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Innovation makes microgrid control smarter

In what the company refers to as a world first, power and automation technology group ABB is making it possible for microgrids to be protected, controlled and managed using smart circuit breakers. A software-based innovation for the company’s Emax 2 smart circuit breaker makes microgrid architectures simpler and more cost-effective than ever before.

Microgrids coordinate distributed energy resources, integrating renewables with conventional power sources, networking with the grid or operating self-sufficiently. Low-voltage microgrids are helping accelerate the roll out of renewable energy by integrating small scale wind or solar energy production of up to 4MW with battery energy storage systems.

Giampiero Frisio, Managing Director of ABB’s Protection and Connection business says, “This is another technological first for ABB, building on the first ever combined circuit breaker and power manager Emax 2. Innovation is needed to make microgrid installations simpler and more cost- effective, and to help end-users get more value from their investment. By embedding all the intelligence needed to manage a small microgrid safely and productively, Emax 2 delivers a game- changing solution.”

With the addition of embedded functions such as an automatic transfer switch, Emax 2 is now equipped to manage the different power sources that make up a typical microgrid. The new upgrades to ABB’s Emax 2 circuit breaker will enable it to combine advanced protection, programmable logic, full connectivity, easy integration and comprehensive microgrid energy management in a single device. ABB is working with equipment suppliers and consultants ahead of the technology’s roll-out in the second half of 2016.

This all-in-one solution integrates both standard and advanced microgrid functionalities to meet a broad range of on- and off-grid requirements, improving quality and saving costs.

A complete series of protections ensure a single unit can cover all loads and generators, with adaptive protections that recognize network changes and automatically set new thresholds to guarantee coordination in all conditions. Software embedded in the Emax 2 also optimizes the microgrid where locally generated power, energy storage, loads and utility power work together. ABB algorithms measure and evaluate energy consumption, enabling constant power loads or peak power reductions, depending on the user’s requirements.

Frisio added: “Emax 2 will make managing power consumption and renewable energy sources simpler and more effective. It will also help end-users to take maximum advantage of the opportunities that renewables present.”

With over 25 years of experience and more than 30 executed microgrid projects globally, ABB provides products and solutions across power generation, including renewables, automation, grid stabilisation, energy storage, power protection and intelligent control technology as well as consulting services to enable microgrids globally.

Internet of things, services and people

ABB has been advancing technologies for the ‘Internet of Things, Services and People’ for more than a decade via its control systems, communication solutions, sensors and software. Its technologies  allow industry, utility and infrastructure customers to make more intelligent use of data to optimize their operations, increase productivity and flexibility. The product featured in this release extends the offering of ABB in this field.

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