Powering ­sustainability

Powering ­sustainability

ABB’s power products are now accredited with the PEP Ecopassport®, a recognition of sterling environmental performance throughout their life cycle; this enables customers to make decisions about the sustainability of their product choices.

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Alana Tapp, Fabian Keller, Nick Elliott, Jorge Unamo, Erik Solak ABB Electrification Napier, New Zealand, alana.tapp@nz.abb.com, fabian.keller@nz.abb.com, jorge.unamo@nz.abb.com, erik.solak@nz.abb.com, nick.elliott@nz.abb.com

Achieving carbon neutrality is not simply a vision at ABB, it is a commitment [1]. With global technology sectors accounting for three quarters of global energy consumption, carbon reduction is an issue that ABB can do something about. Not only is ABB reducing its own operational carbon footprint by continuing to transition to renewable energy and vastly improving energy efficiency inhouse, it is also undertaking everything it can to help customers reduce theirs, without diminishing productivity.

How does ABB actually help customers achieve sustainability targets? By partnering with customers, suppliers and other leading organizations to reduce emissions, ABB actively works to implement sustainable practices across the entire value chain and the lifecycle of ABB’s products and solutions. Such practices are especially important for industries such as global shipping and mission critical facilities eg, data centers, that require vast supplies of clean and reliable power; by reducing their carbon footprint these industries can reduce their environmental impact while lowering energy costs.

01 Growth in data centers is resulting in increases in power needs and with this comes sustainability challenges. ©Gorodenkoff/stock.adobe.com
01 Growth in data centers is resulting in increases in power needs and with this comes sustainability challenges. ©Gorodenkoff/stock.adobe.com

In 2021, two of ABB’s products: SureWave, a static frequency converter (SFC), designed specifically for the shipping industry, and HiPerGuard Medium Voltage (MV) Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), designed for data center use, secured the Product Environmental Profile (PEP) Ecopassport® accreditation; this assessment verifies the environmental performance of products throughout their life cycle, within an international reference framework [2]. With such accreditation, ABB enables their customers to make better decisions about the sustainability of power conditioning products based on established and verified criteria.

Partnerships for sustainability
Together with PEP, an association of manufacturers, users, institutions and professional organizations, ABB demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and the ability to anticipate essential legislation [2].

Recently recognized as a permanent member of the Environmental Footprint (EF) sub-group of the European Union, PEP implements the Ecopassport® program; this initiative verifies stringent performance criteria throughout the electric and electronic components of a heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) product’s life cycle: manufacturing, distribution, installation, use, and end-of-life [2]. By meeting reliability, transparency, comparability and verification of environmental performance indicators, accredited products are fully aligned with the UN sustainability program and various international standards such as ISO 14025 and ISO 14040. The Ecopassport® is thus, an important tool to help customers choose appropriate suppliers based on sustainability.

Winning power condition products
In addition to participating in PEP, ABB has secured Ecopassport® accreditation for two power conditioning products: SureWave SFC and HiPerGuard MV UPS that achieve superior results in their specific target industries. Each of these products provides the end-customer with the means to use cleaner power, reduce CO₂ emissions and lower their energy costs throughout the products’ entire life cycle – all without having to sacrifice reliability, productivity, and overall cost-effectiveness.

HiPerGuard MV UPS
Data centers and other mission critical facilities are now, more than ever, in need of clean, continuous, energy-efficient, and reliable power – minimizing major losses both in terms of performance and finance [3]. Switching from a low voltage (LV) to a medium voltage (MV) design approach can help to attain these goals. More reliability results from the MV design of larger protected load blocks, lower switchgear count and the general operation of MV voltage systems. Moreover, installing power protection at the MV level, results in the most energy efficient configuration: Lower currents mean smaller cables and lower losses [4].

02 HiPerGuard MV UPS was designed to meet the requirements of a large data center: availability, performance, efficiency, cost effectiveness, flexibility and scalability while offering grid support functions; all with maximum sustainability throughout its entire life cycle.
02 HiPerGuard MV UPS was designed to meet the requirements of a large data center: availability, performance, efficiency, cost effectiveness, flexibility and scalability while offering grid support functions; all with maximum sustainability throughout its entire life cycle.

