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

Steven Macpherson Blair, Campbell Booth, Ian Elders, Nand Singh, Graeme Burt, J. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93 – 102
Number of pages10
JournalIET Electrical Systems in Transportation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • marine systems
  • switchgear
  • superconducting fault current limiters
  • power transformers
  • power-dense
  • marine
  • electrical system


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