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Application of multiple resistive superconducting fault-current limiters for fast fault detection in highly interconnected distribution systems

Blair, Steven Macpherson and Booth, Campbell and Burt, Graeme and Bright, C.G. (2013) Application of multiple resistive superconducting fault-current limiters for fast fault detection in highly interconnected distribution systems. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, 28 (2). pp. 1120-1127. ISSN 0885-8977

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Abstract

Superconducting fault-current limiters (SFCLs) offer several benefits for electrical distribution systems, especially with increasing distributed generation and the requirements for better network reliability and efficiency. This paper examines the use of multiple SFCLs in a protection scheme to locate faulted circuits, using an approach which is radically different from typical proposed applications of fault current limitation, and also which does not require communications. The technique, referred to as “current division discrimination” (CDD), is based upon the intrinsic inverse current-time characteristics of resistive SFCLs, which ensures that only the SFCLs closest to a fault operate. CDD is especially suited to meshed networks and particularly when the network topology may change over time. Meshed networks are expensive and complex to protect using conventional methods. Simulation results with multiple SFCLs, using a thermal-electric superconductor model, confirm that CDD operates as expected. Nevertheless, CDD has limitations, which are examined in this paper. The SFCLs must be appropriately rated for the maximum system fault level, although some variation in actual fault level can be tolerated. For correct coordination between SFCLs, each bus must have at least three circuits that can supply fault current, and the SFCLs should have identical current-time characteristics.