Italian power distribution system operator goes green with ABB's AirPlus technology

ENEL e-distribuzione, one of Italy’s biggest power distribution grid operators, selects 150 panels of ABB’s eco-efficient AirPlus™ technology

Italian power distribution system operator goes green with ABB's AirPlus technology

The first installations of the eco-efficient medium-voltage switchgear UniSec AirPlus DY800 has been made in e-distribuzione’s grid in Italy. Within 2019, ABB will deliver in total over 150 panels to make the customer’s grid greener.

“Businesses now demand technology that enables them to make smart and sustainable choices, to reduce their operational expenses while enhancing their eco-efficiency,” said Alessandro Palin, Managing Director of ABB’s distribution solutions business line, part of its Electrification business. “Choosing ABB's eco-efficient technologies helps customers to deliver superior services and build a greener future for all.”

ENEL e-distribuzione is one of the largest power distribution system operators in Italy. They serve 31.5 million customers across Italy and operate an extensive distribution grid with a total of over 1.1 million kilometers (km) of cables.

To stay at the forefront, ENEL e-distribuzione embraces new technologies to optimize their network and its operations. In addition, they have a firm commitment to making sustainable choices and support SF6 alternatives. Rising to the challenge, ABB offered to develop a switchgear with ABB’s climate-friendly AirPlus technology to meet their needs.

AirPlus is a pioneering innovation from ABB, a climate-friendly alternative to SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride). SF6 is traditionally used in gas-insulated electrical equipment but is a potent greenhouse gas. AirPlus insulation gas reduces the global warming potential (GWP) by 99.99 percent compared to SF6.

ABB’s UniSec DY800 secondary air-insulated switchgear, is designed for up to 24 kilovolts (kV), and well-known to ENEL e-distribuzione and their operating personnel. ABB has provided medium-voltage switchgear to ENEL according to their DY800 specification for many years. The HySec, a combined circuit breaker and disconnector, is a key component in the UniSec and it uses SF6 as insulation gas.

ABB developed the next-generation of the HySec with AirPlus, to be used in the new and climate-friendly UniSec AirPlus DY800. As the dimensions and operating principle remain the same as the well-known conventional product, switching to the eco-efficient alternative was smooth for the customer.

To verify functionality of the new switchgear in different climate conditions during real-life operation, ENEL e-distribuzione has installed the units in different locations. The first eco-efficient switchgear are in operation at high altitude (700 m above sea level) near Milan in Northern Italy, as well as on the island of Sardinia, exposed to marine ambient conditions.

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