Swiss electrical equipment manufacturer ABB has secured a $40m order from German transmission grid operator TransnetBW to upgrade a high-voltage substation in Obermooweiler, in Baden-Wuerttemberg state.


Image: ABB’s 380 kV gas-insulated switchgear installed in TransnetBW’s Weier substation in Germany. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.

As part of the supply and upgrade, ABB will install 380-kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) which claims to use an environmentally friendly alternative gas mixture to the industry standard SF6.

ABB claims that its 380-kV Obermooweiler GIS substation can position the company at the forefront of eco-efficient innovations. The supply will support Germany’s targeted reduction of 40% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and up to 95% by 2050.

The company stated that the gas mixture SF₆ has unique physical properties and it is now being used extensively in the electrical industry for decades. As SF₆ is a greenhouse gas and the company has been working on alternative solutions.

In 2015, the company commissioned a substation using its AirPlus switchgear technology for a 170-kV GIS substation in Zurich, based on the alternative gas mixture.

ABB power grids division president Claudio Facchin said: “With more than 30 years of technology partnership between ABB and TransnetBW, we are embarking on yet another innovation milestone.

“ABB’s eco-efficient GIS solution will lower environmental impact while strengthening the transmission grid.”

As per the Swiss company, its GIS technology can save up to 70% of space compared to an air-insulated switchgear (AIS) substation. As a major player in high-voltage GIS technology, the firm offers ratings and applications from 72.5 kV to 1200 kV and has a global installed base of over 30,000 bays.

In July, the company had won a $150m order to connect the 1.4GW Hornsea Project Two to the UK grid, which will power more than 1.3 million homes.

As part of the order ABB will supply Static Var Compensation (SVC) Light technology with Ability MACH control systems, High Voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), transformers, reactors and harmonic filters.

The company will be responsible for the engineering, supply, project management and commissioning of the digital control and protection systems for the onshore substation and the two offshore platform substations.