ABB’s HiPerGuard MV UPS, which secured the Ecopassport® label in 2021, is the first industry MV UPS to provide continuous and reliable power supply of up to 24 kV, per block, for mission critical facilities, such as data centers, to protect servers and mechanical loads [3].

This MV UPS solution, launched in 2021, achieves the highest energy efficiency on the market today, thereby supporting customers in their quest for sustainability. HiPerGuard can reach 98 percent energy efficiency (for the load spectrum from 50 percent up to full rated load; and above 96 percent for a 25 to 50 percent load¹) at a voltage up to 24 kV while eliminating power outages and reducing carbon emissions. Such energy efficiency could translate to a potential carbon emission reduction of 1,245 tons over a typical 15-year product lifespan²[3].

Thanks to its high-performance converters – designed using ABB proprietary power electronics technology, combined with the impedance (Z) isolated static converter (ZISC) architecture – HiPerGuard MV UPS ensures the regulation of output voltage even during input supply disturbances [5] thus, providing continuously regulated, filtered power.

PowerExchanger is a feature of HiPerGuard; this allows the UPS to interact with the grid to support the energy transition toward renewables. ABB’s HiPerGuard has advanced integration capabilities with a wide range of backup power systems including generators, slow-paced gas generators and turbines [3].

Combining the best of both worlds
HiPerGuard delivers all the well-known benefits of a classic dynamic rotary UPS, including protection against major grid events, yet has all the flexibility and capabilities associated with modern static converter systems. HiPerGuard is a high-performance medium voltage UPS that addresses power quality issues: Protection is offered against voltage sags, swells, spikes, and power interruptions. Overall, downtime and power outages are reduced [5].

Beyond massive energy efficiency, protection benefits, and integration capability, HiPerGuard is scalable (up to ten UPS units can be connected in parallel); this increases the overall system capacity without adding complexity [4]. Further, HiPerGuard has been designed for long term system availability, only requiring intrusive maintenance every seven years.

All about trust
With the Ecopassport® label, customers can also be assured that when they choose HiPerGuard they are choosing a power protection product that fulfills international standards of sustainability (eg, ISO 14025 and ISO 14040) in addition to meeting the same high specifications associated with all of ABB’s power electronic technologies: high efficiency and availability; minimal maintenance and cost-effectiveness.

SureWave SFC Despite being a cost-effective way of shifting goods over vast distances, shipping is a source of greenhouse gases and pollutants, accounting for approximately 30 percent of total global NOx emissions and approximately 2.6 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions [6]. The maritime industry is clearly under consistent pressure to reduce their environmental impact: cleaner and more efficient power conversion solutions can contribute significantly to reduce emissions, especially while ships are berthed →03.

03 SureWave SFC technology can be applied to the marine and industrial sectors, eg, container cargo ships, anywhere conversion is appropriate.
03 SureWave SFC technology can be applied to the marine and industrial sectors, eg, container cargo ships, anywhere conversion is appropriate.

Looking at ships that rely on diesel generators while docked to run cooling, heating, ventilation, etc, without the ability to switch to dockside power supplies in port, these vessels will emit high levels of CO₂, generate noise and damaging vibrations meaning ship owners will possibly incur penalties.

04 SureWave SFC unit.
04 SureWave SFC unit.

SureWave SFC ensures the static, seamless, transfer of power from a ship’s onboard generator to an onshore power source, eliminating the need to use diesel-burning generators in port. Such a seemingly simple task is in actual fact rather daunting because there are two different supply frequencies across the world, varying according to country. For example: power grids in Asia and Europe typically operate at 50 Hz, whereas power grids in North America operate at 60 Hz. Ships therefore require the means to convert frequency in order to use portside electricity while berthed →05.

  • 5a An illustration of a shore-to-ship power connection.
  • 5b An illustration of an onshore power connection.

