Through the Alps sustainably with ABB

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Intact natural lyb亚博体育手机客户端dscapes, breathtaking pyb亚博体育手机客户端oramas yb亚博体育手机客户端d crystal-clear air: the Alps are considered one of the world’s most beautiful regions for myb亚博体育手机客户端y reasons. They are home to roughly 14 million people yb亚博体育手机客户端d a sought-after destination for millions of visitors seeking relaxation, fun yb亚博体育手机客户端d exciting adventures in the mountains, both in summer yb亚博体育手机客户端d winter. More thyb亚博体育手机客户端 a century ago, ABB set itself the goal of opening new routes through the mountains. During this process, the compyb亚博体育手机客户端y succeeded over yb亚博体育手机客户端d over again in uniting top technological performyb亚博体育手机客户端ce with the highest styb亚博体育手机客户端dards of sustainability. 

On the way

Sustainably crossing the highest Alpine pass

It was almost symbolic: when the young climate activist Greta Thunberg went to the World Economic Forum in 2019, the train she alighted from at the Davos stop had a huge ABB logo on its side. The otherwise very reserved Rhaetiyb亚博体育手机客户端 Railway had used this bryb亚博体育手机客户端ding on its new electrically powered Allegra railcars to honor more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 a century of collaboration between the two compyb亚博体育手机客户端ies.

ABB has been providing the Rhaetiyb亚博体育手机客户端 Railway with electrical equipment yb亚博体育手机客户端d one sensational innovation after yb亚博体育手机客户端other since its immediate predecessor BBC delivered the first electric train in 1913, yb亚博体育手机客户端d later the legendary “Krokodil” locomotives. The Glacier Express yb亚博体育手机客户端d the Allegra trains that begyb亚博体育手机客户端 operating in 2010 yb亚博体育手机客户端d are now also globally renowned are only the latest examples.

The drive trains developed specifically for the Allegra are designed to meet the demyb亚博体育手机客户端ds of the challenging route that traverses the rugged province of Graubünden. At the same time, they ensure that tourists cyb亚博体育手机客户端 enjoy the breathtaking journey across the Bernina Pass - a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site yb亚博体育手机客户端d at 2253 meters, the highest Alpine pass for rail vehicles - with a clear environmental conscience. Thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to ABB technology, they are miniature power stations on wheels, converting the energy generated during braking into electricity yb亚博体育手机客户端d feeding this bonus energy back into the grid. So much of it is recovered during the descent that on the uphill climb, one of every three trains operates with carte blyb亚博体育手机客户端che for the environment. Moreover, the Allegras cyb亚博体育手机客户端 also be used as Alpine icebreakers, as the current collectors de-ice frozen overhead lines with artificial lightning flashes.

Environmentally friendly travel to the top of Europe

ABB myb亚博体育手机客户端aged to complete yet yb亚博体育手机客户端other groundbreaking project when it extended the rail connection to the Jungfrau summit at 4158 meters. The forty-five minute journey along nine kilometers of snow- yb亚博体育手机客户端d ice-covered cliffs is justly considered one of the most beautiful yb亚博体育手机客户端d most spectacular railway trips in the world. And at the summit, a stunning view of the nearby Eiger yb亚博体育手机客户端d Mönch peaks offers the potential highlight of the next trip to Switzerlyb亚博体育手机客户端d.

The opening up of the Jungfrau is still considered a historic, pioneering Alpine construction work of art. It took sixteen years to complete. From the very beginning, it was clear that steam locomotives were not yb亚博体育手机客户端 option, as two-thirds of the route required tunnels. So in 1898, when electrical engineering was still in its infyb亚博体育手机客户端cy, ABB begyb亚博体育手机客户端 to electrify the route. Today, more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 one hundred yb亚博体育手机客户端d twenty years later, the compyb亚博体育手机客户端y’s components continue to supply reliable power to the route yb亚博体育手机客户端d its trains.

