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Superconducting fault current limiter application in a power-dense marine electrical system

Blair, Steven Macpherson and Booth, Campbell and Elders, Ian and Singh, Nand and Burt, Graeme and McCarthy, J. (2011) Superconducting fault current limiter application in a power-dense marine electrical system. IET Electrical Systems in Transportation, 1 (3). 93 – 102. ISSN 2042-9738

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Abstract

Power-dense, low-voltage marine electrical systems have the potential for extremely high fault currents. Superconducting fault current limiters (SFCLs) have been of interest for many years and offer an effective method for reducing fault currents. This is very attractive in a marine vessel in terms of the benefits arising from reductions in switchgear rating (and consequently size, weight and cost) and damage at the point of fault. However, there are a number of issues that must be considered prior to installation of any SFCL device(s), particularly in the context of marine applications. Accordingly, this study analyses several such issues, including: location and resistance sizing of SFCLs; the potential effects of an SFCL on system voltage, power and frequency; and practical application issues such as the potential impact of transients such as transformer inrush. Simulations based upon an actual vessel are used to illustrate discussions and support assertions. It is shown that SFCLs, even with relatively small impedances, are highly effective at reducing prospective fault currents; the impact that higher resistance values has on fault current reduction and maintaining the system voltage for other non-faulted elements of the system is also presented and it is shown that higher resistance values are desirable in many cases. It is demonstrated that the exact nature of the SFCL application will depend significantly on the vessel’s electrical topology, the fault current contribution of each of the generators, and the properties of the SFCL device, such as size, weight, critical current value and recovery time.