Protection of physically compact multiterminal DC power systems

Steven Fletcher

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The use of DC for primary power distribution has the potential to bring significant design, cost and efficiency benefits to microgrid, shipboard and aircraft applications. The integration of active converter technologies within these networks is a key enabler for these benefits to be realised, however their influence on an electrical network's fault response can lead to exceptionally demanding protection requirements. This represents a significant barrier to more widespread adoption of DC power distribution. The principle challenge within the field is to develop protection solutions which do not significantly detract from the advantages which DC networks offer. This objective leads the thesis to not only consider how the protection challenges may be overcome but also how this can be achieved in a manner which can benefit the overall design of a system, inclusive of various system design objectives. The thesis proposes that this objective can be achieved through the operation of network protection within the initial transient period following the occurrence of a fault.

In seeking to achieve this aim, the work presented within this thesis makes a number of contributions. The thesis categorises converter type based on the components which influence their fault response and then presents an analysis of the natural fault response of compact multiterminal DC power distribution networks containing these converters. Key factors such as the peak magnitudes and formation times of fault current profiles are determined and quantified as a function of network parameters, enabling protection system operating requirements to be established. Secondary fault effects such as voltage transients are also identified and quantified to illustrate the impact of suboptimal protection system operation. The capabilities of different protection methods and technologies for achieving the proposed operating requirements are then analysed. Significant conclusions are: solid state breaking technologies are essential to achieving operating targets and severe limitations exist with the application of protection methods available within literature for this application. To overcome these shortfalls, novel fault detection approaches are proposed and analysed. These approaches enable fault detection time targets to be met as well as aid with the effective integration of future circuit breaking technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
  • Burt, Graeme, Supervisor
  • Galloway, Stuart, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date15 May 2013
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • physically compact
  • multiterminal DC power systems
  • protection


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