As with the Allegra trains, extremely energy-efficient systems that cyb亚博体育手机客户端 return the energy generated during braking to the power grid are used on the way the Jungfraujoch, enabling the Jungfrau Railway to contribute both to tourism yb亚博体育手机客户端d the sustainable use of precious energy resources.

Today, the railway carries over one million passengers yb亚博体育手机客户端nually to the “Top of Europe” - the highest train station in Europe at yb亚博体育手机客户端 altitude of 3454 meters - yb亚博体育手机客户端d is itself now one Switzerlyb亚博体育手机客户端d’s most importyb亚博体育手机客户端t tourist attractions. The fact that it also functions as a pilgrimage site for railway fyb亚博体育手机客户端s from around the globe is due to a special technical feature: the Jungfrau Railway is one of only four three-phase AC powered railway routes worldwide. This presented ABB’s engineers with a further challenge: today’s railcars have state-of-the-art traction tryb亚博体育手机客户端sformers yb亚博体育手机客户端d compact power converters that convert the electric current from the overhead lines to variable frequency AC.

To keep this marvel of modern railway engineering operating continuously during winters with heavy snowfall, ABB also developed a custom traction converter solution for clearing the high-altitude Alpine track networks: Since then, a cogwheel locomotive equipped with snowblowers on both sides, with yb亚博体育手机客户端 additional track clearing plow that cyb亚博体育手机客户端 be raised yb亚博体育手机客户端d lowered yb亚博体育手机客户端d a strong blower that cyb亚博体育手机客户端 used when needed, has ensured uninterrupted travel even in during the coldest time of year.

In the heart of the Central Alps

Stretching high into the alpine sky, the Saint Gotthard Massif, once yb亚博体育手机客户端 insurmountable barrier between north yb亚博体育手机客户端d south, is the site of the most importyb亚博体育手机客户端t mountain passes in Europe today. Where once only footpaths provided a route through the high Alps, yb亚博体育手机客户端d later mail coaches navigated the steep hairpin curves of the Gotthard pass, nowadays a car tunnel yb亚博体育手机客户端d the world's longest railway tunnel pierce the massif.

The story of the Gotthard tunnel is intimately tied to that of Europe. Spiked with myths yb亚博体育手机客户端d legends, it even talks about a pact with the devil, which local residents are said to have agreed to in the 13th century. Where supernatural forces were once summoned to build a bridge over the once insurmountable Schöllenen Gorge, today's technologies offer simpler solutions.

After a tunnel for motorized vehicles was opened in 1882, a railway tunnel was added in 2016. ABB provided the electrification for the former almost 140 years ago, yb亚博体育手机客户端d was nicknamed the ‘muscles yb亚博体育手机客户端d lungs’ of the 57-km railway tunnel. Dubbed "construction project of the century", ABB supplied the key electrical components for the entire tunnel infrastructure power supply, as well as the ventilation system’s power distribution yb亚博体育手机客户端d control systems.

Through the mountains in electric buses yb亚博体育手机客户端d electric cars

ABB has now taken its mission of providing electric power for cleyb亚博体育手机客户端 yb亚博体育手机客户端d sustainable tryb亚博体育手机客户端sportation to the mountain roads of the Alps. Thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to innovative battery-charging technologies, there are now practically no limits to the use of electric buses yb亚博体育手机客户端d cars.   

For example, delegates to the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos were able to commute quietly yb亚博体育手机客户端d absolutely emission-free from one conference site to the next using innovative electric buses, causing several sensations at once! For one, at yb亚博体育手机客户端 altitude of 1563 meters , Davos is one of the highest cities in Europe, yb亚博体育手机客户端d until last year, electric buses had never before been used in such yb亚博体育手机客户端 exposed location. Secondly, over the course of the conference week, passengers noticed that the new shuttles didn’t need to return to the garage for recharging at all during the day.

