How we behave in our daily life has an impact: on our world, nature and climate. At ABB, we have always taken a sustainable approach to business. Sustainable development means progress towards a healthier and more prosperous world for future generations, and electricity distribution infrastructure is a key enabler.
A great example of how we push the boundaries of power grid technology to enable a low-carbon society, is our latest project with Enel, where we deliver SF6-free switchgear technology for medium-voltage (MV) distribution networks.
The traditional gas used in gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), SF6, although very reliable, is a greenhouse gas, harmless for human beings but contributing to climate change. Through ABB’s pioneering innovation, AirPlus, we now have a sustainable alternative to SF6 that reduces the global warming potential (GWP) by almost 100 percent.
Enel and ABB have already collaborated successfully on two SF6-free projects for the Italian multinational, a world leader in managing distribution networks with more than 2.2 million km of managed lines and connecting more than 74 million customers to electricity grids in 8 countries. ABB delivered UniSec AirPlus DY800 pilot installations to Enel Infrastructure and Networks in Italy in 2019. ABB also won Enel’s international “Innovation by Vendors challenge” last year – and will deliver the new SafePlus switchgear with the SF6-free load break switch within Q1 2021.
What makes this third order from Enel so special is that it results from a regular, public tender for SF6-free switchgear highlighting the company’s commitment to procuring sustainable power grid solutions in the international markets. ABB is among the awarded suppliers, thanks to its proven AirPlus switchgear solution, which has been in the market for over five years and is now performing successfully in many parts of the world.
“This project confirms Enel’s commitment towards a net-zero emission world: we are constantly looking to collaborate with partners to explore innovative and sustainable solutions for the management of our grids worldwide, in order to contribute to the long-term progress of the communities where we operate,” said Massimo Bartolucci, Head of MV and LV components, Enel Global Infrastructure and Networks Division. “In line with this vision, we are working on the identification of new technologies to replace the SF6 gas of our switchgear calling for highly technological, reliable and environmentally advanced grid technologies.”
Enel’s technical specification describes the need for high electrical and mechanical performance, also embedding accurate measurement instruments in the equipment. In response to this request, ABB developed two new functional switchgear units with AirPlus fuse panel and AirPlus high-end circuit breaker. It is the first time that SF6-free switchgear technology is being installed with these demanding specifications in Italy. The grid connected solution, that has been specifically developed for utility applications, will support customers all over Europe in transitioning from SF6 and achieving their sustainability targets.
This third project with Enel is another great example of the collaboration between Enel and ABB and reflects the relationship between both companies and their shared vision for smarter and sustainable electrification.
“This joint project represents for Enel and us an important next step towards enabling a low-carbon society. We are committed to sustainable development and are proud that our ecoGIS portfolio contributes to a greener future," said Alessandro Palin, President of ABB’s Distribution Solutions division.