The news just broke that a Swiss company known as ABB succeeded in solving a century-old electrical puzzle having to do with transferring electricity over long distances.
As the company explains, their newly developed heavy-duty circuit breaker is fully capable of making electricity travel through high-voltage direct current lines and into the already established power grids.
In other words, the alternative current lines that can only cope with relatively short distances and which now stand at the core of Europe's electricity grid are rendered obsolete.
Needless to say, being able to carry electricity over long distances can translate into an increased dependence on renewable energy sources such as tidal and wave power.
As well as this, this new technology will also allow for the installation of solar and wind farms in remote locations whose energy potential would otherwise remain unexploited.
“HVDC technology is needed to facilitate the long distance transfer of power from hydropower plants, the integration of offshore wind power, the development of visionary solar projects, and the interconnection of different power networks,” the company states.
As Joe Hogan, CEO of ABB puts it, “ABB has written a new chapter in the history of electrical engineering. This historical breakthrough will make it possible to build the grid of the future. Overlay DC grids will be able to interconnect countries and continents, balance loads and reinforce the existing AC transmission networks.”
The company's official website states that, thanks to this new circuit-breaker for high voltage direct current, significant progress has been made towards a more efficient and more reliable electricity supply system.
This is because this circuit breaker can supposedly halt power flows whose power is the equivalent of a large station's output within a matter of milliseconds.
For the time being, ABB leaders are busy trying to identify potential pilot projects that will serve to properly test this new technology and identify any potential faults in the circuit breaker's design.