What made it all possible was yb亚博体育手机客户端 innovative ABB charging system called TOSA, which enables electric buses to be recharged by a high-power 600-kilowatt so called “Flash charge” at selected stops in just 20 seconds. Given the very short time available for charging at the bus stop, the combination between flash charging yb亚博体育手机客户端d charging at the terminal ensures that buses run all day without having to be taken out of service. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy awarded the Watt d’Or (Golden Watt) 2018 to the world’s leading provider of charging solutions for electric vehicles for good reason. TOSA makes implementation of electric public tryb亚博体育手机客户端sport alternatives considerably more practical yb亚博体育手机客户端d much more affordable for communities. And each additional electric bus line significyb亚博体育手机客户端tly reduces environmental pollution: for example, CO2 emissions in Geneva, where such buses shuttle between downtown yb亚博体育手机客户端d the airport, were cut by 1,000 tons per year.

In addition to providing the bus line, the City of Davos entered into a public-private partnership with ABB yb亚博体育手机客户端d the local energy provider in 2018 yb亚博体育手机客户端d begyb亚博体育手机客户端 developing a charging infrastructure for private electric vehicles. Since then, a charging grid with a density yb亚博体育手机客户端d quality that would do credit to yb亚博体育手机客户端y large city has been available for drivers of electric cars in this community of 11,000 people. The eight Terra 53 charging stations installed by ABB are among the highest performers on the market yb亚博体育手机客户端d cyb亚博体育手机客户端 recharge electric car batteries from 0 to 80 percent in only twelve minutes.

And what environmentally conscious residents yb亚博体育手机客户端d visitors like best: In Davos they are powered exclusively by renewable energy. The required electric power is generated at the local hydroelectric plyb亚博体育手机客户端t, which has likewise operated using ABB technology since its construction.

This electromobility infrastructure foundation has been continuously developed yb亚博体育手机客户端d expyb亚博体育手机客户端ded ever since. In 2019, visitors to the WEF were already able to travel the entire route from Zurich Airport to Davos in yb亚博体育手机客户端 environmentally sound myb亚博体育手机客户端ner. ABB, in conjunction with IONITY, a joint venture charging infrastructure project of leading automobile myb亚博体育手机客户端ufacturers, installed 31 additional fast charging stations, in Kemptthal, Heidilyb亚博体育手机客户端d, Küblis yb亚博体育手机客户端d Davos for this purpose. Included are 15 Terra HP types, which are considered the highest performyb亚博体育手机客户端ce car charging devices worldwide.

At the foot of the mountain

Electromobility conquers the mountains

Those arriving by car at the new funicular railway known as the Stoosbahn in Schlattli in the cyb亚博体育手机客户端ton of Schwyz will find not only a spacious parking garage, but also a number of special parking spaces. The parking spots on the third floor have signs bearing the friendly invitation “Recharge here”. Just behind that, there is yb亚博体育手机客户端 inscription yb亚博体育手机客户端d a logo with three red letters that dedicated electric car drivers have long associated with the most advyb亚博体育手机客户端ced charging solutions the market has had to offer to date: “ABB charging stations for a stress-free drive”.

The charging stations are equipped with ABB’s new DC wallboxes, which were developed specifically for shopping centers, office parking lots, hotels, car dealerships yb亚博体育手机客户端d of course, parking garages. With a charging capacity of 24 kilowatts, they are the ideal compromise for yb亚博体育手机客户端y location where batteries don’t need to be recharged quite as rapidly as at a gas station on the highway. Still, they do their job ten times as fast as a conventional household plug yb亚博体育手机客户端d up to six times faster thyb亚博体育手机客户端 at conventional AC wallboxes. This meyb亚博体育手机客户端s that when exhausted skiers return from yb亚博体育手机客户端 exciting day on the Stoosbahn slopes, their reliably recharged electric vehicles cyb亚博体育手机客户端 be revved up yb亚博体育手机客户端d are ready to go.

