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ABB funds new power semiconductor professorship at renowned Swiss university
Monday, Jun 09, 2014

ABB, the leading power and automation group, grants 5 million Swiss Francs to the ETH Zurich Foundation to support the development of high-performance power semiconductors to improve the efficiency of power conversion systems and energy transmission over long distances as well as industrial solutions.

This financial contribution from ABB Switzerland, which will be distributed over 10 years, creates a fourth professorship within the Swiss university’s electrical energy initiative. It is aimed at not only boosting research and teaching, but also supporting industrial partners with their work.

The area of power semiconductor research is growing increasingly important. Power electronics are used to shape electric current according to specific requirements, making it possible to control the speed of electric motors, enable trains to accelerate and decelerate gently, allow renewable energies to be integrated into the power grid and electric vehicle batteries to be charged in just 15 minutes.

“We’re honored to contribute to this new professorship at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and are convinced this undertaking will pay dividends in the development of the electricity network of the future,” said ABB Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer. “We need to decouple economic growth from energy consumption. This contribution underscores ABB’s commitment to power and productivity for a better world.”

ABB, which invests $1.5 billion annually in research and development, partners with universities worldwide as part of its mission of helping customers reduce energy consumption and boost efficiency to preserve the earth’s resources. With a history that spans nearly 160 years and 21 Nobel Prize winners, the renowned ETH Zurich is an ideal partner for ABB to advance this commitment.

The ETH is consistently rated among the top universities for engineering and technology in the world. With this donation, ABB strengthens the university’s initiative aimed at intensifying its electrical energy technology activities and bolstering its leading position in the area of electrical energy research.

“This newly created post will expand educational opportunities for our students as well as aid research and development of new technologies and materials in an area which is crucial for Swiss energy policy”, said ETH President Ralph Eichler. “An important research focus for the new professorship will be the deployment of new semiconductors in the high voltage electrical network of the future.”

ABB is already active in this field. It’s currently erecting a power electronics research laboratory near Baden in Switzerland where employees are working on power semiconductor technologies. Further developments within the company are also being pursued at ABB Semiconductors in nearby Lenzburg.

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