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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 24, NO. 3, JULY 2009

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Protection of Low-Voltage DC Microgrids

Daniel Salomonsson , Student Member, IEEE, Lennart Söder, Member, IEEE , and Ambra Sannino, Member, IEEE

Abstract—In this paper, a low-voltage (LV) dc microgrid pro- tection system design is proposed. The LV dc microgrid is used to interconnect distributed resources and sensitive electronic loads. When designing an LV dc microgrid protection system, knowl- edge from existing dc power systems can be used. However, in most cases, these systems use grid-connected rectifiers with current-lim- iting capability during dc faults. In contrast, an LV dc microgrid must be connected to an ac grid through converters with bidirec- tional power flow and, therefore, a different protection-system de- sign is needed. In this paper, the operating principles and tech- nical data of LV dc protection devices, both available and in the research stage, are presented. Furthermore, different fault-detec- tion and grounding methods are discussed. The influence of the se- lected protection devices and grounding method on an LV dc mi- crogrid is studied through simulations. The results show that it is possible to use available devices to protect such a system. Problems may arise with high-impedance ground faults which can be diffi- cult to detect.

Index Terms— Circuit transient analysis, DC power systems, power distribution faults, power distribution protection, power electronics.

I. INTRODUCTION

U SE of distributed resources (DRs) in the electric power system at the distribution level opens new possibilities.

A part of the distribution system with its sources and loads can

form an isolated electric power system—a microgrid [1]. During normal operating conditions, the microgrid is connected to the

ac grid at the point of common coupling (PCC), and the loads are supplied from the local sources and, if necessary, also from the ac grid. If the load power is less than the power produced by the local sources, the excess power can be exported to the

grid. The sources used in a microgrid are often small ( 500

kW) and are based on renewable energy, for example, PV arrays, fuel cells, and microturbines. These sources produce power with different voltage amplitude and frequency than those used in the microgrid and, therefore, need to be interfaced through power- electronic converters [2]. A microgrid is well suited to protecting sensitive loads from power outages and, in some cases, also disturbances, for ex- ample, voltage dips [3]. High reliability can be obtained by uti-

ac

dips [3]. High reliability can be obtained by uti- ac Manuscript received March 12, 2008; revised

Manuscript received March 12, 2008; revised November 07, 2008. First pub- lished April 28, 2009; current version published June 24, 2009. This work was supported in part by ELFORSK, Sweden; in part by ABB Corporate Research; and in part by the Swedish Energy Administration within the Elektra program. Paper no. TPWRD-00183-2008.

D. Salomonsson and L. Söder are with the Electric Power Systems Lab,

Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm SE-100 44, Sweden (e-mail:

daniel.salomonsson@ee.kth.se; lennart.soder@ee.kth.se).

A. Sannino is with the ABB Corporate Research, Power Technologies,

Västerås SE-721 78, Sweden (e-mail: ambra.sannino@ieee.org). Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRD.2009.2016622

lizing the power-electronic interfaces of the DRs, together with fast protection systems. To operate the microgrid in island mode,

an islanding detection system is necessary, which safely discon- nects the microgrid when an ac grid outage occurs to prevent energizing the ac grid [4].

A low-voltage (LV) dc microgrid is most suitable to use where

most of the loads are sensitive electronic equipment. The ad- vantage of an LV dc microgrid compared to an LV ac micro- grid is that loads, sources, and energy storage can be connected through simpler and more efficient power-electronic interfaces [5]. So far, LV dc microgrids have been used in telecom power systems, and power-system control and protection systems [6]. To ensure reliable operation of the LV dc microgrid, it is important to have a well-functioning protection system. As a starting point, knowledge from existing protection systems for high-power LV dc power systems, for example, in generating stations and traction power systems [6], [7] can be used. How- ever, these systems utilize grid-connected rectifiers with cur-

rent-limiting capability during dc faults. In contrast, an LV dc microgrid must be connected to an ac grid through converters with bidirectional power flow and, therefore, a different protec- tion system design is needed. Short-circuit current calculations

for LV dc systems have been treated in [8] and fault detection in

[9]. However, the protection devices have not been considered.