05 A variety of possible applications include shore to ship power, onboard frequency conversion, different frequency grid connections, electrification of shipyards and drydocks etc.

Sustainability verified
Like HiPerGuard, ABB’s SureWave is accredited with the PEP Ecopassport®, having scored leading results for the frequency converter. This assessment measures SureWave’s sterling environmental sustainability across its entire lifecycle – from its manufacture and distribution to its installation and use, all the way to its end -of- life, thanks to ABB. By choosing ABB’s static conversion technology, ship operators can easily lower CO₂ emissions, ship vibrations and noise pollution while in port; and eliminate any penalties associated with using diesel burning generators while berthed. During SureWave’s estimated 15-year lifetime, ship owners’ and operators could potentially reduce their CO₂ emissions by approximately 350 tons and deliver operational cost savings of approximately 1.4M USD¹ (compared to traditional rotary systems over the same interval) [6-7].

More flexible, stable and greener
The ability to stabilize both frequency and voltage allows the proper operation of sensitive equipment even when the supply is not adequately regulated; this is an advantage over conventional rotary frequency converter systems [7]. Further, SureWave SFC has, like HiPerGuard, added flexibility compared to rotary counterparts. The modular design of SureWave allows higher power to be reached with a capacity rating from 250 kVA up to 2.25 MVA.

Thanks to the smart controller, SureWave SFC can be connected in parallel with other voltage sources, either generators or multi-SFC units. If required, SureWave SFC can also support higher loads up to 10 MVA with multiple system parallel connections. Parallel load sharing is attained by using frequency and voltage droop profiles programmed into the converters [7] →05.

Added flexibility is assured as SureWave can be installed on the vessel or portside. It is the ultimate static frequency converter for small to medium port- and shipyard installations, and marine vessels ranging from super yachts to super tankers.

Better decisions
With the Ecopassport® label, customers can not only be confident that HiPerGuard and SureWave meet established sustainability criteria, they can also make better decisions about their choice of products to ensure a more sustainable future, even as ABB moves further along its path toward carbon neutrality. 

1Assuming 25 percent of the time at 2 percent load, 50 percent of the time at 50 percent load and 25 percent of the time at 75 percent load, with no time spent at 100 percent, the average efficiency is 97.5 percent, rounded up to 98 percent.
2 Using the reference value of 295.8 g CO₂ per kWh.

[1] ABB website. “ABB helps society and industry achieve a more sustainable yet productive future”. Available: https://global.abb/group/en/sustainability/we-enable-a-low-carbon-society [Accessed April 19, 2022].
[2] PEP Ecopassport® PROGRAM, “Product Environmental Profile for Electrical, Electronic and HVAC-R equipment” PEP-General Instructions, 2017, pp. 1 – 20.
[3] ABB press release, “ABB launches industry-first medium voltage UPS that delivers 98 percent efficiency”, Sept. 28,2021. Available: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/82620/abb-launches-industry-first-medium-voltage-ups-that-delivers-98-percent-efficiency1 [Accessed April 19, 2022].
[4] ABB website. Available: https://new.abb.com/ups/systems/medium-voltage-ups/hiperguard [Accessed April 19, 2022].
[5] Domagoj Talapko , “HiPerGuard Medium Voltage Uninterruptible Power Supply”, ABB specification, 2017, pp. 1 – 5.
[6] A. Tapp and J. Egbers, “Plugging ships and ports into a cleaner future” in ABB Review 3/2021, pp. 74 – 77.
[7] ABB product brochure, SureWave SFC 250 kVA to 10MVA Static Frequency Converter, Available: https://search.abb.com/library/Download.aspx?DocumentID=­2UCD301150-P&LanguageCode=en&DocumentPartId=&Action=Launch [Accessed August 11, 2022].
[8] ABB press release, “From super yachts to super tankers, SureWave offers clean power in port”. Available: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/87376/from-super-yachts-to-super-tankers-surewave-offers-clean-power-in-port [Accessed August 11, 2022].


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