ABB wins first commercial order for advanced high-voltage generator

Swedish biomass plant first application of Powerformer for thermal power

Zurich, Switzerland, October 8, 1998 - ABB, the international engineering company, has been awarded its first commercial order for an advanced high-voltage generator for use in a biomass-fueled combined heat and power plant in Eskilstuna, in central Sweden. The order, valued at about US$ 10 million, was placed by the Swedish utility Eskilstuna Energi & Miljö. Under the terms of the contract, ABB will supply a high-voltage generator, known as a Powerformer, and an associated steam turbine. The plant, fueled mainly by forest and sawmill wastes, will have an output of 38 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 71 MW of heat, plus another 15 MW of heat recovered from the flue gases. The Powerformer is expected to enter into service by the end of 2000.

The Powerformer’s innovative design allows it to generate electricity at much higher voltages than conventional equipment. This allows the electricity to be fed directly into the local power grid without using a step-up transformer and associated equipment. By reducing the size and number of components, the Powerformer increases reliability, lowers maintenance costs, cuts power losses and reduces overall life cycle costs by up to 30 percent. The first operational Powerformer was installed on a research and development basis at a Swedish hydro power plant earlier this year. The Eskilstuna plant is the first commercial installation and the first application of the Powerformer at a thermal power plant.

Technology Highlights
The Powerformer revolutionizes power generation by eliminating the need to attach a transformer to the generator. In a conventional system, electricity is generated at voltages that are too low to be efficiently transmitted through a power grid. This is overcome by attaching a step-up transformer and associated electrical equipment to the generator to lift the voltage into the 30 to 400 kV range.
The Powerformer uses high-voltage cable technology to generate electricity at much higher voltages. The benefits of eliminating the step-up transformer include:

  • Life cycle cost (LCC) reduction of up to 30 percent: By reducing the size and number of components in the power plant, the Powerformer saves space, service and maintenance costs, reduces losses, and increases plant reliability
  • Environmental benefits: The Powerformer contains no oil, epoxy or other materials found in conventional generators that can create disposal problems. The Powerformer reduces power losses and thereby increases overall energy efficiency. It can also be used to connect small energy sources, like wind or small-scale hydro plants, to larger power grids.
The ABB Group <> serves customers worldwide in power generation, transmission, and distribution; automation; oil, gas, and petrochemicals; industrial products and contracting; financial services; and rail transportation. The Group reported orders in 1997 of US$35 billion and employs about 220,000 people. (End)

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    Contact us

    • Mr. John Fox
      ABB Corporate Communications, Zurich
      Tel. +41 1 317 7371
      Fax. +41 1 317 7958
    • Ms. Kajsa Forsberg
      ABB Sweden, Vasterås
      Tel. +46 21 32 5025
      Fax. +46 21 18 6957
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