Energy efficiency

ABB is committed to realizing the vision that underlies SDG 7 – which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – and SDG 12 – calling for responsible consumption and production. ABB provides much of the technology that will be needed to make these goals a reality.

Sustainable underground mining (photo)

In particular, SDG 7 sets five targets for 2030. These include ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, modern energy services; increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; enhancing international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technologies and promoting investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technologies; and expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology for modern, sustainable energy services for all in developing countries.

Advanced engineering helps improve sustainable solutions

Sheri Straw – Duke Energy Corporation
ABB Stakeholder Panel

Case study Sustainable underground mining

Reveal case study

ABB is partnering with LKAB, Epiroc, AB Volvo and Combitech to build the mines of the future. Referred to as SUM (“sustainable underground mining”), the test bed project for this vision of safe, CO2-free, digital, autonomous mining at depth will be located in LKAB’s underground mines in Kiruna and Malmberget, Sweden, as well as in a virtual mine.

ABB’s role in this groundbreaking initiative will be to provide an integrated platform for collaborative operations and underground electrification solutions. One of these solutions will be ABB’s optimized e-drivetrain, which combines an electric motor, a HES880 high-power drive and a vehicle control unit. This combination makes it possible for heavy special and commercial vehicles to transition smoothly and rapidly from diesel to zero-emission electric operation.

Epiroc, a leading supplier of underground mining and infrastructure equipment, was one of the first heavy vehicle manufacturers to adopt ABB’s e-drivetrain for many of its second-generation battery-powered vehicles. ABB’s complete drivetrain solution has been harmonized for maximum performance, reliability and energy efficiency. Advanced electrification solutions like this are making energy-efficient, diesel-free mines possible. Electrification will enhance energy efficiency and mine productivity as well as reducing ventilation needs and maintenance costs.

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With respect to SDG 7’s third target, SDG 7.3 – improving energy efficiency – ABB’s high-efficiency motors, generators and drives are among the solutions offered by ABB with this purpose in mind. They are designed to be flexible, making it possible to optimize all processes and controls, and they are built to be reliable, so as to reduce downtime. Most of all, they are extremely efficient, offering significant reductions in power consumption. Electric motors account for roughly 28 percent of the world’s electricity consumption. They are often larger than necessary and are run at full speed, even when it is not needed. Fitting every inefficient motor with an ABB variable-speed drive would result in energy savings equivalent to the output of 286 power plants. ABB offers a comprehensive range of reliable and high-efficiency motors, drives and generators for all applications.

Sustainable engineering from ABB can also be found in the high-performance turbochargers we manufacture for use in ships, power stations, generator sets, diesel locomotives and other large vehicles. ABB is a leader in the manufacture and maintenance of turbochargers for large diesel and gasoline engines. The latest turbocharger designs can reduce exhaust gas temperatures, enable an increase in boost pressure and reduce fuel consumption.

One of three ships of the Virgin Voyages’ fleet (photo)

Case study The low-emission future of shipping

Reveal case study

Virgin Voyages’ fleet of three innovative new ships, which are being designed and built with environmental responsibility in mind, will be equipped with ABB’s Azipod propulsion systems. These gearless, steerable units feature electric drive motors in submerged pods extending beyond the ship’s hull. Now an industry standard in the cruise segment, Azipod has a proven capacity to cut fuel consumption by up to 15 percent compared to traditional shaft-line propulsion systems.

Each of the 110,000 gross ton vessels will be propelled by two Azipod XO units. In addition, the vessels will deploy ABB’s complete electric power plant concept – a solution encompassing electric generators, main switchboards, distribution transformers and remote controls to operate the Azipod units from the bridge. The combination of these technologies makes it possible to configure all of the equipment for optimized performance, resulting in increased efficiency and lower emissions.

Since the first installation over 25 years ago, Azipod propulsion has saved approximately 700,000 tons of fuel while clocking close to 15 million running hours at an impressive availability rate of 99.8 percent. Innovative, reliable, efficient, Azipod is the cornerstone of ABB’s vision for the marine industry’s low-emission future, which will feature ships that are electric, digital and connected.

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Another technology from ABB, flexible alternating current transmission systems, or FACTS, is playing an important role in integrating renewable energy and distributed generation sources into mainstream power grids. FACTS covers a range of power-electronics-based technologies that radically increase the capacity of transmission networks – by up to 50 percent – while maintaining or improving voltage stability and grid reliability. They are vital to the development of modern smart grids and can be implemented with minimal infrastructure and environmental impacts. ABB pioneered early solutions in this field in the 1950s and continues to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished with power electronics in the field of transmission.

up to 50 percent
increase in capacity of transmission networks

ABB Ability interacts with these solutions and many others to track and analyze operational data and then make adjustments in real time to ensure optimal energy efficiency.