ABB previews solid-state circuit breaker concept09 April 2019

The concept solid-state breaker, revealed at the Hannover show, replaces the traditional moving parts of an electro-mechanical circuit breaker with power electronics and advanced software algorithms that control the power and can interrupt extreme currents 100 times faster than electro-mechanical systems, it says.

The technology, available next year, is intended for renewable energy solutions, electric transport and smart grids. ABB says its speed maximizes the performance of power distribution systems, as well as improving safety: as there is no energy release when the current is interrupted, there is no risk of arc energy exposure. In addition, ABB claims the system requires no service, as there are no mechanical components, and is many times longer-lived.

The device was developed in Italy at ABB’s Bergamo Electrification business R&D Center, and is said to be the first of its kind to use an insulated gate-commutated transistor (IGCT) semiconductor technology. This technological breakthrough is combined with new embedded predictive power management software, protection algorithms and higher levels of connectivity.

Giampiero Frisio, the head of ABB’s Smart Power business line, says: “ABB’s technology also has the advantage that power losses are 70% lower than comparable solutions, enabling savings of up to $200,000 in a cargo or passenger ferry and up to $1 million in a cruise liner over a ten-year period.”

Will Dalrymple

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