ABB Invests in DC Power Equipment for Energy Savings

June 1, 2011
Major stake in Validus DC Systems expands ABB's power technology portfolio and provides technology said to lower total facility costs by up to 30 percent.

ABB, the Zurich, Switzerland based power and automation technology company, has purchased a controlling interest in U.S.-based Validus DC Systems, provider of direct current (DC) power infrastructure equipment for energy-intensive data centers.

The investment in Brookfield, CT-based Validus complements ABB’s strong technology platform to bolster its entry into the $24 billion market for telecommunications and data center power infrastructure, according to Tarak Mehta, head of ABB’s low voltage products division.

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

Because 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, Mehta continued. It also reduces power equipment, installation, real estate and maintenance costs, resulting in a saving on total facility costs of up to 30 percent. “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,“ he said.

Founded in 2002, Validus DC Systems is a pioneer in delivering enterprise class medium voltage direct current power infrastructure equipment. The company’s technology is said to improve end-to-end system reliability and enable the integration of renewable and alternative energy sources. “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 optimization 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.

 Both parties agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction, which includes an option for ABB to fully acquire Validus.

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See also: ABB CEO Talks Technology, Investments, Products

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