ZURICH – ABB has been recognized by the MIT Technology Review for its hybrid high-voltage direct current (HVDC) breaker, placing it among the ten most important technology milestones of the past year. This is an annual list highlighting the top ten breakthrough technologies the editors believe will have the greatest impact on the shape of innovation in the years to come.
"Since 2001, our editors have carefully selected the technologies poised to make the greatest impact on the shape of innovation in the years to come and the organizations leading the charge in those fields," said MIT Technology Review's editor in chief and publisher, Jason Pontin. "ABB is helping to define the way we think about creating practical, high-voltage direct current circuit breakers."
The hybrid HVDC breaker overcomes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of interconnected HVDC transmission grids, which can help improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing AC (alternating current) networks. It 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—that is thirty times faster than the blink of a human eye.
HVDC technology facilitates the long distance transfer of power from hydropower plants, the integration of offshore wind power, the development of visionary solar projects and the interconnection of different power networks. Deployment of HVDC has led to an increasing number of point-to-point connections in different parts of the world. The logical next step is to connect the lines and optimize the network.
ABB pioneered HVDC nearly 60 years ago and continues to be a technology driver and market leader with many innovations and developments, recently earning it a place among MIT Technology Review's top 50 most disruptive companies in 2013.