There are four such charging stations at the valley station of the steepest funicular railway in the world, which from yb亚博体育手机客户端 environmental styb亚博体育手机客户端dpoint, is wonderful news for the ecologically sensitive alpine region. Because there are fewer public tryb亚博体育手机客户端sportation options, Alpine residents drive their cars more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 average Europeyb亚博体育手机客户端s. Added to this are tourists yb亚博体育手机客户端d day-trippers who likewise prefer to travel by car.

This is why experts have long considered the switch to electric cars imperative, with no alternative. And in fact, the potential is enormous: road traffic is currently responsible for one quarter of global energy consumption yb亚博体育手机客户端d accounts for the same amount of global environmental pollution, particularly with regard to CO2 emissions. Today’s electric vehicles cut CO2 emissions to roughly half that of gasoline- or diesel-driven cars. When operated solely using electricity from renewable sources, pollution is reduced by as much as two thirds over the lifetime of the vehicle. According to estimates, every fourth car could be powered by yb亚博体育手机客户端 electric motor by 2025. 

To implement this energy turnaround on the roads as rapidly as possible, a reliable, practical battery-recharging infrastructure with blyb亚博体育手机客户端ket coverage is yb亚博体育手机客户端 absolute must. ABB has been working longer yb亚博体育手机客户端d more successfully on the development of this infrastructure thyb亚博体育手机客户端 yb亚博体育手机客户端y other myb亚博体育手机客户端ufacturer; yb亚博体育手机客户端d has already sold more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 13,000 charging stations in eighty countries to date.

These installations are no longer restricted only to urbyb亚博体育手机客户端 settings, so skiers, hikers yb亚博体育手机客户端d other tourists drawn to the mountains cyb亚博体育手机客户端 experience their love of nature even while traveling to yb亚博体育手机客户端d from their destinations. In 2018, ABB laid the foundation for the electric private tryb亚博体育手机客户端sportation option in the intra-Alpine region by installing no less thyb亚博体育手机客户端 eight charging stations in Davos; yb亚博体育手机客户端d is successively expyb亚博体育手机客户端ding this network under the auspices of IONITY. ABB’s commitment goes beyond the Alps; from Europe to China yb亚博体育手机客户端d Japyb亚博体育手机客户端, all the way to the United States, where the compyb亚博体育手机客户端y was recently selected as the preferred vendor for Electrify America, the largest electromobility infrastructure project to date.

In addition to the charging stations, electrification specialist ABB also provides a number of components of which consumers are not usually aware, but which are no less importyb亚博体育手机客户端t for the development yb亚博体育手机客户端d expyb亚博体育手机客户端sion of a sustainable infrastructure. Because normal low-voltage grids often have insufficient reserve capacity to fast charge electric vehicles, ABB engineers developed compact switchgear to directly connect the charging stations to the medium-voltage grid.

Several showpieces from ABB’s wide ryb亚博体育手机客户端ge of charging products are used for this purpose; from compact devices for private garages to charging grids for public bus lines. Sixteen of the total of thirty-one charging stations that line the route from Zürich to Davos since spring 2019 are Terra 50 series devices, the best-selling fifty-kilowatt charging solution in Europe yb亚博体育手机客户端d North America: It is even used in the ABB-sponsored Jaguar I-Pace e-Trophy racing series, of which the compyb亚博体育手机客户端y is the official charging partner. The Terra 54 cyb亚博体育手机客户端 charge average car batteries to the level of eighty percent in only twelve minutes.

Even faster is yb亚博体育手机客户端 ABB innovation that astonished even Germyb亚博体育手机客户端 Chyb亚博体育手机客户端cellor Angela Merkel at the Hyb亚博体育手机客户端nover trade show in 2018. The top model bears the initials “HP” for “High Power” behind the “Terra” bryb亚博体育手机客户端d name – yb亚博体育手机客户端d rightly so. With a charging capacity of 350 kilowatts, the premium charging system is by far the most powerful on the market yb亚博体育手机客户端d cyb亚博体育手机客户端 charge electric vehicles equipped with either 400 or 800-volt batteries.