So far, the influence of protection devices on the system perfor-

mance has only been considered in studies of high-voltage (HV)

dc applications, such as electric ships and HV dc transmission

systems [10]–[12].

In this paper, a protection-system design for LV dc microgrids

will be proposed. Different LV dc protection devices, which

today are in the research stage or commercially available, will

be presented. Finally, the influence of the protection system on

the LV dc microgrid during faults will be studied by using the software package PSCAD/EMTDC [13].

II. LOW-VOLTAGE MICROGRID

An LV dc microgrid is well suited for naturally demarcated power systems, for example, office buildings with sensitive

computer loads or rural power systems, but also electric ve- hicles and ships. Since ac distribution is widespread and not

all sources and loads benefit from having a connection to dc,

it is reasonable to consider a mixed ac/dc microgrid as in the

example in Fig. 1. The dc microgrid is denoted as “Zone 1,” the

ac microgrid is “Zone 2,” and the ac grid is denoted as “Zone 3.”

A mixed ac/dc microgrid can typically be used in systems up to

a few megawatts, and the issue regarding how to interconnect

different sources, loads, and energy storage with the ac grid has

earlier been treated in [14]. However, the resulting design was partially based on the assumption that no loads were connected directly to the dc bus. The main components used in an LV microgrid are: sources, converters, energy storage, and loads.

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channel Link: http://telegram.me/microgrids 1046 Fig. 1. Example of a small low-voltage ac/dc microgrid. A. Sources

Fig. 1.

Example of a small low-voltage ac/dc microgrid.

A. Sources

Sources used in an LV microgrid can be of various types. Pho- tovoltaic arrays and fuel cells produce dc voltage and, there- fore, are suitable to connect to a dc power system via a dc/dc converter. Microturbines are also preferably connected to a dc power system due to their high-frequency output voltage which requires conversion. Similarly, wind-turbine generators produce voltage with varying frequency. To connect the wind turbine to a dc bus, only one converter is required. Internal combus- tion engines (ICE), for example, diesel engines, commonly used for standby-power generation, are preferably connected to an ac power system.

B. Converters

Both ac/dc and dc/dc converters are used in the LV micro- grid, where ac/dc converters are used to interconnect the ac mi- crogrid and the dc microgrid. These converters need to generate sinusoidal ac voltages and currents, and be able to control the bidirectional power flow. Furthermore, the converters must have galvanic isolation, and be able to handle grid disturbances, such as voltage dips with unsymmetrical voltages [15]. Finally, the converters should have high efficiency. Different dc/dc converters will be used to connect different sources and loads to the dc microgrid. DC/DC converters can be built simpler compared with ac/dc converters, which results in lower cost and higher efficiency [16].

C. Energy Sto rage

The availability or the transient response of some DRs, such as wind power, solar cells, and fuel cells require them to be combined with other energy sources or energy storage. Fur- thermore, energy storage can be used for power-quality (PQ) improvement, load leveling, or emergency power supply [17]. Commonly used storage techniques are batteries, (super)capac- itors, and flywheels [18]. Batteries and capacitors can be directly

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 24, NO. 3, JULY 2009

connected to the dc bus, but flywheels are connected through a machine and a converter.

D. Loads

The LV microgrid can be used to supply loads which require a power supply with high availability. Examples of such loads are lighting systems, data and communication systems, control systems, safety systems, and equipment for heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) [19]. Many of these loads can be supplied today with dc without any modifications, especially electronic loads, such as computers and lighting appliances [20]. Less important ac loads, which can handle short interruptions can instead be connected to the ac microgrid.

