(EnergyAsia, May 22 2012, Tuesday) — ABB, the Switzerland-based power and automation technology group, said it is working engineers in India to develop, design and manufacture a 1,200 kilovolt ( kV ) circuit breaker, the highest AC voltage level in the world.

The innovative circuit breaker will be deployed at a national test station being constructed by India’s transmission utility, Power Grid Corporation (PGCIL), at Bina in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The circuit breaker will being jointly developed by ABB engineers in Switzerland and India, with the support of PGCIL, and will be manufactured at ABB’s production facility in Vadodara, India.

ABB’s 1,200 kV circuit breaker is safely housed along with the disconnector in a tank filled with insulating gas. This unique design can result in a space saving of up to 60 percent compared with conventional designs.

The configuration also protects critical components from environmental exposure and brings down the center-of-gravity, thereby increasing its ability to withstand seismic events. Other design features include modular ring type current transformers, partial discharge sensors and composite bushings.

“This 1,200 kV circuit breaker is another example of ABB’s commitment to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation,” said Giandomenico Rivetti, head of ABB’s High Voltage business.

“ABB has pioneered many power technologies in India, and we are proud to build on this heritage by supporting PGCIL for this benchmark project.”

India is adding significant power generation capacity to meet growing demand, which in turn requires an efficient and reliable transmission and distribution infrastructure to deliver the electricity to consumers.

Transmitting at higher voltages enables more power to flow through lines with minimal space impact and significantly lower transmission line losses. These factors have prompted India to develop a 1,200 kV transmission system, which will be the highest AC voltage level in the world. The 1,200 kV Bina station will carry out field tests as part of this initiative.