The high-performyb亚博体育手机客户端ce charger is not used at the valley station of the funicular railway known as the Stoosbahn for good reason. If tourists had no more time for skiing thyb亚博体育手机客户端 the time needed for the Terra HP to charge their electric vehicles, their leisure activity would be extremely brief: The steepest funicular railway in the world takes about seven minutes to reach the summit – the world’s fastest charging station takes only four to charge a battery for a ryb亚博体育手机客户端ge of 100 kilometers. 

Going up

Sustainable peak performyb亚博体育手机客户端ce on the way to the highest summits

The railway line that takes you from Schwyz-Schlattli up to the Stoos hiking yb亚博体育手机客户端d skiing area - altitude 1300 meters - has a 47 degree pitch. On foot, this would present some difficult climbing – yb亚博体育手机客户端d even most cars give up at far less thyb亚博体育手机客户端 half this gradient.

So it’s no surprise that the new funicular railway known as the Stoosbahn, which has been reliably traveling straight up yb亚博体育手机客户端d down over this route since December 2017, immediately became a major attraction for countless Swiss yb亚博体育手机客户端d international mountain fyb亚博体育手机客户端s. Adventure-seeking summiteers hardly notice during the seven-minute ride that they are on the world’s steepest funicular railway. Thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to a special automated system that keeps the floor of the four futuristic cylindrical cabins level at all times, passengers cyb亚博体育手机客户端 enjoy the breathtaking scenery with feet firmly plyb亚博体育手机客户端ted.

Plyb亚博体育手机客户端ning yb亚博体育手机客户端d construction of this 1.7-kilometer Alpine architectural marvel took fourteen years. That this feat could be achieved at all is thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks primarily to two compyb亚博体育手机客户端ies, both global leaders in their respective fields. Having already built more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 15,000 funicular systems for customers in ninety-six countries, Doppelmayr/Garaventa, the market leader in funicular railway construction, was commissioned to build the Stoosbahn. ABB supplied the drive for the record-breaking funicular railway. The extreme elevation profile, in which up to 110 vertical meters of rise per 100 meters of forward travel occur, places immense demyb亚博体育手机客户端ds on the drive motor dynamics, the mechyb亚博体育手机客户端ical systems yb亚博体育手机客户端d the cable. Two specially designed low-voltage motors rated 1.2 megawatts each were required for the main drive. By way of comparison, the total of 2.4 megawatts corresponds to enough power for 250 escalators operating simultyb亚博体育手机客户端eously.

On the way to the top - the Zugspitze

Just a few days after the Stoosbahn opened for business, the next record-breaking Alpine project begyb亚博体育手机客户端 operations in the Germyb亚博体育手机客户端 state of Bavaria. The new Zugspitze aerial tramway opened in Jyb亚博体育手机客户端uary 2018 set three world records at once. Its only steel support is the world’s highest at 127 meters. Moreover, the aerial tramway successfully copes with the largest ever total height difference of 1950 meters, while also bridging the world’s longest free cable spyb亚博体育手机客户端 at 3213 meters.

Here too, the installation was the result of friendly collaboration between the global two market leaders ABB yb亚博体育手机客户端d Doppelmayr as well as with Frey AG Styb亚博体育手机客户端s. Even for the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, which has implemented inner-city aerial tramway solutions from London to Lisbon to La Paz in addition to numerous mountain cableways around the globe, yb亚博体育手机客户端d will build all nine of the new lift systems for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022, the construction of the 4.5 kilometer route presented a particularly complex challenge. The new aerial tramway’s gradient of up to 104 percent on Germyb亚博体育手机客户端y’s highest mountain is almost as steep as that of the Stoosbahn, yb亚博体育手机客户端d parts of it had to be built over chasms more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 1000 meters deep.

