Key projects around the world

Innovative, sustainable, challenging and rewarding

Day in, day out, our work is making the world a better place.

ABB's employees are constantly working on many challenges to lower the environmental impact from power generation, transmission and consumption. Here is a sample of recent projects that demonstrates the breadth of our work.
Cleaner transportation
Future smart grids
Energy efficiency in metals
As a global leader in power and automation technologies, ABB is playing a vital role in the development of sustainable mobility.

In May 2013, we launched the world's first rapid-charge electric bus in Geneva, Switzerland. Able to carry 133 passengers, the quiet, battery-operated vehicle produces zero emissions and can recharge in 15-second bursts, automatically docking with chargers mounted on top of bus stops.

Our solutions help car drivers to go green as well. For instance, ABB DC chargers for electric vehicles can reduce charging time from 8 hours to a maximum of 30 minutes.

There is a trend of installing charging stations across Europe and North America at locations such as office buildings, parking lots and shopping malls. This expansion of the charging network removes one of the main barriers to the acceptance of the next generation of electric cars.

Since launching Europe's first commercially operated fast-charging station in the Netherlands in May 2010, we have installed many DC charging stations and networks throughout the region. For example, in 2013, we built a network of 170 fast chargers throughout Estonia, creating the world's first DC charging infrastructure with nationwide coverage.

"The fact that recharging is so easy is one of the main reasons more and more Estonians will decide in favor of electric cars in the future," said Estonia's Minister of the Environment, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus.
As demand for renewable energy continues to rise rapidly worldwide, we need to ensure supply is more reliable and more efficient. 

Our pioneering high-voltage direct current (HVDC) circuit breaker solves a 100-year-old engineering puzzle, making it possible for operators to connect and balance electrical load between power superhighways for the first time. 

HVDC lines transport bulk power across long distances, making them essential for linking urban consumers with remote renewable sources, such as hydro, offshore wind or solar power. 

Until now, however, HVDC lines could not be connected into a grid, making it impossible to balance supply and demand or ensure reliability in the event of blackouts.

Our hybrid circuit breaker makes next-generation smart grids possible by stopping power flows of up to 1 GW in five milliseconds; that is equivalent to halting the output of a nuclear power station 30 times faster than the blink of a human eye. As a result, power surges can be prevented and supply can be networked away from faulty lines, preventing blackouts.

The breakthrough was voted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as one of the ten most disruptive technologies of 2013. It promises a new era in grid technology and is a major achievement for the global R&D team in ABB that has worked on the challenge for many years.
Aluminium is one of the most common metals on Earth, but extracting it has always been an electricity-intensive process, comprising up to 30 percent of the metal's value. As a result, the industry is continuously looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the smelting process.

We have more than 80 years of experience in power conversion for smelter applications. Today, we lead in this area with a global market share of 50 percent. We have successful projects around the world, including the world's largest aluminum plant in Qatar and Europe's largest plant at Sunndal, Norway.

Since opening the site at Sunndal in February 2004, Hydro, the operator, has improved productivity of the plant by 15 percent and increased energy efficiency by 25 percent. We have contributed to that improvement with a comprehensive power and automation solution. It encompasses process-enabling technologies like rectifier groups and process control systems, harmonic filter banks, integrated switchgear modules and low voltage and DC voltage distribution systems.

We were responsible for all aspects of the solution – design, delivery, erection, testing, commissioning and completion.