As part of a specialist services contract PBA manage the distribution and returns of all Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) gas for Transpower. PBA provide testing and consolidation of any returned and expended SF6 cylinders. Following an SF6 cylinder amnesty, over 200 cylinders were returned providing plenty of work for PBA’s SF6 team to get on with. PBA have been weighing each cylinder and then testing and categorising these cylinders as new gas, reusable gas and contaminated gas. Cylinders with an existing LAB numbers but with expired inspection dates were evacuated of all their gas and then inspected. Those which were then assessed as being in good condition were sent to test certifiers for recertification, on return these cylinders were ready for re-use.
Another area of specialist SF6 service PBA have been providing has been to procure cylinders that meet the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines which are widely regarded as the most robust and demanding requirements in the world. Cylinders identified as not meeting the EPA requirements have been evacuated of all SF6 and then appropriately disposed of to ensure they were not refilled and re-used. From the consolidation project, over 1,600 Kg of sufficiently pure (reusable) SF6 gas has now been made available for reuse with a further 600 Kg awaiting processing. This ensures there is still a significant amount of gas available for use on Transpower equipment.
Utilising PBA’s bespoke gas management database has allowed for exact details of the gas recovered and made available for reuse. Gas that was identified as not being fit for consolidation due to its contamination has been quarantined awaiting appropriate disposal.
There’s a lot to think about when dealing with SF6 gas stocks and the team at PBA are well versed in not only the legislative requirements but also the many technical challenges associated with working with SF6.