Celebrating 25 years of innovation in China

It’s an exciting time to be in China, working for ABB.

China’s commitment to investments in environmentally friendly technologies to reduce carbon emissions is second to none.  Reflecting as we celebrate 25 years of production, we have a lot to look forward to for the next 25 years.

In 2015, China invested $103 billion in renewable energy and associated low-emissions-energy, with a further $32 billion in large overseas deals involving renewable energy. In ABB China, we are doing our part to help companies achieve the targets for CO2 emissions reduction, as set by the Chinese government.

As the leader of ABB’s medium-voltage business in China, eco-efficient technology is the hot topic being discussed by manufacturers, trade bodies and users of medium-voltage equipment. This is a conversation we not only taking part in, but lead the way with our successfully piloted, climate-friendly, medium-voltage switchgear solutions.

The Chinese regulations for greenhouse gas emissions require power grid companies to control the emission of SF6, which is a potent greenhouse gas.  The demand for eco-efficient alternatives is steeply on the rise, as more than ten thousand tons of SF6 are used in gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) every year. Although the design of switchgear and all related processes on handling SF6 are designed to avoid emissions, a climate-friendly insulation gas can help to further reduce the global warming impact.

Last year, we launched Safe Air and ZX0 Air in China as alternatives to SF6 for 12 kV applications. These switchgear types use dry air as the insulation gas, which has a global warming potential (GWP) of zero.

We are now introducing our latest addition to the eco-efficient switchgear portfolio, the ZX2 AirPlus in China. AirPlus™ is ABB’s climate-friendly alternative to traditional SF6 for applications above 12 kV. For the Chinese market, ZX2 AirPlus is now available in 40.5 kV according to the GB standard. AirPlus is the first and only new ‘green’ alternative gas on the market for medium-voltage switchgear.

Both the dry air and AirPlus technologies allow the same compact dimensions and advantages of the well-established GIS, but offer a GWP of less than one. This means a reduction of almost 100 percent compared to SF6. Not only do these technologies contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, they also simplify administration compared to SF6.

While the competition to develop and offer ‘greener’ switchgear is high in China, ABB has focused on the end-user to ensure that switching from traditional GIS to eco-efficient alternatives is as simple as possible. We have achieved this by maintaining the same dimensions, interface and operations of existing products, so that integration is painless and the operating status quo is maintained.

This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our medium-voltage products factory in Xiamen. We have launched 52 products since 1992, and our eco-efficient switchgear prove that we are well positioned for the future also. We are just at the start of our journey and the future is exciting not just for ABB, but for everyone living and working in China as we continue to build a country that will be fit, healthy and innovating for tomorrow’s generations.

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About the author

David-Xiangdong Xu

David Xu is the head of Medium Voltage Products business in ABB (China). After graduating from Xiamen University, he started his career in ABB in Xiamen Switchgear Co., Ltd as employee Number 11. He has gained extensive experience in products, project management and service during the past 25 years, witnessing Xiamen Switchgear Co., Ltd become one of the biggest ABB factories in the world with rapid business development and factory growth.
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