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Associated topic: greenhouse effect

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Sources of the pollutant

The sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) group of substances is produced exclusively by chemical synthesis and used in a variety of technical applications, for example as a dielectric coating agent and circuit breaker in electrical equipment and as a protective gas in magnesium smelting.


Effect of the pollutant

SF6 contributes to the greenhouse effect. It has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 22 800, i.e. 22 800 times the GWP of CO2, the reference greenhouse gas (GWP CO2 = 1) (GWP values from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s fourth assessment report published in 2007).

At high concentrations, SF6 can cause asphyxiation by starving air of oxygen.


Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Electricity production 40%
2 Industrial and transport equipment including: 37% including:
Other use of SF6 22%
Electric equipments 15%
Electronic components manufacturing 0.9%
3 Non ferrous metals production 7.4%
4 Tertiary sector 7.3%

*: one sector (of six altogether: energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 486 kt CO2e in 2014
Maximum observed: 2 752 kt CO2e in 1998
Emissions in 2015: 518 kt CO2e
Trends 2015/1990: -76.6%
Trends 2015/maximum: -81.2%
Trends 2015/minimum: +6.5%

Measurement unit: kt CO2e (kilotonne CO2 équivalent)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Graph SF6 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab SF6 17

(*) Following UNFCCC definitions: emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international waterway, maritime and air transport and emissions not from human sources.
(e) preliminary estimate



Among the different sectors, only three contribute to SF6 emissions, in mainland France, which were as follows in 2015, in order of importance:... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)


Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017

Other use of SF6