UHVDC and UHVAC transformers

As renewables increasingly become part of power generation, the need to transmit energy over greater distances with reduced losses becomes ever more desirable.

byWritten by Mattias VIKSTEN, Markus PETTERSSON, Ryan LADD


Power fulfilment with ABB’s UHVDC and UHVAC transformers

By enabling high transmission voltages, large amounts of electric power can be transmitted over great distances at high efficiency. ABB has made ground-breaking developments in UHVDC and UHVAC transmission; today 1,100 kV DC and 1,200 kV AC is possible.

Energy demands are growing and a 70 percent increase in electricity consumption is anticipated by 2040, with over half of that growth expected in India and China. As renewables increasingly become part of power generation in these countries, the need to transmit energy over greater distances with reduced losses becomes ever more desirable. However, the renewable energy sources can be located thousands of kilometres away from the load centres where electricity is needed. In these extreme cases, ultrahigh voltage (UHV) is often the most economical way to transmit the growing amount of power, and converter transformers are the key technology for the essential link between the AC network and DC systems.

ABB has pioneered this enabling technology, working to increase voltage levels and developing ground-breaking components to meet the stringent requirements to transmit unprecedented power capacity ever farther under the harshest field conditions. ABB’s 100 years of experience and expertise in the design and manufacture of transformers, along with a pioneering role in the development of HVDC transformer technology in the 1950s, provides the basis for their scientists and engineers to reach milestones in the development of power transmission, thereby establishing world records time and time again.

The high-voltage power transformers developed by ABB for 1,100 kV DC and 1,200 kV AC utilize the most advanced technology available. The most notable advancements have been made in improving dielectric performance, but developments have also been achieved in all associated fields, such as thermal and mechanical performance.

The HVDC converter transformer

The main function of the HVDC converter transformer is to insulate the DC-voltage of the converter valve from the AC-network to which the HVDC system is connected. All the power that flows through the HVDC system passes the converter transformers, thereby delivering current at a suitable voltage level to the converter valve, transformed from the AC network voltage level.

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