Climate change: Electrical industry’s ‘dirty secret’ boosts warming – claims BBC

Posted: September 13, 2019 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy
Tags: , , ,

High-voltage switchgear [image credit: Dingy @ Wikipedia]

The BBC loves its so-called ‘greenhouse gases’ and is convinced they control the climate, but forgets that they mostly consist of water vapour and the alleged effects are based on failing climate models. Now it seems the dash for renewable electricity is adding even more of these supposedly fearsome molecules to the poor defenceless atmosphere. Clean, green electricity? Not quite. How will climate miserablists cope with this shocking – to them – news?

It’s the most powerful greenhouse gas you’ve never heard of, and levels in the atmosphere are soaring,wails the BBC.

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road.

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.

Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations.

It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return.

It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years [according to the BBC].

Full report here.

  1. It’s sad really. The green nutters want to install thousands of wind turbines which each use breaker for the 4MW electrical output. At the end of the line, another breaker is fitted. A minimum of two breakers per 4MW wind turbine.

    A hundred or two of these wind turbines are used to replace one conventional power station, say 800MW. Inside the 800MW station you probably have four 200MW generators, each with a breaker or two.

    That’s wind = 50 4MW @ two breakers each for 200MW

    Conventional station = 1 200MW @ two breakers each for 200MW

    And they are concerned that the amount of SF6 in use is increasing!!!!!!

    Who is a fault here?????

    A good item of SF6 versus vacuum breakers here:

  2. tomo says:

    Astonished they haven’t zeroed in on Wimbledon / Pro Tennis

    as I understand it some tennis ballsare filled with the demon gas

  3. Stuart Brown says:

    Wot I said on but more relevant here:

    I read this in Wikipedia, for want of the energy to look for a more erudite source:

    ‘… [SF6] used to fill Nike Air bags in all of their shoes from 1992-2006’ which amused me for some reason.

    ‘SF6 is used to provide a tamponade or plug of a retinal hole in retinal detachment repair operations[15] in the form of a gas bubble. It is inert in the vitreous chamber[16] and initially doubles its volume in 36 hours before being absorbed in the blood in 10–14 days’

    Ermm – it dissolves in blood relatively quickly but ‘has an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 800–3200 years’? I can’t think of a huge body of salty liquid that it might dissolve in however slightly. (‘Solubility in water – 0.003% (25 °C)

    But I think the killer is Mauna Loa observatory:

    Yes, that’s 7.5 parts per trillion (but, yes we shouldn’t throw our crap out of the window, so it’s bad)

    ‘Given the small amounts of SF6 released compared to carbon dioxide, its overall contribution to global warming is estimated to be less than 0.2 percent.’

    Move along, move along…

  4. Stuart Brown says:

    Link to Mauna Loa didn’t copy…

  5. oldbrew says:

    ‘It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).’

    Must make blowtorches look tame 😋

  6. karabar says:

    23,500 x ZERO is still ZERO.

  7. EternalOptimist says:

    Don’t mock
    I had some in my bedroom once.
    Couldn’t sleep due to the heat. I ended up slipping the duvet and spraying myself with water.

    feel guilty about the water vapour actually..

  8. Where is the proof that SF6 absorbs more radiation than CO2 (which absorbs a small amount only in the wavelength of 14.8 micron). They lie about CH4 which absorbs about one tenth of the radiation of C02 at around 8 micron where it is overlapped by H2Og see here IPPC and greens are good at lying. The amount of CH4 in the atmosphere is about 1.7 ppm (v) a small fraction of CO2 at 400 ppm (which in a minor trace gas). The error of measurement of SF6 is such that it would be impossible to say any could be detected in the atmosphere. For CH4 one can say 1/10 of 1.7/400 of zero (effect on atmosphere) is zero. For SF6 I suggest it is zero*zero*zero -prove with true facts some other result.

  9. oldbrew says:

    The thermal conductivity of this gas is not very high, it is even lower than air.
    . . .
    …this gas has an excellent cooling effect at high temperature although the thermal conductivity of SF6 is not very high.
    [bold added – see link for explanation]

    Structure of SF6 molecule – one sulphur atom surrounded by six fluorine atoms.

  10. oldbrew says:

    From the BBC report:

    The EU will review the use of SF6 next year and will examine whether alternatives are available. However, even the most optimistic experts don’t think that any ban is likely to be put in place before 2025.

    But that’s just the EU. Is anyone else bothered?

  11. Coeur de Llon says:

    Take a gulp of ten thousand molecules of fresh air. In 1850 it would have contained just under three molecules of CO2. Today it contains just over four molecules. We’re all gonna die.

  12. It doesn't add up... says:

    There must be a massive decline in tennis ball production:

    A chart that seems strangely missing form the BBC report. I don;t have the heart to complain, but perhaps someone should.

  13. stpaulchuck says:

    “Electrical company Eaton, which manufactures switchgear without SF6, says its research indicates that for the full life-cycle of the product, leaks could be as high as 15% – much higher than many other estimates.” So if the gear lasts 20 years then the leak rate is less than 1% per year.

    Gee, a company that does not use it tells us we’re all going to die if we do. So… buy THEIR products. Hmmm, I think I see an issue here.

    then there’s the graph of atmospheric concentrations… in parts per TRILLION, while CO2 and the rest of the Satanic gases are in parts per MILLION, three orders of magnitude larger. If you plotted the SF6 on the same chart you couldn’t see it. Duh. Then there’s this magical number of how much more atmospheric heating the SF6 contributes compared to CO2. Based on what, and by whom? “It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).” In what manner? I don’t see a link to the vetted scientific testing and studies that came up with that number.
    more scare stories for the cheap seats, especially considering the extremely likely solar minimum coming up which will drop the temperature significantly a la LIA.

  14. It doesn't add up... says:

    The data here (p 34 table ES2):

    Click to access 1905151122_ukghgi-90-17_Main_Issue_2_final.pdf

    show UK emissions for SF6 as 0.5MtCO2e against total emissions of 474.3MTCO2e (excl LULCF). About 0.1% of the total. Talk about making mountains out of molehills.

  15. hunterson7 says:

    23,500 X CO2….
    Hmmmm…too evil to be likely…

  16. oldbrew says:

    Any excuse for the BBC to crank out another fake alarmist headline.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Now the climate alarm crew at The Conversation propaganda site is wheeling out the ‘heat-trapping gases’ nonsense again. And this dud:

    It shouldn’t be surprising that a small amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can have a big effect. We take pills that are a tiny fraction of our body mass and expect them to affect us.

    Hopeless :/

    And they even headline a section with this : ‘A blanket in the atmosphere’.
    Pseudoscience all the way down.

  18. ivan says:

    oldbrew, we shouldn’t be surprised at the increased hype regarding ‘climate change’, it has been forecast to happen just before the UN Church of Climatology mass meeting.

  19. Each SF6 circuit breaker contains three domestic thermos flask sized individual switches. I am not sure of the volume of gas in each breaker but it is not very much.

  20. oldbrew says:

    SF6 use is only half what it was 20 years ago.