III. LOW-VOLTAGE DC PROTECTION SYSTEM

A well-designed protection system is necessary to ensure reli- able operation of the LV microgrid. The protection system con-

sists of protection (current interrupting) devices, protective re- lays, measurement equipment, and grounding. The LV micro- grid protection system can be divided into a dc protection system for Zone 1 and an ac protection system for Zone 2. Zone 2 can

be described as a utility-consumer interconnected bus with gen-

eration [21], and its protection system can be divided into five subsystems: 1) ac grid protection, 2) ac/dc converter protection, 3) diesel-generator protection, 4) feeder protection, and 5) bus

protection. These subsystems will not be further treated in this paper. Instead, a dc protection system for Zone 1 will be pro- posed and analyzed. A general model of Zone 1, based on a data center power system, is shown in Fig. 2 [19]. The ac/dc converter is modeled as a three-phase, two-level voltage-source converter (VSC), as described in [22]. The battery is modeled as a dc source with a resistive-inductive impedance [23]. Finally, the loads are modeled as constant power (CP) loads, together with an input filter, and are connected between the two poles [20]. Parameters for each component are listed in Table I.

A. Grounding

Grounding is a complex issue and there are many different approaches to designing grounding in an electric power system, and different solutions result in different performance [24], [25]. Grounding is used for the detection of ground faults and

for personnel and equipment safety [6]. An LV dc microgrid can be ungrounded, high resistance grounded, or low resistance grounded. Moreover, the ground can be connected either to one of the poles or to the middle point of the converter and the battery. The two alternatives are shown in Fig. 3. Fig. 3(a) shows a TN-S dc system. It has the middle point

of the converter and the battery connected to ground (T), and

separate (S) wires are used throughout the system for neutral (N)

and protective earth (PE). The alternative in Fig. 3(b) is an IT

dc

system. It has the positive pole connected to ground through

an

impedance (I). The positive pole is preferably connected to

ground compared with the negative one to reduce the impact of corrosion. Using alternative (a) in Fig. 3 results in a large ground cur- rent and a large dc-link voltage transient in case of a low-resis- tance ground fault. The large voltage transient may affect other loads connected to the faulted pole, but not loads connected to

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et al. : PROTECTION OF LOW-VOLTAGE DC MICROGRIDS 1047 Fig. 2. Detailed scheme of Zone 1.

Fig. 2.

Detailed scheme of Zone 1.

TABLE I

S YSTEM P ARAMETERS OF LV DC M ICROGRID

I S YSTEM P ARAMETERS OF L V D C M ICROGRID Fig. 3. LV dc
I S YSTEM P ARAMETERS OF L V D C M ICROGRID Fig. 3. LV dc

Fig. 3.

LV dc microgrid grounding. (a) TN-S dc system. (b) IT dc system.

the other pole. The fault is easily detected and can be quickly cleared. A TN-S dc system provides a well-defined pole-to- ground voltage and paths for leakage currents from noise filters. An IT dc system has only a small current and voltage transient in case of a ground fault. This will ensure stable operation of the loads during a single ground fault. However, a ground in the system will change the pole-to-ground voltage, which may affect sensitive electronic loads. Due to the small ground-fault current, it can be difficult to measure and detect the fault, and metal enclosures of loads may be energized. To further improve the system in case of a ground fault, the line impedance of each

TABLE II

EXAMPLES OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE PROTECTION

D EVICES FOR LV DC [28]–[33]

A VAILABLE P ROTECTION D EVICES FOR LV DC [28]–[33] load can be increased to limit

load can be increased to limit the voltage transient. However, this results in increased losses. Alternative (b) is commonly used in telecom power systems [26].

B. Protection Devices

Protection devices commercially available for LV dc systems are fuses, molded-case circuit breakers (MCCB), LV power CBs, and isolated-case CBs [27]. Some of these models are specially designed for dc, but most can be used in ac and dc applications. However, the ratings for ac and dc operation are different, and must be carefully considered when designing the protection system. Examples of commercially available protection devices for LV dc systems, together with their nom- inal voltage and current, and short-circuit-current-interruption capability are listed in Table II. 1) Fuses: A fuse consists of a fuse link and heat-absorbing material inside a ceramic cartridge. The fuse link is made of copper or silver, and its design depends on its current-time and voltage ratings. The heat-absorbing material, used to quench the arc, is usually silica sand. Voltage and current ratings of fuses are given in root-mean- square (rms) values, and are therefore valid for both ac and dc. However, when using fuses in a dc system, it is important to consider the system time constant. It determines the rise time of the current transient, but not its final steady-state value. The

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rise time affects the ability of the fuse to interrupt the current.

