With AirPlus™ technology, Enel and ABB are building a greener future together

With AirPlus™ technology, Enel and ABB are building a greener future together

ABB is writing the future of sustainable energy distribution by extending its SF6-free medium-voltage (MV) switchgear portfolio. Having developed a new load break switch, ABB is partnering with multinational energy company Enel to bring technology to the market that is considerably better for the environment.

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that human activity is responsible for an increase in global temperatures over the past century. ABB has been offering sustainable switchgear solutions that use alternative gases to sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) since 2013.

A proven technology in the market since 2015, ABB’s pioneering innovation, AirPlus, is a sustainable alternative to SF6. AirPlus insulation gas reduces the global warming potential (GWP) by almost 100 percent.

ABB has now unveiled an innovative addition to the medium-voltage (MV) portfolio, launching a SF6-free load break switch (LBS), that can be used for ring main units (RMUs) up to 24 kilovolt (kV).

Load break switches are widely utilized in MV secondary switchgear. In conventional RMUs with SF6, an LBS is typically a simple knife-type switch. When switching to SF6-alternatives, the knife-type switches do not perform well. To meet this challenge, ABB has developed an LBS based on puffer interruption technology that is optimized for SF6-alternative gases. This new LBS paves the way for the next generation of eco-efficient RMUs, which offer the same compact dimensions in an easily operated and cost-effective design.  

Enel Global Infrastructure & Networks collaborated with ABB for a joint development project of RMUs with the new LBS. To stay at the forefront Enel embraces new technologies to optimize its networks and its operations. In addition, it has a strong commitment to making sustainable choices and supporting various SF6 alternatives, supporting the fulfilment of Enel Group’s commitment to the 13th SDG goal – Climate Action.

Last year, Enel and ABB successfully collaborated on the first green project. ABB delivered 150 UniSec AirPlus DY800 panels to Enel in Italy. This secondary air-insulated switchgear is designed for up to 24 kV and uses AirPlus instead of SF6 in the HySec vacuum-switch disconnector.  

Enel’s “Innovation by Vendors challenge”, which terminated mid-2019, is another great example of collaboration between Enel and ABB. The challenge was aimed at finding alternative solutions to the use of SF6 gas as an insulating and/or interrupting medium within MV and HV equipment. As a winner of the MV part of the “Innovation by Vendors challenge”, ABB is collaborating with Enel to embed the innovative switch into a complete RMU solution. Key benefits for Enel with this project are to acquire a tailored solution specific to its requirements using ABB’s SF6-free switchgear units. The switchgear panels will be delivered in Q3, 2020. This new joint project represents for both companies an important next step towards sustainable energy distribution.  

“At ABB, we are committed to developing innovative technologies that help combat the causes of climate change. Our sustainable solutions, like AirPlus, support customers to make smart choices. Together we are building a greener future," said Alessandro Palin, Managing Director of ABB’s Distribution Solutions business line.


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