Resource conservation

In the realm of resource conservation, ABB offers a range of solutions that support SDGs 6 (clean water), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land). Each of these goals calls on society to minimize waste and the dispersion of pollutants into the environment.

For example, a target associated with SDG 6 aims to improve water quality by reducing pollution and substantially increasing water-use efficiency by 2030. SDG 12 has a target focused on the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and the environmentally sound management of chemicals. SDG 13 targets mechanisms to raise capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in the least developed countries, among others. A target associated with SDG 14 aims to secure a reduction in marine pollution of all kinds and the sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. SDG 15 has a target focused on the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems, the sustainable management of forests and the halt of desertification.

ABB wastewater plant at High Voltage and Distribution Solutions factories in Bắc Ninh province, Vietnam (photo)

Case study ABB utilizes leading technologies to improve wastewater treatment at its own site

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In Vietnam, environmental pressures due to increased urbanization are driving demand for resource-efficient solutions.

That is why ABB recently completed construction of a wastewater plant at its High Voltage and Distribution Solutions factories in Bắc Ninh province, Vietnam. Making use of ABB’s own pioneering technologies, the wastewater plant was commissioned in 2018 and is successfully minimizing the site’s impact on the surrounding environment.

The plant runs on power generated from photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. Digital monitoring of its energy usage will help ABB save energy, support peak hour demand and reduce dependence on the grid. These solutions have already delivered real benefits of up to a 40 percent reduction in installation time, 50 percent lower maintenance costs, and a 50 percent reduction in downtime.

The plant is equipped with ABB’s integrated control and instrumentation package designed for wastewater and power management, an automation control and measurement system, and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The instrumentation package includes electromagnetic flowmeters, level transmitters and continuous water analyzers.

The installed technologies have delivered remarkable results, at least 50 percent below the maximum acceptable limits set by the Vietnamese government for the quality of water treated and released as effluent.

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As an example of how we are contributing to these goals, ABB is a global leader in industrial robotic solutions that can be used to reduce waste in production processes. The proper application of robotics in a factory setting improves quality control, reduces the number of units produced that are faulty or unusable, and limits the amount of waste material generated by production. For example, the IRB 340 FlexPicker – a robot designed for high-speed pick-and-place tasks, capable of 150 picks per minute – can be used to dramatically reduce the breakage of food items being packed for shipping. Paint robots like the IRB 5500 save paint as well as time, by spraying surfaces with near-perfect uniformity. The use of these machines also requires less factory space than previous painting processes.

Sustainable transportation solutions make up an important part of ABB’s extensive portfolio of clean, resource-efficient technologies. We have worked particularly hard in recent years to expand our position as the world’s leading provider of EV fast-charging stations, with more than 8,500 chargers installed in 69 countries. For example, ABB’s charging systems are being deployed in a growing network of stations along Germany’s motorways. The company’s car chargers can now be found in networks across Europe, Russia, the United States, Canada, Iceland, and beyond. The most powerful ABB chargers are capable of adding 200 kilometers of range to a vehicle in just eight minutes.

Case study Surat upgrades to ABB’s digital water management solution

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Located on the coast of Gujarat state in India, the bustling city of Surat is home to more than 5,000 diamond merchants. It also contains roughly 600,000 power looms, which process roughly 20 million meters of fabric every day. Surat’s 1,000 garment mills consume roughly 90 million liters of water per day.

As the city aims to build a sustainable, smart-city future, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has prioritized reducing water waste through the adoption of a digital solution to track consumption. At present, garment mills use over 50 percent of the water supplied by the SMC; the remainder is consumed by households and other commercial establishments.

ABB first installed flowmeters for water measurement in the city in 2005 – but these had to be read manually. It was only natural for the SMC to partner again with ABB for the deployment of a more scalable and sustainable model, by upgrading the existing flowmeters with digital functionality. Now ABB’s GSM-enabled AquaMaster flowmeter solution is being used to measure and track water consumption in Surat in real time. The SMC can study consumption patterns, explore new strategies to improve water management, and reduce non-revenue water losses by analyzing the detailed information provided by the system.

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ABB has special expertise in the field of water conservation, particularly in terms of helping water service providers achieve high levels of reliability and sustainable management. We help water companies achieve their targets for SDG 6 through our solutions for optimizing processes and minimizing leaks and water losses in distribution networks and transmission systems. We also provide flood-protection and smart-sewerage solutions that prevent wastewater from becoming a sanitation problem during heavy rains and floods. These solutions incorporate process expertise, integrated electrical and automation systems and life cycle services, — enabling us to optimize water processes and reduce energy consumption while monitoring water quality and minimizing leaks.

Many of these solutions are built around a control system architecture known as supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA. ABB SCADA solutions can be applied to a range of automated systems, including water processing systems and power plants. ABB incorporates SCADA into its ABB Ability Symphony Plus automation solution, providing users with a comprehensive view of their plants by integrating data from all areas and systems, including remote SCADA systems. The control system’s open architecture can seamlessly consolidate and rationalize plant data and enhance operator responses to changing conditions, improving both plant safety and uptime. ABB also offers the MicroSCADA Pro solution for application at the station level and a distributed generation solution to integrate and manage renewables, like photovoltaic and wind installations. ABB was recognized by the ARC Advisory Group, a technology advisory firm, as the global leader in large-scale SCADA projects.

more than 10,000
chargers installed in 73 countries

ABB Ability Symphony Plus is one of the most widely used DCS and SCADA systems in water applications worldwide. Symphony Plus maximizes efficiency and reliability through automation, integration and optimization of an entire plant, network or facility. Symphony Plus is part of the ABB Ability portfolio of unified, cross-industry digital solutions that enable businesses to harness the power of the industrial internet. Since its launch in 2011, ABB Ability Symphony Plus has been implemented in more than 6,800 new installations, on top of the thousands of plants that have chosen to upgrade to it.

ABB additionally contributes to resource efficiency with sustainable solutions related to power management and distribution. These include a comprehensive range of high-voltage circuit breakers and switchgear with AirPlus™, a family of eco-efficient gases consisting of components of air (O2, N2, CO2) and fluoroketones. The AirPlus solutions avoid using SF6, a greenhouse gas that requires careful handling. Replacing SF6 with AirPlus reduces the global warming potential by almost 100 percent compared to that of SF6, significantly lowering environmental impacts.

In a similar development, ABB has emerged as a leader in the design and production of dry-type transformers. In contrast to oil-insulated transformers, which contain thousands of liters of flammable oil, dry transformers are insulated with air and non-flammable solid insulation material, eliminating oil leaks and dramatically reducing the risk of fire. Dry transformers also provide an alternative to gas-insulated transformers and are safer to maintain and operate. One of ABB’s recent innovations is the world’s first digital dry-type transformer. The ABB Ability TXpert Dry is a smart transformer equipped with sensors that collect data and subject them to powerful analytics, enabling key functionality such as power quality monitoring, self-supervision and lifecycle assessment. Due to its dry-type design, digitalization and little or zero maintenance, these new transformers offer enhanced safety and data security, increased uptime and optimized operations.

These represent just a few examples of ABB technologies that are enabling an advanced approach to eco-efficiency on the part of utilities, industry, and transport and infrastructure operators around the globe.