University of Manchester: University of Manchester supporting National Grid’s Strategic Innovation Fund – Sustainable Electrical Gas Insulated Lines

The University of Manchester is supporting a Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) from Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). This project will investigate the feasibility of delivering a SF6-free Gas Insulated Line (GIL) solution to provide cost competitive, high-capacity transmission connections over 2000 MVA to increase available network capacity for new offshore wind generation at scale to homes and businesses across the UK. The project will look at the options to replace SF6 with alternative low carbon footprint gases as a viable means of GIL insulation.

The Fund announced on 1st March 2022 supports the feasibility study and will see Dr Tony Chen investigate the feasibility of a SF6-free GIL solution in providing high-capacity transmission connections over long-distance.

Current generation of GIL are filled with sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 23,500 times more harmful than CO2. The project will explore SF6 alternatives with significantly lower carbon footprint.


Now is the time for innovation and to develop a grid of the future that manages soaring demand for electricity, while lowering the potential environmental impact and ensuring the UK has access to affordable and resilient electricity supply.

Dr Chen, Lecturer in High Voltage Engineering



The feasibility stage will be undertaken by Dr Chen at The University of Manchester, which hosts the largest academic High Voltage Laboratory in the country. It has facilities that can test up to 600 kV DC, 800 kV AC, and 2 MV impulse.

Dr Chen, Lecturer in High Voltage Engineering within the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: “Now is the time for innovation and to develop a grid of the future that manages soaring demand for electricity, while lowering the potential environmental impact and ensuring the UK has access to affordable and resilient electricity supply.

“At Manchester, we are committed to delivering a just and prosperous net zero energy, and are honoured to work alongside National Grid and the other project partners who share the same technical and civic ambitions.”

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