ABB unveils innovations in the eco-efficient medium-voltage portfolio at CIRED 2019

On show: a prototype for ABB’s next-generation SafeRing/SafePlus switchgear introducing a revolutionary load break switch. And UniSec switchgear with the new HySec AirPlus - already in use in Italy.

ABB unveils innovations in the eco-efficient medium-voltage portfolio at CIRED 2019

In its relentless pursuit to offer sustainable choices, ABB has launched an eco-efficient portfolio of products that use alternative gases to sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas, widely used in gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) and switches.

At CIRED 2019, the leading international conference and exhibition on electricity distribution, ABB unveils innovations and additions to the medium-voltage (MV) eco-efficient portfolio. ABB showcases a 12/24 kilovolt (kV) prototype of the next-generation of ring main units (RMUs) with an innovative SF6-free load break switch, and the air-insulated switchgear UniSec with HySec AirPlus.

AirPlus is a sustainability innovation from ABB, offering a green alternative to SF6. It is a fluoroketone-based gas mixture, which boasts a 99.9 percent lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to SF6. In addition to AirPlus, the eco-efficient portfolio also includes Dry Air, which is a natural gas and suitable for lower voltage applications up to 12 kV.

Load break switches (LBS) are widely utilized in MV secondary switchgear, e.g. in RMUs, assigned with the task of switching load currents. In conventional RMUs with SF6, a LBS is typically a simple knife-type switch. When switching to eco-efficient alternatives, where the gases have a lower arc interrupting performance, the knife-type switches do not perform well. To meet this challenge, ABB is now presenting a LBS based on puffer interruption technology that also works with SF6- alternative gases.

The new LBS prototype for AirPlus or Dry Air paves the way for the next-generation of climate-friendly RMUs. The new RMUs will offer the same compact dimensions in an easily operated and cost-effective design.

ABB also exhibits a customer-specific version of the eco-efficient UniSec AirPlus. Instead of the typically used SF6-based HySec, a combined circuit breaker and disconnector, the new HySec AirPlus with climate-friendly insulation gas is installed.

The customer is e-distribuzione, an Italian distribution system operator and a part of ENEL group. Within 2019, ABB will deliver over 150 panels of UniSec AirPlus, according to the customer’s DY800 specification. As with all other products in the eco-efficient portfolio, the UniSec AirPlus DY800 maintains the same footprint, safety and reliability as the well-known conventional product.

e-distribuzione wants to verify functionality of the new switchgear in different climate conditions during real-life operation. They have installed some units at 700 m above sea level near Milan in Northern Italy, as well as on the island of Sardinia. This technology fulfills ENEL’s and e-distribuzione’s firm commitment to making environmentally sound choices.

“At CIRED, we’re able to present yet more examples of how ABB differentiates itself through technology and innovation,” said Alessandro Palin, Managing Director of ABB's Distribution Solutions within the Electrification business. “Limiting the impact on the environment is vital when developing the infrastructure of tomorrow. We deliver unique value to our customers with our eco-efficient technology solutions.”

On show at CIRED is also the ZX2 AirPlus switchgear for single or double busbar applications up to 36kV (IEC standard). Customers can freely choose the preferred technology: filled with SF6, AirPlus, or as ‘Ready-for-AirPlus’ - the choice for businesses that want to be prepared to switch to the eco-efficient alternative in the future. ZX2 AirPlus is also available in 40.5 kV (GB standard) for the Chinese market.

CIRED takes place every two years and this year participants from all over the world are gathering in Madrid, Spain to interact and learn about the latest developments in the field. Visit ABB at CIRED, booth G11, to learn more about ABB’s smart, safe and sustainable offering.

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