Practical aspects of partial discharge measurement for HVDC cables

Hu, X and Reid, A J and Corr, E and Siew, W H and Judd, M D and Seltzer-Grant, M and Giussani, R and El Mountassir, O (2020) Practical aspects of partial discharge measurement for HVDC cables. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 53 (29). 295501. ISSN 1361-6463 (

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High-voltage direct current (HVDC) cables are increasingly being installed to connect new offshore wind farms. Unplanned outages of these connectors can cause high economic impacts. Hence, there are requirements for condition-based maintenance that can improve operational reliability. Partial discharge (PD) is indicative of insulation defects. PD monitoring for AC cables is well established, but before applying the technique to HVDC cable connections, it is important to characterise PD behaviour under DC conditions and the attenuation in HVDC cables. This paper investigates PD activity under non-ideal DC stress, PD signal attenuation in HVDC cables, and electromagnetic noise in converter stations. Under the voltage of superimposed DC and harmonics, PD pulses tend to synchronise with the phase of harmonics. Therefore, synchronised recording of PD pulses can produce phase resolved patterns as an additional tool for insulation diagnostics. Modelling of attenuation in a HVDC transmission cable indicates that a detection bandwidth of tens of kHz to a few MHz may improve detection sensitivity when measuring PD current pulses over very long cable runs is carried out through sensors such as high frequency current transformers (HFCTs) installed at cable ends. Additionally, the RF spectrum measured in a converter station cable hall did not include any switching-related signals, demonstrating the viability of RF sensors based PD monitoring for the HV components associated with the cable connections.