A

increase and the fuse link will quickly melt and the arc can be

cooled by the heat absorbing material. However, if the time con- stant is large ( 6 ms), the current and, in turn, the temperature

of the fuse will slowly increase and when an arc is eventually

formed, it cannot be cooled enough by the heat absorbing mate- rial since its temperature has increased [34]. Furthermore, fuses

used in dc systems must also be able to handle light overcurrents

in order not to malfunction.

2) Circuit Breakers: An MCCB consists of a contactor, a quenching chamber, and a tripping device. MCCBs are usu-

ally equipped with a thermal-magnetic tripping device, but can

be extended with an electronic one. Furthermore, as for fuses,

the voltage and current ratings are given in rms values. The magnetic tripping senses the instantaneous value of the current,

small time constant ( 2.5 ms) will result in a fast current

small time constant ( 2.5 ms) will result in a fast current which means that the
small time constant ( 2.5 ms) will result in a fast current which means that the

which means that the rated current for dc is times higher than for ac. However, for the thermal tripping, the values are the same [35]. To improve the voltage rating, multiple poles can be connected in series. However, it is important to consider the grounding arrangement in the system to prevent having full system voltage across one pole during a ground fault. For larger LV dc systems, such as traction power systems, special high-speed dc-circuit breakers are available. These CBs are designed to fully cope with the rated voltage and current, even in a system with a large time constant. A high-speed CB starts to interrupt the fault current within 0.01 s. Problems may arise with low currents which can cause the CB contacts to weld together [7]. 3) Power-Electronic Protection Devices: There are some known problems associated with fuses and CBs in LV dc sys-

tems, such as large time constants and long breaker operation time. By utilizing power-electronic switches, such as thyristors, the operation speed decreases and the inductive current inter- ruption capability can be increased [10], [36]. However, the related losses of a power-electronic solution are much higher compared with a mechanical switch. Therefore, a combination

of a mechanical switch and a power-electronic switch has been

proposed in [37].

and a power-electronic switch has been proposed in [37]. C. Protective Relays and Measurement Equipment High-speed

C. Protective Relays and Measurement Equipment

High-speed dc CBs are equipped with mechanical instanta- neous overcurrent tripping devices, which can be set to trip the

breaker if the current exceeds 1–4 p.u

force generated by the current is used to trip the CB. However, tripping the CB due to other events requires a protective relay. Protective relays use information from measured voltages and currents, and in some cases, information based on communica- tion with other units. It is important to note that the measurement equipment must be able to handle dc quantities in order to work properly. Besides overcurrent, protective relays can calculate time derivatives and step changes of currents to determine whether the dc system is in normal operation or if a fault has occurred [7]. More sophisticated numerical methods (e.g., the use of neural networks) can also be used to detect faults and separate them from normal operation [38].

The electromagnetic

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 24, NO. 3, JULY 2009

IV. PROTECTION SYSTEM DESIGN

The overall function of the LV dc microgrid protection system is to detect and isolate faults fast and accurately in order to min- imize the effects of disturbances. The design of the protection system depends on a number of issues which will be treated in this section, and is illustrated on the system in Fig. 2. The design issues are the type of faults which can occur, their consequences, the type of protection devices required, the need for backup pro- tection, detection methods, measures to prevent faults, and fi- nally, measures to prevent incorrect operation of the protection system.

