Sustainable transport

Man with his laptop on a train (photo)

ABB is a pioneer in the field of e-mobility, having played a key role in the development of electrified railways and urban transit systems. In 2018, ABB initiated a partnership with Formula E, the first fully electric international FIA motorsport class, bringing its name and technology leadership to the racing series, now known as the “ABB FIA Formula E Championship.” ABB entered this partnership with Formula E both to promote the rapid adoption of electric vehicles and to emphasize our own role as the world’s largest provider of fast-charging equipment for electric cars and buses.

In the fight against climate change, transport technologies present a tremendous opportunity. Fossil-fuel-powered vehicles account for roughly a quarter of the world’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to cleaner forms of transport will also significantly reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates. Sustainable transport represents a vital aspect of Sustainable Development Goal 9 – building resilient infrastructure – and Sustainable Development Goal 11 – making cities and settlements inclusive, safe and resilient.

Case study A reliable power supply for Warsaw’s second metro line

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Sustainable Development Goals – goal 11 (icon)

As it grows, Warsaw is working to achieve a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. In this context, the city is expanding its second metro line, with the goal of reducing road traffic.

Two years ago, the 6.1 km central section of the city’s M2 line went into service. Serving over 140,000 passengers every business day, the line is powered by seven underground substations supplied by ABB.

For the M2 line’s extension, ABB will supply another six underground substations. The extension will connect the western and northeastern parts of Warsaw and support a significant increase in passenger capacity. The substations will include critical technologies provided by ABB, including switchgear, traction rectifiers and dry-type transformers.

MicroSCADA, a part of the ABB Ability portfolio of more than 210 digital solutions, will enable real-time remote control of power equipment in the new substations. The MicroSCADA system that is already in use on the central section of M2 has provided added value to the operators at the transit agency’s central control room, making their jobs easier on a daily basis.

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Sustainable transportation solutions make up an important part of ABB’s extensive portfolio of clean, energy-efficient technologies. We have worked particularly hard in recent years to expand our position as one of the world’s leading providers of EV fast-charging stations, with more than 6,000 chargers installed in 57 countries. As just one example, ABB’s charging systems are now being deployed in a growing network of stations along Germany’s motorways. The company’s car chargers can be found in networks in Russia, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Iceland, Bulgaria and beyond. In some cases, these units can replenish an EV’s batteries in as little as 10 minutes.

Kristinehamn transformer (photo)

New, electric, high-capacity buses that use ABB’s robotic flash-charging technology and onboard traction equipment have gone into service in Switzerland in the past year and are scheduled to debut in Nantes, France, in 2018. The flash-charging units are built into bus shelters and boost the vehicle’s batteries in the 20 seconds or so spent at the stop. That boost makes it possible to reduce the size and weight of the bus’s battery pack significantly.

Case study Sustainable high-voltage circuit breakers

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Sustainable Development Goals – goal 12 (icon)
Sustainable Development Goals – goal 13 (icon)

Located in the rolling hills of western Sweden, Stensta substation delivers electric power to the town of Kristnehamn. Nearby, a wind park produces 30 megawatts of power, which feeds into the substation and provides the town with one-third of its electricity.

The substation’s owners recently invested in ABB’s latest technology for high-voltage circuit breakers, DCB LTA, a disconnecting circuit breaker with CO2 as the insulating medium instead of the conventional sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas. Owned by the municipality, the utility is seeking to meet an ambitious set of municipal environmental targets.

SF6 is a well-known greenhouse gas. Even if leaks from electrical equipment are rare, this gas must be handled with care throughout its lifecycle. Replacing SF6 with CO2 reduces the environmental impact of the insulating medium almost to zero, and the cost of handling the gas is lowered significantly.

The DCB LTA breakers are based on the same technology as ABB’s conventional SF6 breakers, yet have fewer parts and less impact on the environment. The combination of a disconnector and breaker in a single product also increases substation availability by lowering the number of components that can break down or require maintenance.

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ABB also provides many of the electric power supply technologies relied upon around the world for urban rapid transit systems and high-speed railway lines. One recent breakthrough in this field is the Effilight traction transformer – onboard equipment that delivers power to an electric train’s motors. With a patented cell design that can reduce the amount of insulating oil required by up to 70 percent, ABB’s Effilight technology also reduces the weight of a transformer by up to 20 percent and provides more energy-efficient operation – meeting two of the rail industry’s top priorities.

Fuel efficiency is a major concern for maritime shipping as well, and ABB is heavily engaged in this field. Used in cruise ships and oceangoing freighters, ABB’s Azipod propulsion systems consist of steerable, high-efficiency electric-drive propellers contained in pods located outside the hull. The Azipod makes ships significantly more maneuverable and can reduce their use of fossil fuels by 40 percent or more.

more than 6,000
chargers installed in 57 countries

ABB technology, using sophisticated sensors and edge computing, also makes ships easier to monitor and maintain; the number of ship visits by ABB service engineers can be reduced in this way by as much as 70 percent. ABB Ability offers the shipping industry a wide range of decision support functions. With six dedicated ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centers serving the marine sector around the world, shipping companies now rely on remote monitoring and diagnostics services with access to ABB experts 24/7. Today, more than 700 large vessels are connected to these services.

ABB technologies are making possible a multitude of other novel, clean transportation solutions – like solar-powered charging stations for electric rickshaws in Jabalpur, India. Seemingly small advances like these are helping cities around the world curb major sources of noise and pollution.