Sulfur hexafluoride is a non-toxic inert gas that is widely used for insulating and cooling applications in the electric & power industry owing to its superior thermal stability and excellent dielectric strength. Sulfur hexafluoride has key applications in electric power transmission and distribution systems such as gas insulated switchgears (GISs), circuit breakers (CBs), and load break switches due to its electrical insulation property and arc interruption capability. The product has applications in power & energy, metal manufacturing, and electronics industries. The sulfur hexafluoride is an excellent electrical interrupter due to properties such as high dielectric strength, high thermal stability, high density, low heat transfer, non-toxic, and chemically inertness.
In terms of grade, the global sulfur hexafluoride market has been bifurcated into electronic and technical. The technical grade segment accounts for a significant share of the market due to its key applications in high voltage and medium voltage circuit breakers and switchgears devices. The grade has purity of 99.9%.Electronic grade of sulfur hexafluoride has purity grade of (>99.999%). It has applications as an etching agent in plasma processing of semiconductor manufacturing industry.
Sulfur hexafluoride gas is utilized in leak detection applications and as a gaseous dielectric for circuit breakers, transformers, and condensers. Moreover, sulfur hexafluoride gas has applications in the semiconductor industry, as an effective etchant. Electrical transmission and distribution is a major segment of the global sulfur hexafluoride market. Sulfur hexafluoride is extensively employed in electrical transmission and distribution applications such as circuit breakers and switch gear devices. Direct substitute, having similar dielectric strength and nontoxic properties, of sulfur hexafluoride is unavailable in the market. In terms of volume and value, the technical grade segment accounted for market share of 60% in 2017.
It is a rapidly expanding segment of the market. Growth of the electricity sector to cater to ever-increasing demand for electricity across the globe drives the market. Sulfur hexafluoride has a greenhouse potential (GWP) of 23500 for 100 years. It is a key greenhouse gas; therefore, regulations have been implemented in the international policy to regulate its emissions.