World’s first low-voltage breaker to be used for smart grid communications

Power and automation technology group ABB have launched Emax 2, the first low-voltage circuit breaker with integrated energy management functions.

Replacing existing traditional breakers with the Emax 2 breaker has the potential to achieve annual savings of 5.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh). This is the equivalent electric consumption of 1.4 million European households per year.

According to ABB, these energy savings would reduce emissions by 4 million tons of CO2, or the emissions of more than 1 million cars, per year.

Breakers like the Emax 2 are used where protection and control of large amounts of energy are used in a low-voltage environment like industrial and commercial buildings, data centers
or ships.

The breaker contains a protection trip relay with an integrated power controller that measures and evaluates energy consumption, then manages the loads to maintain or reduce the peak power usage as determined by the user.

Head of ABB’s Low Voltage products division Tarak Mehta said the technology allows the sharing of consumption and system reliability data directly with
smart grids.

“Breakers provide one of the largest untapped opportunities in the electric system to achieve energy savings,” Mr Mehta said.

“Breakers have been used to increase safety and protect electric circuits, but now for the first time we use them to save energy too.

ABB has identified the total energy savings potential is massive.

“It’s a great example of how we can use smart technology to reduce energy wastage,” Mr Mehta said.

“This is good news for the environment and for our customers who can achieve significant cost savings by switching to our new device.”

The development of the new Emax 2 breaker took several years and was led by ABB’s development centre in Bergamo, Italy.