ABB invests in DC technology for energy efficiency


ABB has purchased a controlling interest in US-based Validus DC Systems, a leading provider of direct current (DC) power infrastructure equipment for energy-intensive data centers.

DC technology is substantially more energy efficient than traditional alternating current (AC) technology for electrical distribution. DC systems are also less complex, requiring less space and equipment, resulting in considerable additional savings in real estate and capital expenditure.

The investment in Brookfield, CT-based Validus complements ABB's strong technology platform to bolster its entry into the US$24 billion market for telecommunications and data center power infrastructure.

"DC systems provide data centers with a game-changing advantage in both operational and capital cost savings and we believe they will be widely adopted in this energy-intensive industry," said Tarak Mehta, head of ABB's Low Voltage Products division.

Data centers can use 100 times more electricity than a similar size office building. DC technology can improve their energy efficiency by 10 to 20 percent compared with AC systems by trimming power conversion losses. It also reduces power equipment, installation, real estate and maintenance costs, resulting in a saving on total facility costs of up to 30 per cent.

"With ABB's strong financial backing, their long-term experience in DC technology in other industries, as well as their highly-skilled technical support and vast market reach, we can quickly expand the availability of our DC systems to cost-challenged data centers worldwide," said Rudy Kraus, Chief Executive Officer of Validus DC Systems.

"This end-to-end solution will help facilities save millions of dollars in energy and installation costs without sacrificing reliability."

This is ABB's second recent investment in technology related to data center power infrastructure following the September 2010 investment in Power Assure, a developer of power management and optimisation software for data centers.

The investment in Validus DC Systems was made through ABB Technology Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, which invests in strategically interesting early and growth stage companies. ABB has also made VC investments in companies working in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, smart grid communications, wave power generation, cyber security for utilities and wind farm efficiency.

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