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ABB has launched Emax 2, a low-voltage circuit breaker with integrated energy management functions.

According to ABB, replacing existing traditional breakers with the Emax 2 breaker has the potential to achieve annual savings of 5.8 million MWh, or the electric consumption equivalent of 1.4 million U.S. households per year. For an individual building installation, a peak power reduction of up to 15% can be achieved by using Emax 2 in place of traditional breakers, the company claims.

Breakers like the Emax 2 are used where protection and control of large amounts of energy are used in a low-voltage environment, such as industrial and commercial buildings, data centers or ships. The breaker contains a protection trip relay with an integrated power controller that measures and evaluates energy consumption, then manages the loads to maintain or reduce the peak power usage as determined by the user. This also helps prevent blackouts because the root cause is often peak demand exceeding supply.

ABB notes that the Emax 2 features a communication module that allows it to share vital consumption and system reliability data directly with smart grid and other protocols.

"Breakers provide one of the largest untapped opportunities in the electric system to achieve energy savings. Breakers have been used to increase safety and protect electric circuits, but now, for the first time, we use them to save energy, too," says Tarak Mehta, head of ABB's low voltage products division.

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