ABB says it has developed the world's first circuit breaker for high-voltage direct current (HVDC). The breaker reportedly combines very fast mechanics with power electronics and will be capable of interrupting power flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within five milliseconds – 30 times faster than the blink of a human eye. The company says the new circuit breaker will pave the way for a more efficient and reliable electricity supply system.
A press release announcing this new development says the breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of DC transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. DC grids will also improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing AC (alternating current) networks. ABB is in discussions with power utilities to identify pilot projects for the new development.
"ABB has written a new chapter in the history of electrical engineering," said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO in the release. "This historical breakthrough will make it possible to build the grid of the future. Overlay DC grids will be able to interconnect countries and continents, balance loads and reinforce the existing AC transmission networks." Details