Circl Pavilion Amsterdam

ABN Amro Bank's most sustainable circular building in the heart of Amsterdam's business district

Last update on 14 June 2023
Abn amro circl

Sustainability & Circularity

DC takes circularity one step further. With 3000m² of meeting venues with LED and PV panels connected to a complete DC grid on 350V DC developed by Direct Current B.V. The next step for DC is to create cases in utility buildings. It is not just about avoiding conversion losses -this is just an important by-catch-, but more about the bigger picture. Through this technique, we can add more functionality in buildings and lay the foundation to be connected to a smart DC network where congestion management is in the roots of the internal and external network. In this way, we build an organic smart grid that allows optimum use of renewable energy and puts it in use at the lowest cost. This applies to users but also for the operators, which directly leads to the lowest social cost in order to allow a sustainable society. Needless to mention that balancing the energy bill is further reduced here, especially in combination with storage, which in DC nets can be much smaller than the current AC nets. We are closely involved in the following projects in order to achieve this.

Safe and Eficient DC Technology

In the recent years, Direct Current BV has worked hard at the technology to make this as safe and efficient as possible. This includes the following innovations:

  • Current/OS on 350V (i.e. the software layer used within this network where privacy violation is impossible; therefore it does not need to be protected) containing the Operating System of the currents and the Priority System.
  • Current Router (i.e. security system and power management modules; electronic breakers "short circuit and overload," leakage current and ARC detection).
  • LED drivers 350VDC.
  • USB-C 100W Wall Socket outlet including data (still in development).
  • AC/DC converter station.
  • Corrosion protection.
ABN AMRO Circl cabinet View

The 350V DC distribution system, developed, delivered and put into operation by Direct Current BV, and wiring and installing by BAM Engineering.

A World First Office Building on DC Grid

The Circl is the first building worldwide with a DC infrastructure. This innovative DC installation opens the way to a new market with sustainable DC offices.
The DC grid works with a 350V DC distribution system and DC components developed by Direct Current BV. More than 500 solar panels on the Circl building are connected directly to the DC grid by DC micro converters. In the standard AC grid, all energy must first be converted to AC which gives energy conversion losses. The ventilation unit is also connected to the DC grid. Compared to the usual AC installations, DC yields a significant saving of raw materials and energy. The DC installation is furnished to implement batteries and to optimize the energy balance in a later stadium, innovations Direct Current BV is innovating. Energy storage in batteries in combination with solar panels allows for a smaller grid connection in this building. Therefore, the costs for a DC grid in an office building are considerably lower than a conventional AC grid.

Have a look inside this DC living lab.

USB-C on DC grid

Another major innovation in the Circl are the 100W USB-C socket outlets, powered directly from the DC grid. USB-C plays a very important role in the buildings of the future. As USB-C enables both energy and data communication through the same cable, it is to be expected that the USB-C plug becomes the standard connection for laptops, desktop computers, monitors, phones, tablets, LED lights and media devices. Devices that do not support USB-C can make use of locally generated 230V AC power. The USB-C socket has been developed by Direct Current BV and ABB developed the enclosure.

Current Router breakthrough in DC

Direct Current BV is in the interest of the world. Regularly, delegates from the big multinationals visit the company to take a look. Since 2009, Direct Current BV has been developing DC components to enable a sustainable DC network. From network codes (Current/OS), electronics, and firmware to system integration, the company realized a major breakthrough in DC with the invention of the Current Router that protects the DC system in combination with their own developed operating system Current/OS. From 2011 till date, many pilot projects throughout the Netherlands have demonstrated the workings of the DC system and the savings on resources and energy. This ensures that the Netherlands have a global lead in the field of DC.

Circl entrance
Circl Building Reference Design

View the reference design of Circl building.