A novel backup protection scheme for hybrid AC/DC power systems

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis presents and demonstrates (both via simulation and hardware-based tests) a new protection scheme designed to safeguard hybrid AC/DC distribution networks against DC faults that are not cleared by the main MVDC (Medium Voltage DC) link protection. The protection scheme relies on the apparent impedance measured at the AC "side" of the MVDC link to detect faults on the DC system. It can be readily implemented on existing distance protection relays with no changes to existing measuring equipment. An overview of the literature in this area is presented and it is shown that the protection of MVDC links is only considered at a converter station level. There appears to be no consideration of protecting the MVDC system from the wider AC power system via backup - as would be the case for standard AC distribution network assets, where the failure of main protection would require a (usually remote) backup protection system to operate to clear the fault. Very little literature considers remote backup protection of MVDC links.;To address this issue, the research presented in this thesis characterises the apparent impedance as measured in the neighbouring AC system under various DC fault conditions on an adjacent MVDC link. Initial studies, based on simulations, show that a highly inductive characteristic, in terms of the calculations from the measured AC voltages and currents, is apparent on all three phases in the neighbouring AC system during DC-side pole-to-pole and pole-poleground faults. This response is confirmed via a series of experiments conducted at low voltage in a laboratory environment using scaled down electrical components. From this classification, a fast-acting backup protection methodology, which can detect pole-to-pole and pole-poleground faults within 40 ms, is proposed and trialled through simulation. The solution can be deployed on distance protection relays using a typically unused zone (e.g. zone 4).;New relays could, of course, incorporate this functionality as standard in the future. To maximise confidence and demonstrate the compatibility of the solution, the protection scheme is deployed under a real-time hardware-in-the-loop environment using a commercially available distance protection relay. Suggestions to improve the stability of the proposed solution are discussed and demonstrated. Future areas of work are identified and described. As an appendix, early stage work pertaining to the potential application and benefits of MVDC is presented for two Scottish distribution networks. The findings from this are presented as supplementary material at the end of the thesis.
Date of Award31 Jul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) & University of Strathclyde
SupervisorCampbell Booth (Supervisor) & Stephen Finney (Supervisor)

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