The quantum-dot cellular automaton (QCA), a processing platform based on interacting quantum dots, was introduced by Lent in the mid-1990s. What followed was an exhilarating period with the development of the line, the functionally complete set of logic functions, as well as more complex processing structures, however all in the realm of binary logic. Regardless of these achievements, it has to be acknowledged that the use of binary logic is in computing systems mainly the end result of the technological limitations, which the designers had to cope with in the early days of their design. The first advancement of QCAs to multi-valued (ternary) processing was performed by Lebar Bajec et al, with the argument that processing platforms of the future should not disregard the clear advantages of multi-valued logic. Some of the elementary ternary QCAs, necessary for the construction of more complex processing entities, however, lead to a remarkable increase in size when compared to their binary counterparts. This somewhat negates the advantages gained by entering the ternary computing domain. As it turned out, even the binary QCA had its initial hiccups, which have been solved by the introduction of adiabatic switching and the application of adiabatic pipeline approaches. We present here a study that introduces adiabatic switching into the ternary QCA and employs the adiabatic pipeline approach to successfully solve the issues of elementary ternary QCAs. What is more, the ternary QCAs presented here are sizewise comparable to binary QCAs. This in our view might serve towards their faster adoption.