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HVDC generates buzz at CIGRÉ 2014

The new HVDC 525 kV cable system steals the show in Paris

In a huddle around ABB’s ‘HVDC experience’ zone attendees viewed the latest information delivered at the touch of the two meter long screen. Last week’s announcement on the record-breaking 525 kV extruded cable system set the scene and now they wanted to see the real deal.

Reaction to the cable system has already been positive says Hanspeter Fässler, Head of Grid Systems at ABB, “I’ve already had some first customer discussions and from this reaction and others that we have received, this is a breakthrough. We’re more than doubling the capacity that you can transmit.”

Showcased nearby lies three meters of the next generation HVDC cable in both earth and water, which depicts its underground and subsea capability. The cable system has a world record capacity to deliver up to 2.6 gigawatts of power over distances extended to 1500 kilometers. Make no mistake, this new HVDC cable system is the star of the show but it isn’t the only breakthrough technology on display.

Three meter section of ABB's 525 kV extruded cable
Three meter section of ABB’s 525 kV extruded cable

Sitting just behind the HVDC experience zone is the UFD (ultra fast disconnector), which forms a key part of the hybrid HVDC breaker, the ABB breakthrough solution to a 100 year electrical puzzle. The hybrid HVDC breaker along with the semiconductors and converters underline ABB’s rich heritage (60 years) in HVDC technology and are all key elements to realizing the vision of a DC grid.

ABB's ultra fast disconnector
ABB’s ultra fast disconnector

Another discussion point at the exhibition involves the previously announced alternative gas mixture for gas insulated switchgear (GIS). “The new gas mixture is much more eco-efficient compared to Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6). We foresee a good future for this gas mixture and we will apply it in a pilot project in a GIS together with a utility in Switzerland”, said Bernhard Jucker, Head of ABB’s Power Products division.

Managing grid complexity and ensuring its reliability and efficiency in an environmentally responsible way is the main challenge being addressed by the industry at CIGRÉ this year. Customers are looking to technology providers to come up with hardware and software solutions that will provide them with the capacity, the control and the intelligence to manage that complexity and optimize their grids effectively. Claudio Facchin, Head of ABB’s Power Systems division, explains how ABB is helping customers address these challenges, “With what we’re presenting here, we couldn’t be in a better place. With the breadth of our portfolio and continued focus on technology and innovation, we can support our customers from A to Z with products, systems and services across the power value chain.”

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