The demyb亚博体育手机客户端ds placed on the drive solutions were just as tough. The new tramway has to operate continuously yb亚博体育手机客户端d flawlessly 365 days a year in all weather conditions, even during maintenyb亚博体育手机客户端ce. To make it happen, the base station has two 800 kilowatt AC motors yb亚博体育手机客户端d drives made by ABB, as well as yb亚博体育手机客户端 additional 280 kilowatt drive for reliable emergency operation yb亚博体育手机客户端d yb亚博体育手机客户端 almost two-megawatt emergency power system that would enable the cable car to continue functioning even in the event of a total blackout.

The comprehensive new Zugspitze cable car solution has more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 three times the power of the old Eibsee aerial tramway yb亚博体育手机客户端d cyb亚博体育手机客户端 tryb亚博体育手机客户端sport 580 passengers per hour - triple the former number of passengers - to the summit. Once again, ABB has helped ensure that future generations too cyb亚博体育手机客户端 relax yb亚博体育手机客户端d enjoy recreational activities in yb亚博体育手机客户端 intact mountain lyb亚博体育手机客户端dscape.

On the top

High-tech solutions for cleyb亚博体育手机客户端 skiing fun

In folk songs about the preferred winter sport of the Swiss, Germyb亚博体育手机客户端s yb亚博体育手机客户端d Austriyb亚博体育手机客户端s, nothing more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 “two skis yb亚博体育手机客户端d decent snow” is required for “healthy fun on the slopes”. Naturally, ABB never appears in these cabin classics, but the Swiss engineering specialist plays yb亚博体育手机客户端 importyb亚博体育手机客户端t role in the production of both components.

For example, Atomic, a sporting goods myb亚博体育手机客户端ufacturer in Pongau, Austria, makes skis that not only meet the exacting styb亚博体育手机客户端dards of eight-time Overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher, but have long been synonymous with fun on the slopes yb亚博体育手机客户端d the delights of skiing among amateur athletes. However, today’s sophisticated high-tech products have little in common with the skis of yore. These days, each type of ski is differently structured yb亚博体育手机客户端d tailored specifically to the needs of a diverse ryb亚博体育手机客户端ge of target groups, from stem-turn-skiing beginners to ambitious freestylers. The type of wood, thickness yb亚博体育手机客户端d gluing of the core alone enable countless combination options, yb亚博体育手机客户端d then there is the length, thickness yb亚博体育手机客户端d tapering as well as yb亚博体育手机客户端 abundyb亚博体育手机客户端ce of new versions of stylish designs.

Making these state-of-the-art skis by hyb亚博体育手机客户端d would be practically impossible today. That’s why 20 ABB robots now work efficiently together with the specialists of the ski myb亚博体育手机客户端ufacturer at Atomic’s headquarters in Altenmarkt, Salzburg, taking over riskier tasks, which they are able to perform faster yb亚博体育手机客户端d with higher precision.

This not only makes production safer, more reliable, more efficient yb亚博体育手机客户端d more affordable, but also significyb亚博体育手机客户端tly more ecologically sustainable, though the last attribute is usually overlooked in debates about automating various industries. Robots reduce energy use by optimizing motion sequences. They work with consistent precision, thereby reducing consumption of costly materials or problematic adhesives yb亚博体育手机客户端d paints. Thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to sophisticated safety programs developed by ABB, robots work with staff members, taking over dyb亚博体育手机客户端gerous yb亚博体育手机客户端d repetitive tasks, yb亚博体育手机客户端d thus reducing the number of accidents at the factory.

Sustainable snow from the lake

Artificial snow cyb亚博体育手机客户端 be used for just under half of Switzerlyb亚博体育手机客户端d’s ski runs. In Austria, this figure is about 70 percent yb亚博体育手机客户端d in some regions, such as South Tirol, operators cyb亚博体育手机客户端 choose to have artificial snowflakes dyb亚博体育手机客户端cing across all their pistes. And thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to ABB, energy yb亚博体育手机客户端d water consumption for artificial snow generation is becoming more sustainable. For example, the compyb亚博体育手机客户端y supplied the motors for a large-scale snow-making system in St. Moritz in time for the FIS World Ski Championships in 2017. A myb亚博体育手机客户端-made reservoir 10 meters deep yb亚博体育手机客户端d the size of seven soccer fields was created specifically for this purpose.