A. Possible Fault Types

Possible fault types in the dc microgrid are pole-to-pole and pole-to-ground faults. Pole-to-pole faults often have low fault impedance, while pole-to-ground faults can be characterized as either low-impedance or high-impedance faults. The location of the faults can be either on the bus or on one of the feeders. These four possible faults have been indicated as F1-F4 in Fig. 2. Fault F1 is a short circuit between the positive and the negative poles at the bus, and F2 is a short circuit between the positive pole and ground. These faults are critical for the whole system, in particular, the converter and the battery. Faults F3 and F4 are of similar types, but located on the feeder close to one of the two loads. These faults are important to consider when investi- gating how the nonfaulted load is affected, and how to design the backup protection of the feeders. Faults inside the converter, the battery, or the loads have not been considered separately. Con- verter or battery failure will be similar to faults F1 or F2, and a load fault to F3 or F4.

B. Bus Faults

Faults F1 and F2 will affect all sources and loads connected to the bus, and the loads and sources that are to be connected depend on the current operation mode. Since the sources are connected in parallel, they can be treated separately. The battery can be located in a separate battery room, and can, consequently, be connected to the dc bus through cables. The total fault impedance, as it appears to the battery when a

fault F1 occurs, is then the sum of the internal battery impedance

(
(
occurs, is then the sum of the internal battery impedance ( and ) and the cable
occurs, is then the sum of the internal battery impedance ( and ) and the cable
occurs, is then the sum of the internal battery impedance ( and ) and the cable

and ) and the cable impedance ( and ) (the cable capacitance can be neglected during pole-to-pole faults). The battery fault current can then be calculated as

faults). The battery fault current can then be calculated as (1) . The design of the

(1)

. The design of the

battery determines how long it can supply a short-circuit current without causing internal damage [34]. The converter is directly connected to the bus and, hence, has a low impedance, mainly consisting of the series impedance of the capacitors and , where the latter can be neglected [39]. Fault F1 will cause the capacitors to discharge, which re- sults in a current with high amplitude and low rise time, but with limited duration [40]. The capacitor fault current can be calcu-

lated as

where

amplitude and low rise time, but with limited duration [40]. The capacitor fault current can be
amplitude and low rise time, but with limited duration [40]. The capacitor fault current can be
amplitude and low rise time, but with limited duration [40]. The capacitor fault current can be
amplitude and low rise time, but with limited duration [40]. The capacitor fault current can be

(2)

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SALOMONSSON et al. : PROTECTION OF LOW-VOLTAGE DC MICROGRIDS

et al. : PROTECTION OF LOW-VOLTAGE DC MICROGRIDS where . However, when the dc-link voltage be-

where . However, when the dc-link voltage be- comes almost zero, the converter will lose its current-control ca- pability and a fault current will flow through the insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) antiparallel diodes, limited only by the grid filter ( and in Fig. 2). These diodes are sensitive to overcurrents, and the current through them must not exceed a certain amplitude and have a duration longer than a certain time [41].

and have a duration longer than a certain time [41]. C. Feeder Faults Fault F3 is
and have a duration longer than a certain time [41]. C. Feeder Faults Fault F3 is

C. Feeder Faults

Fault F3 is located after the protection devices protecting feeder L1, and will permanently affect only the loads which are connected to this feeder. Before the fault is cleared, the other feeder will sense a voltage drop whose magnitude depends on the fault impedance. A larger fault impedance will result in a lower voltage drop, but a lower fault current, which can in- crease the fault-clearing time. Fault F3 results in a second-order

-system, and guidance to analytically calculating the fault current can be found in [40].

calculating the fault current can be found in [40]. D. Ground Faults Faults F2 and F4
calculating the fault current can be found in [40]. D. Ground Faults Faults F2 and F4
calculating the fault current can be found in [40]. D. Ground Faults Faults F2 and F4

D. Ground Faults

Faults F2 and F4 are positive-pole-to-ground faults, and in these two cases, only the faulted pole is affected. How much the voltage decreases depends on the system-grounding method and the fault impedance. Furthermore, the cable capacitances ,

the fault impedance. Furthermore, the cable capacitances , , and need to be consider during the
the fault impedance. Furthermore, the cable capacitances , , and need to be consider during the
the fault impedance. Furthermore, the cable capacitances , , and need to be consider during the

, and need to be consider during the ground fault in high-impedance-grounded systems.

