ABB Develops More Efficient Underground Cables
Swiss engineering group ABB has developed a new form of underground cable that has the potential to double the flow of power. This would cut grid integration costs for offshore wind farms dramatically.
According to ABB, a single cable can transmit up to 2.6 GW of power, which is enough to power two million homes, serve all of Paris’ electrical needs.
Claes Rytoft, ABB’s chief technology officer, said that the ability to pump more power through underground cables opens up the possibilities of greater energy access into densely populated areas and the removal of above-ground power lines. Rytoft also believes the cables will be able to more effectively through environmentally-protected areas as well.
Rytoft hops the reduced cost of the cables and more effective deployment will lead to more investments into renewable energy projects.
“Germany is installing a lot of offshore wind farms at the moment with a typical capacity of 1 GW. This means for every GW they have to install a separate cable system to the shore,” Rytoft said in an interview. “With this technology they have the option to connect two offshore wind farms and only have one cable to the mainland.”
ABB hopes this new development will work in conjunction with its high-voltage circuit breaker announced two years ago to make DC grids a reality.
High voltage DC can transmit 30 to 40 percent more energy than conventional AC overhead lines, making it a better option for supplying power of long distances.
ABB said its new 525 kilovolt high-voltage DC cable system could now reach distances of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles), up from less than 1,000 km.
“The two inventions put together make it more feasible to build a DC grid,” Rytoft said.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.