ABB develops hybrid circuit breaker

The breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of direct current transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy

Cary, N.C., November 7, 2012 — ABB developed a circuit breaker for high voltage direct current that combines very fast mechanics with power electronics, and will be capable of interrupting power flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within five milliseconds — 30 times faster than the blink of a human eye.

The breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of direct current transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy.

DC grids will also improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing AC (alternating current) networks. ABB is in discussions with power utilities to identify pilot projects for the new development.

The Hybrid HVDC breaker development has been a flagship research project for ABB, which invests over $1 billion annually in R&D activities.

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

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