V. CASE STUDY

When selecting which protection device (P1-P8) to use to protect the different components, in this case, the converter, the battery, and the two feeders, it is necessary to consider the fol- lowing issues: function, operation time, controllability, and de- tection. This will be treated in this section as a case study. In this study, a TN-S dc system, shown in Fig. 3(a), has been consid- ered since it gives the possibility to investigate the ground-fault currents. Furthermore, the protection system is modeled as an ideal system: there is no delay of the fault detection due to com- putation or communication, and the formation and influence of arcs is neglected.

A. Converter and Battery Protection (P1-P4)

The primary function of the battery and converter protec- tion is to clear faults which appear between the sources and the bus. Hence, a sustained fault F1 will be studied. The bat- tery fault-current amplitude and rise time can be calculated by using (1) as 34 p.u. and 2.96 ms, respectively. The discharge of the converter capacitors results in a short transient. The ampli- tude and time constant can be calculated by using (2) as 125 p.u. and 0.112 ms, respectively. Since the dc-link voltage becomes almost zero during the fault, the converter will act as a diode rectifier and the current will go through the reverse diodes only. The fault current through the diodes is then limited by the grid filter between the ac grid and the converter. The battery protection (P3-P4) must disconnect the bat- teries before they are damaged due to the high fault current as described earlier. Furthermore, it can be desirable to be able to connect and disconnect the battery and, therefore, CBs

1049

are chosen in this case study to protect the battery. However, other solutions exist: fuse in series with a switch for example. The converter protection (P1-P2) must be able to limit the fault current through the IGBT diodes. In this particular case study, the diodes can handle a maximum current of 7 p.u. up to 10 ms [41], which will give the maximum fault clearing time

of the converter protection. Possible choices which can be fast

enough are power-electronic switches, ultra-fast hybrid dc CBs

or fuses. In both cases, it is important to have a fast detection method. Possible methods that were described earlier are amplitude, step

change or derivative of the current, or dc-link voltage amplitude.

A

fault F1 results in a large battery fault current . How-

A fault F1 results in a large battery fault current . How- ever, the large time

ever, the large time constant makes the derivative of during a fault only three times larger than a load step. Hence, it is more

convenient to use the current amplitude together with the dc-link voltage. The overcurrent protection can be set to a percentage of the steady-state fault current, and the undervoltage protection to a percentage of the dc-link voltage . Due to the fast discharge of the capacitors , it is difficult

to

Another choice is to use the current derivative which can be

calculated as

to use the current derivative which can be calculated as use the amplitude of the converter
to use the current derivative which can be calculated as use the amplitude of the converter

use the amplitude of the converter current to detect a fault.

the amplitude of the converter current to detect a fault. (3) The absolute value is required

(3)

The absolute value is required since the capacitor discharge

during the fault results in a negative derivative. (3) can be used

to calculate the minimum level of the derivative setting to be

able to detect the fault within a certain time. The suggested set-

tings for the battery and converter protection are:

• battery overcurrent level: 80% of the maximum battery fault current;

• converter-current derivative detection time: 1 ms;

• dc-link undervoltage level: 40%.

Using the suggested values from before gives the protection settings used in the test case. The battery protection is set to 27-p.u. overcurrent and 0.4-p.u. dc-link voltage. The total op-

eration time of the battery protection is assumed to be 20 ms. The converter protection is set to 6.4 p.u./ms (current deriva-

tive) and 0.4-p.u. dc-link voltage. In this case, an ultrafast hybrid

dc

CB is used to protect the converter. However, it would also

be

possible to use fast dc fuses. Simulations show that the max-

imum fault clearing time for the converter protection in this case must not exceed 2 ms; otherwise, the diodes will exceed 7 p.u. (their maximum current rating). A 2-ms fault-clearing time has

been used in the test case shown in Fig. 4. Fig. 4(a) shows that the converter dc current has a very high but short transient, and

the battery current reaches 34 p.u. More important, the currents

through the converter reach 6 p.u. and become zero after 6.5 ms.

