ABB launches world's first low-voltage breaker for energy management and smart grid communications

Tue Apr 9, 2013 10:00am EDT

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ABB's latest innovation has potential to save energy and reduce emissions -
equivalent to the electric consumption of 1.4 million US households and 4
million tons of CO2 - and help to prevent blackouts
CARY, N.C.,  April 9, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- ABB, the leading global power and
automation technology group, today launched Emax 2, the world's first
low-voltage circuit breaker with integrated energy management functions.
Replacing existing traditional breakers with the Emax 2 breaker has the
potential to achieve annual savings of 5.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh), or the
electric consumption equivalent of 1.4 million US households per year.

These energy savings would reduce emissions by 4 million tons of CO2, or the
emissions of over 1 million cars, per year. For an individual building
installation, a peak power reduction of up to 15 percent can be achieved by
using Emax 2 in place of traditional breakers.  

Breakers like the Emax 2 are used where protection and control of large amounts
of energy are used in a low-voltage environment like industrial and commercial
buildings, data centers or ships. The breaker contains a protection trip relay
with an integrated power controller that measures and evaluates energy
consumption, then manages the loads to maintain or reduce the peak power usage
as determined by the user. This will also help prevent  blackouts  since the
root cause is often peak demand exceeding supply.

To manage energy, the electricity supply to non-essential equipment is switched
off and back on again as soon as acceptable power levels are reached.
Intelligent decision making is achieved by a built in controller and software
that uses complex algorithms to decide when it is appropriate to switch the
power while maintaining the overall functionality or productivity of the
connected equipment.  

The breaker also has a communication module that allows it to share vital
consumption and system reliability data directly with smart grid and other

"Breakers provide one of the largest untapped opportunities in the electric
system to achieve energy savings. Breakers have been used to increase safety and
protect electric circuits, but now for the first time we use them to save energy
too," said  Tarak Mehta, Head of ABB's Low Voltage products division.  

"Because breakers are all around us, the total energy savings potential is
massive. It's a great example of how we can use smart technology to reduce
energy wastage. This is good news for the environment and for our customers who
can achieve significant cost savings by switching to our new device," added

The development of the new Emax 2 breaker took several years and was led by
ABB's development center in Bergamo,  Italy.  

In 2012, ABB invested about  $1.5 billion  in research and development and
continues to employ 7,000 technologists worldwide.  

ABB ( is a leader in power automation technologies that enable
utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering
environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100
countries and employs about 145,000 people. The company - which  has a wide
range of electric power, industrial motors, industrial automation and robotics
offerings - has its North American headquarters in  Cary, N.C.  and employs
30,000 throughout the region.  

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ABB Media Relations: Melissa London, (Cary, NC), Tel: +919 829 4431,,

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