ABB breakthrough with world's first high-voltage generator

First unit to be installed this spring in Swedish power plant

Zurich, Switzerland, February 25, 1998 - ABB, the international electrical engineering company, today presented the world’s first high-voltage generator. Called the Powerformer, it is the first generator able to supply electricity directly to the high-voltage network, without the need for transformers. The Powerformer can generate electricity at voltages between 20 kilovolts (kV) and 400 kV. The first operational generator, with a rating of 45 kV, is scheduled to be installed within a few months at a power plant in northern Sweden owned and operated by the Foundation Porjus Hydro Centre. The Center, which serves as a development and training facility for hydro power technology, is run by the Swedish energy company Vattenfall, Kvaerner Turbin and ABB.

The Powerformer represents a completely new concept in generator technology. Conventional generators produce electricity at voltages that are too low to be efficiently transmitted over long distances. Linking them to the high-voltage transmission network requires large transformers to boost the voltage. The Powerformer uses advanced cable technology to generate high-voltage directly, eliminating the need for a transformer and other associated equipment.
The Powerformer’s unique design has a number of operational and environmental benefits. Because the total installation is smaller and more efficient, it also reduces maintenance costs. It can be custom-built to provide any output voltage, and other aspects of its design contribute to greater network stability and more reliable performance during periods of short-term power overload.
"The new high-voltage generator represents a major innovation," said Göran Lindahl, ABB’s President and CEO. "It radically changes a 100-year old technology and establishes a new class of rotating machines. With its unique design the generator provides our customers with substantial benefits, such as better system performance, higher efficiency, lower maintenance costs and reduced environmental impact."
The Powerformer was developed by ABB Corporate Research and ABB Power Generation in cooperation with Vattenfall. ABB employs approximately 1,200 scientists and technicians in 8 corporate research centers in Europe and America. A further 17,000 engineers spread across ABB’s global business areas are also engaged in research and development. In 1996 ABB spent US$ 2.6 billion on R&D, or about 8 percent of revenues. The ABB Group employs approximately 216,000 people with orders in 1996 of US$ 36 billion. (End)

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    Contact us

    • John Fox
      ABB Coporate Communications, Zürich
      Tel. +41 1 317 7371
      Fax +41 1 317 7958
    • Mr. Hanning Kempe
      ABB Power Generation, Zürich
      Tel. +41 1 306 8216
      Fax +41 1 306 8134
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