The diodes can handle these fault currents, and the converter is protected. The converter dc-link voltage becomes 1.2 p.u. due

to the current transients through the diodes after the converter

has been disconnected. A longer total interruption time could damage the reverse diodes and the dc-link capacitors. A low-impedance ground fault F2 will result in large ground currents from the connected sources using the grounding scheme applied here. Furthermore, the dc-link voltage becomes

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channel Link: http://telegram.me/microgrids 1050 Fig. 4. protection after 20 ms. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents.

Fig. 4.

protection after 20 ms. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage.

Fault F1 cleared by the converter protection after 2 ms and the battery

approximately 0.5 p.u. since one of the poles is shorted. On the other hand, a high-impedance ground fault on the bus results in

a small fault current and only a small reduction of the dc-link

voltage. Hence, it can be difficult to detect these faults. One method to detect ground faults in a dc auxiliary power system is to measure the ground currents and . If they go out-

side a predefined range, a positive or negative pole-to-ground fault has occurred. Leakage currents must be considered when setting the level.

Leakage currents must be considered when setting the level. B. Feeder Protection (P5-P8) Each feeder must
Leakage currents must be considered when setting the level. B. Feeder Protection (P5-P8) Each feeder must

B. Feeder Protection (P5-P8)

Each feeder must be protected against short circuits and overloads, and for that purpose, it is possible to use MCCBs and fuses. It is easier to obtain selectivity by using fuses than MCCBs due to their magnetic sensing. However, the advantage of MCCBs compared with fuses is that they open both poles in case of a fault. Therefore, MCCBs are used only closest to the load sometimes.

The fault clearing time for fuses and MCCBs depends on the available short-circuit current which, in turn, is limited by the source and feeder impedance. Furthermore, a larger time con- stant can prolong the fault-clearing time. The simulation of a fault F3 cleared after 1 ms is shown in Fig. 5. After the fault

is cleared, the converter current and the battery current start to

oscillate against each other. These oscillations can be reduced by having a shorter fault clearing time or a reduced controller bandwidth. The current transients through the converter are ap- proximately 2.1 p.u., and the dc-link voltage drops to 0.8 p.u. for less than 5 ms. Increasing the fault-clearing time to 5 ms re- sults in a larger dc-link voltage transient, which can affect the loads connected to the other feeder. This can be seen in Fig. 6. Pole-to-ground faults can, for example, occur after an isola- tion failure in the system. The ground currents should be zero during normal operation and, therefore, they can be useful to measure these at each source to detect a ground fault. The total

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 24, NO. 3, JULY 2009

TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 24, NO. 3, JULY 2009 Fig. 5. Fault F3 cleared by

Fig. 5. Fault F3 cleared by the fuse after 1.0 ms. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage.

ms. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage. Fig. 6. Fault F3 cleared by

Fig. 6. Fault F3 cleared by the fuse after 5.0 ms. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage.

fault current during a low-impedance ground fault F4 (Fig. 7) is large enough to make the protecting device clear the fault. When the fault occurs, there is a voltage shift between the two converter dc-link capacitors. The voltage across the unfaulted pole and ground increases, and the voltage across the faulted pole and ground decreases. In total, the dc-link voltage is re- duced. Due to the voltage change, the converter ground current will become zero at steady state. The last case analyzes a fault F4 with 5.0- impedance. In this case, there is only a very small fault current, which can be seen from Fig. 8. This can only be detected by the ground- current measurement of the sources and . However,

which can be seen from Fig. 8. This can only be detected by the ground- current
which can be seen from Fig. 8. This can only be detected by the ground- current
which can be seen from Fig. 8. This can only be detected by the ground- current

channel Link: http://telegram.me/microgrids

SALOMONSSON et al. : PROTECTION OF LOW-VOLTAGE DC MICROGRIDS

et al. : PROTECTION OF LOW-VOLTAGE DC MICROGRIDS Fig. 7. Fault F4. (a) DC currents. (b)

Fig. 7.