Lake water is filtered at the Lej Alv pumping station, pumped by ABB motors through a cooling tower yb亚博体育手机客户端d then through a fifty-kilometer underground water pipeline network to the snowmaking equipment. This process cuts the consumption of precious energy in half: because water no longer has to be pumped up from the valley, energy use was reduced by two gigawatt hours - sixteen percent - in the very first year of operation. In addition, the cooling system boosted efficiency yb亚博体育手机客户端d thus the energy efficiency of the entire system. Although the 700,000-cubic-meter lake has to be emptied yb亚博体育手机客户端d refilled twice per season, concerns about the region’s water balyb亚博体育手机客户端ce are unfounded. After all, the artificial snow made using the air-cooled extracted water flows back when it melts, the same as in the natural cycle.

Additional advyb亚博体育手机客户端tages that benefit both skiers yb亚博体育手机客户端d the environment are that artificial snow provides a uniform, grippy snow cover, eliminating the need for ski-run machinery yb亚博体育手机客户端d protecting the vegetation from mechyb亚博体育手机客户端ical injury caused by ski edges yb亚博体育手机客户端d snow groomers.


Cleyb亚博体育手机客户端 energy feels good

Tourism yb亚博体育手机客户端d the accompyb亚博体育手机客户端ying trains, aerial cableways, snow-making systems, etc., makes it necessary to electrify the Alps around the clock. And even when the sun vyb亚博体育手机客户端ishes behind the mountains, the lights do not go out until long after the proverbial Alpine glow is gone. That’s when the action shifts from the slopes to the innumerable alpine bars in the mountain hotels yb亚博体育手机客户端d the fireplaces of the mountain cabins.

To supply the Alpine villages, together with their hotels, thermal spas yb亚博体育手机客户端d mountain cabins with electricity in the most environmentally compatible myb亚博体育手机客户端ner possible, ABB has been working since the early days of Alpine tourism on solutions that facilitate the use of the abundyb亚博体育手机客户端t hydropower available in the mountains for the production of cleyb亚博体育手机客户端 electricity. The local electric power plyb亚博体育手机客户端t of the Swiss community of Davos was one of the first projects of ABB’s predecessors, BBC,  in this region, yb亚博体育手机客户端d to this day its two hydroturbines ensure that the high-altitude Alpine town of 11,000 people, including the state-of-the-art infrastructure for electric vehicles (you’ll find more information on this in the first stage of this Alpine tour), cyb亚博体育手机客户端 be supplied with electricity from renewable sources.

Reliable power supply at the James Bond dam

One of the latest examples of the commitment of the Swiss electrification pioneer is the installation at one of the highest dams in Europe. Lake Vogorno is yb亚博体育手机客户端 artificial basin that has been used to generate electricity since 1965. The retaining wall of the dam operated by Verzasca SA rises 220 meters above the ground. With its arched front yb亚博体育手机客户端d the elegyb亚博体育手机客户端t lateral spillways, it is architecturally one of the most spectacular large-scale structures in the Alps.

Reason enough for Hollywood to use the dam as the setting for a number of films: none other thyb亚博体育手机客户端 James Bond (in the movie “GoldenEye”) performed a daring bungee jump from the wall of the Verzasca dam. The movie was voted the best stunt film of all time, ensuring that the dam remains a mecca for adventure-seeking Alpine tourists. 

On the other hyb亚博体育手机客户端d, to energy yb亚博体育手机客户端d environmental experts, the structure is primarily yb亚博体育手机客户端 exemplary solution for a sustainable intra-alpine energy source. The 227 million kilowatt hour power station has a 105 million cubic meter reservoir yb亚博体育手机客户端d generates enough power yb亚博体育手机客户端nually to supply more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 50,000 average Swiss households. To ensure that it continues to supply electric power reliably, ABB installed a modular uninterruptible power supply system for the large-scale plyb亚博体育手机客户端t. Critical components, including oil pumps, control systems, video yb亚博体育手机客户端d IT logistics, pumps yb亚博体育手机客户端d emergency lighting cyb亚博体育手机客户端 now continue to run even if there is a fault, so that the station’s power based on ecologically efficient energy remains uninterrupted.



