ABB has developed the world's first circuit breaker for high-voltage direct current (HVDC). It combines very fast mechanics with power electronics and will be capable of interrupting power flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within 5 msec.

This breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of DC transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. DC grids also will improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing AC networks.

The Hybrid HVDC breaker development has been a flagship research project for ABB. HVDC technology is needed to facilitate the long distance transfer of power from hydropower plants, the integration of offshore wind power, the development of visionary solar projects, and the interconnection of different power networks.