ABB says its Emax 2 low-voltage circuit breaker is the world's first to include integrated energy management capabilities, and that it has the potential for providing real energy savings.
Low-voltage breakers are used in environments like commercial and industrial buildings, data centers and ships where protection and control of large quantities of electricity is needed. ABB's Emax 2 has a protection trip relay and integrated power controller that measures power use and with that information manages loads to maintain or lower peak power use as directed by the user. ABB says that capability also will help fend off blackouts since demand exceeding supply is frequently the primary cause.
In the energy management function, power to non-essential equipment is turned off then back on again when the correct power levels are reached. The intelligent decision making is accomplished by a built in controller and software using complex algorithms to determine when the time is right to change power levels but still maintain the overall continued operation of connected equipment. The breaker also includes a communication module so it can share critical use and system reliability information with smart grid and other protocols.
"Breakers provide one of the largest untapped opportunities in the electric system to achieve energy savings. Breakers have been used to increase safety and protect electric circuits, but now for the first time we use them to save energy too," said Tarak Mehta, head of ABB's Low Voltage products division.
"Because breakers are all around us, the total energy savings potential is massive. It's a great example of how we can use smart technology to reduce energy wastage. This is good news for the environment and for our customers who can achieve significant cost savings by switching to our new device."
ABB says the potential for energy savings could reach 5.8 million megawatt-hours annually, or the electricity use equivalent of 1.4 million U.S. homes per year.
The infographic below details how the Emax 2 can save energy.
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