipment.

SF6 has demonstrated its effectiveness as dielectric material to insulate both high and medium voltage components enabling compact dimensions and footprint reduction.

Furthermore, SF6 properties include:

  • Good dielectric strength
  • Nontoxic, nonflammable, noncorrosive
  • Chemically stable
  • Excellent arc extinguishing
  • Good thermal conductivity

These properties have allowed SF6 to replace oil and air insulation as the preferred interrupting medium increasing reliability in operation.

Unfortunately, SF6 is also an extremely potent greenhouse gas with a GWP approximately 24,000 times that of CO2. 


The challenge is aimed at finding alternative solutions to the use of SF6 gas as an insulating and/or interrupting medium within MV and HV equipment.

In particular, Enel is interested to identify environmentally acceptable alternatives to SF6 gas for the following equipment:

  • HV Circuit Breakers for Primary Substations
  • MV Ring Main Units for Secondary Substations


Concurring in our Challenge you should take in consideration the following Technical requirements/properties:

  • Same foot print of the SF6 standard solution (see as reference the enclosed technical specifications);
  • If a new material, it would have to be non-toxic, have good thermal conductivity and be able to maintain its physical properties at high voltages;
  • Could be used in new equipment and/or utilized in existing equipment without any discernable degradation of the contacts or insulation systems;
  • Reliability;
  • Same-dielectric characteristics of the SF6 standard solution (see as reference the enclosed technical specifications);
  • Same arc extinguishing properties of the SF6 standard solution (see as reference the enclosed technical specifications);
  • Non-inflammable and chemically stable;
  • Decomposition products non-explosive and non-toxic;
  • Minimum maintenance;
  • Cost competitive.


What can we do to resolve this problem following an approach Open, Innovative and Sustainable?  


All questions related to this RFP Process should be directed to: globalinsfrastructurenetworks@enel.com


Challenge rules

Explain your proposal in english, attach documents if needed and support the idea focusing on the following key drivers:


  • Presentation of the proposal, outline and how the technology works;
  • Development stage (Under lab-scale development / Under development for practical use / Implemented for practical use);
  • Technical comparison between SF6 insulated equipment and the equipment with the proposal technology. Pros and cons;
  • R&D capability;
  • Environment impact of the proposed technology;
  • Current performance indicating voltage level, breaking capacity value and dimensions;
  • Past record of application for similar purposes (such as technical papers or other documentation for introducing your developed product);
  • Issues expected toward application of this project;
  • Sample testing conditions:
    • Available sample quantity;
    • Cost;
    • Required time.
  • Pilots realized : pilots with type test realized in accredited laboratory (Attach dossier)
  • Pilot installed in field:
    • Attach dossier
    • Date, company, location
    • Technical information about the equipment
  • Maintenance of the equipment with the new technology
    • Instrumentation
    • Activities and periodicity;
    • Manipulation skills;
    • Possible legal considerations.
  • Prospect for scaling up
  • Costs/benefits analysis


The proposals will be admitted until October 15th, 2018 and the evaluation will start after this date.


In the Annex “CSA innovationbyvendors” you can find the complete Regulation of the Challenge, that you will accept once you submit your solution to this challenge.

What happens next?

An Enel technical panel will evaluate the response using the following criteria:

  • Overall scientific and technical merit of the proposed approach;
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance;
  • Potential for proprietary position (i.e., is the technology novel or protectable);
  • Economic potential of concept;
  • Respondent’s capabilities and related experience;
  • Realism of the proposed plan and cost estimates.


Once suitable proposals will be identified Enel will reserve the opportunity to assign a direct contract to one or more than one Supplier regarding the following activities:

  1. Type Testing execution;
  2. Supply of prototypes of the above mentioned equipment;
  3. Installation and site tests;
  4. Follow up and monitoring of the equipment behavior during a specified time (e.g. 2 years).


By submitting a response, you acknowledge that Enel reserves the sole and absolute right and discretion to select for award all, some, or none of the responses received for this announcement. Enel also may choose to select only specific tasks within a proposal for award. Enel has the sole and absolute discretion to determine all award amounts. Enel will contact respondents with highly responsive proposals for next steps.


GSH001 rev 2

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CSA Innovation by Vendors Sustainable Alternatives to SF6

PDF (0.03MB) Download

GSM001 Rev. 00

PDF (1.2MB) Download