ABB solves ‘100-year old electrical puzzle’

A power and technology firm claims it has solved a “100-year old puzzle” by developing the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC). ABB claims the breakthrough […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A power and technology firm claims it has solved a “100-year old puzzle” by developing the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC).

ABB claims the breakthrough will enable a more efficient and reliable electricity supply system capable of “interrupting” energy flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within five milliseconds. The technology combines very fast mechanics with power electronics and is expected to enable efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy and improve grid reliability.

HVDC technology is needed to facilitate long distance transfer of power from hydropower plants, the integration of offshore wind power and the interconnection of different power networks.

Joe Hogan, CEO of the company said: “ABB has written a new chapter in the history of electrical engineering. This historical breakthrough will make it possible to build the grid of the future. Overlay DC grids will be able to interconnect countries and continents, balance loads and reinforce the existing AC transmission networks.”

ABB is in discussions with power companies to build pilot projects for the new development.