ABB steps towards supergrids with new current breaker

ZURICH Wed Nov 7, 2012 2:55am EST

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ZURICH Nov 7 (Reuters) - Swiss engineer ABB has found a solution to one of the biggest challenges to transmitting electricity from places where power sources such as sunlight and hydro power are abundant to where it is scarce.

"We can confirm that after many years of research we found a solution for how to break high voltage direct current," ABB spokesman Thomas Schmidt said on Wednesday.

"Now it will be possible for the first time to combine the efficiency advantages of DC transmission with the stability advantages of a grid."

High voltage direct current (HVDC) systems are the backbone of plans for smart grids, or supergrids. A growing need to increase energy efficiency is fuelling the demand for DC power.

ABB has been battling with rivals Alstom and Siemens to develop heavy-duty circuit breakers needed to integrate long-distance direct current into national and local grids. (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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