Global warming is the gradual increase in the surface temperature of earth due to excess greenhouse gas accumulation and air pollution. An ozone layer protects the earth’s atmosphere from harmful ultravoilet rays and solar radiation. On the other hand, a greenhouse gas can partially absorb and emit sunlight by not allowing it to completely bounce-off the earth’s surface. Hence, small amount of greenhouse gases are necessary for life sustainability on earth. The primary greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Without these gases, the earth’s temperature would be much lower and life shall become inhospitable.

Due to the industridual revolution and various human activities there is a constant rise in the carbon dioxide concentration in earth’s atmosphere. Besides, deforestation, overpopulation, and various natural calamities are contributing towards increased greenhouse gas emission and global warming. These factors have direct or indirect global warming potential (GWP) that leads to rapid climate change, and habitation losses. The 2016 Paris Climate Agreement emphasizes on the immediate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid global warming.  Therefore, many industries including power sector are switching to eco-friendly, biodegradable, and non-conventional materials as alternatives.

How is SF6 related to global warming?

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), developed in early 20th century, is an inorganic, non-toxic, and stable gas that has many electro-technical applications. The gas insulated switchgear (GIS) is a popular example of SF6 application due to its higher dielectric strength, density, and electronegativity as compared to air. The self-healing of SF6 also promotes its use for arc-quenching purposes.

However, SF6 is a green house gas with global warming potential (GWP) 24000 times higher than carbon dioxide. The life-cycle management costs while handling SF6-filled aged equipments is also high. It will rise further with energy demands and need for gas-filled medium and high voltage switchgears. Therefore, power sector is working feverishly on eco-friendly SF6 alternatives for application in electrical industry. Their primary concern is to retain the insulation efficiency and partial discharge resistance of SF6 in the alternate gases, particularly for GIS.

How artificial intelligence can help?

Typically, effectiveness of alternate materials varies with long-term exposure to operational assets. These approaches can be very costly, time-intensive, and risky. Besides, a non-expert may not be able to filter redundant/irrelevant data to extract insightful information. Hence, intelligent methods are necessary that can collect, store, and handle such data to forecast the behavoral anomalies in a simple and interactive manner.

Computational intelligence-based strategies for process optimization are popular due to their cost-effectiveness. Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the holistic observation on the performance of assets filled with alternate gases by storing and analyzing any peculiarities. In fact, pattern recognition of such assets may be helpful in forecasting the trend of behaviour anomalies by comparing them with previous SF6-based data. It is obvious that the behaviour of these new gases may be significantly different that SF6, particular with long-term exposure.  

New Frontiers

The key to such applications is the integration of AI-platform with signal-processing and communication routers. It can assist in real-time analysis and anomaly identification. It can be relatively flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing shape functions.

SeetaLabs is re-inventing predictive maintenance practices in transformer industry using AI. We are working enthusiastically to develop a specific tool for such purposes on a relatively low-cost, energy intensive, and robust platform. Get in touch with us at to know more about our work, or book a free demo with us right away!

This article is by Mr. Alberto Zotto (Domain Advisor, SeetaLabs). To known more about Alberto click here!