A generator that can connect directly to high-voltage transmission systems, without the need for large boosting transformers, should be available for thermal power stations by the middle of next year.
ABB Power Generation said it would develop the high-voltage turbogenerator from the Powerformer unit that it introduced at the end of February for hydro-electric power plants.
The Powerformer, developed in cooperation with Swedish energy company Vattenfall, uses round high-voltage cables instead of the complex arrangement of square insulated copper conductors that form the stator winding on a conventional generator.
The latter produce electricity at voltages too low to transmit efficiently and so require transformers to boost the voltage to link them to the main transmission networks. The innovation on the Powerformer enables it to generate high-voltage electricity, dispensing with the need for step-up transformers.
ABB said the Powerformer, which can generate electricity at 20 400KV, offers power station operators higher overall plant efficiencies and the associated environmental benefits they bring lower maintenance costs, and an improved ability to handle short-term power overload demands. The company said these benefits would be available for new power plant designs and for retrofitting old generators.
A spokesman in Zurich said early estimates were that it could produce a 20 30% cost saving over a generating life of 15 20 years.
News analysis, page 14