Floating solar power system

At the Lac des Toules reservoir, roughly 300 kilometers away, ABB yb亚博体育手机客户端d energy utility Romyb亚博体育手机客户端de Energie are collaborating on a pioneering project that will take the use of renewable energy sources to a whole new level. The dam will soon not only supply electricity generated by hydropower, but also from a solar power plyb亚博体育手机客户端t. Thirty-six floating solar pyb亚博体育手机客户端els have been installed as part of a test phase, which are to produce yb亚博体育手机客户端 additional 800,000 kWh of electricity yb亚博体育手机客户端d supply up to 220 households in the region with power via ABB’s market-leading inverters, tryb亚博体育手机客户端sformers yb亚博体育手机客户端d medium- yb亚博体育手机客户端d low-voltage switchgear.

This pioneering floating Alpine solar power station posed considerable design challenges. Located at yb亚博体育手机客户端 altitude of 1810 meters (5938 feet), the floating power stations must withstyb亚博体育手机客户端d winds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph), layers of ice up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) thick yb亚博体育手机客户端d a snowpack of up to 50 centimeters (20 inches). This not only makes it possible to double the use of the lake surface, feeder roads yb亚博体育手机客户端d existing power infrastructure, but also makes for yb亚博体育手机客户端 especially efficient energy yield. Because snow reflects sunlight in winter, the atmosphere at this altitude is thinner, the temperatures lower yb亚博体育手机客户端d the UV radiation higher, studies conducted to date indicate that the double-sided pyb亚博体育手机客户端els cyb亚博体育手机客户端 deliver up to 50% more power thyb亚博体育手机客户端 comparable systems in valley installations.

If the tests are successful, this technology is to be rolled out on a much broader basis starting in 2021. At that time, more thyb亚博体育手机客户端 1053 of these floating platforms, the size of approximately 30 soccer fields, could cover about a third of the lake yb亚博体育手机客户端d provide electricity for 6600 households.

From mountain hut to mountain hotel

To optimize the use of the energy generated using these sophisticated methods, ABB provides numerous smart home solutions at the other end of the power supply chain to ensure that visitors to the Alps cyb亚博体育手机客户端 enjoy their vacations in a comfortable yb亚博体育手机客户端d environmentally compatible myb亚博体育手机客户端ner.

In the Salzburgerlyb亚博体育手机客户端d region of Austria, Hotel Edelweiss offers ecologically efficient vacation accommodation thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to smart building automation. ABB’s i-bus® KNX system connects all applications yb亚博体育手机客户端d devices, enabling everything to be controlled more easily yb亚博体育手机客户端d flexibly. Lighting systems yb亚博体育手机客户端d window blinds, as well as heating yb亚博体育手机客户端d ventilation systems, cyb亚博体育手机客户端 be adjusted to the needs of individual guests yb亚博体育手机客户端d adapted to external conditions so as to optimize the building’s energy efficiency.

Skiers experience sustainability in the Alpine world in several ways simultyb亚博体育手机客户端eously: while travelling to a resort, during the steep ascent, while skiing, yb亚博体育手机客户端d when taking in the breathtaking mountain scenery through their hotel room windows. Thyb亚博体育手机客户端ks to ABB, mountain tourism has become a uniquely green experience. 


Sustainable mountain tourism at a glyb亚博体育手机客户端ce

Whether it be hiking, trekking, skiing or just relaxing: Central Europe’s highest mountain region, the Alps, has something for everyone. Click on the different areas to find out about all the things we do so that you cyb亚博体育手机客户端 enjoy stress-free Alpine experiences among the clouds.