Fault F4. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage.

F4. (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c) DC-link voltage. Fig. 8. DC-link voltage. Fault F4

Fig. 8.

DC-link voltage.

Fault F4 (high-impedance fault). (a) DC currents. (b) Grid currents. (c)

the sensitivity of the protection system to high-impedance faults depends on the level of stray currents in the system. Therefore, in some cases, it can be better to only signal that there is or has been a high-impedance ground fault, instead of tripping the sources.

C. Protection Coordination

So far, the converter, the battery, and the feeder protections

have been studied separately. However, to have high reliability,

it is important that only the dedicated protection operates when

a fault occurs. Sometimes, the primary protection fails to clear

the fault, and then the backup protection must operate and clear

1051

and then the backup protection must operate and clear 1051 Fig. 9. (c) Derivative of converter

Fig. 9.

(c) Derivative of converter fault current. (d) DC-link voltage.

Fault F1 and F3. (a) Battery fault current. (b) Converter fault current.

it instead. In this case study, the converter, the battery, and the

feeder protection must be coordinated. The converter protection (P1-P2) and the battery protection (P3-P4) are in this case study backup protection for the feeder protections (P5-P8). If a fault F3 occurs, it is then important that only protection P5-P6 operates. However, if P5-P6 fail, P1-P2 and P3-P4 must operate and clear the fault. Protection P1-P4 must therefore be able to distinguish fault F1 from F3. These two faults are compared with respect to battery fault current, converter fault current, derivative of the converter fault current, and the dc-link voltage, and are shown in Fig. 9. Fig. 9(a) shows the battery fault current during fault F1 and F3. The amplitude and the rise time differ, and it it possible for P3-P4 to separate these two faults. By lowering the tripping level of the current and introducing a time delay, P3-P4 can act as backup for P5-P6.

Fig. 9(b) and (c) shows the converter fault current and its

derivative. Already after 1 ms, it is difficult to distinguish a fault F1 from F3. However, the dc-link voltage shown in Fig. 9(d) is

a

good indicator whether it is a fault F1 or F3. Consequently,

it

is suitable to combine the derivative of the converter current

with the dc-link voltage to obtain selectivity between P1-P2 and

P5-P6.

The converter and the battery protection cannot distinguish

a fault F5, located directly after P5-P6, from a fault F1. There-

fore, protection P5-P6 must in this case be faster than protec- tion P1-P4 in order to achieve selectivity. Due to the fast re- sponse of P1-P2, there might be a risk that it will operate even

channel Link: http://telegram.me/microgrids

1052

though P5-P6 will clear the fault. More important, however, is that P3-P4 do not operate to prevent a total shutdown. Finally, fuses connected on the ac side of the converter can be used as backup protection for the converter. In contrast, it would not be possible to have backup protection for the battery. However, in some dc auxiliary power systems, the battery is not protected at all since it is considered to have lower system reliability [6].

VI. CONCLUSION

In this paper, an LV dc microgrid protection-system design has been proposed. A small dc microgrid has been studied during different fault events in order to investigate which type of protection devices are required and where to install them. The result shows that it is possible to use commercial protection devices, such as fuses and CBs, to protect batteries and loads. However, converters using IGBT modules are very sensitive to overcurrents and, therefore, require fast protection. For this case study, a prototype of an ultra-fast hybrid dc CB was used to protect the converter. It was shown that during a bus fault, the total breaker time is very critical for limiting the fault current and protecting the converter. Low-impedance ground faults in a solidly grounded system result in large fault current and can therefore easily be detected and cleared. However, problems can arise with high-impedance ground faults since the fault current is very small. One way to detect a ground fault is to measure the ground current flowing from the sources. The sensitivity is dependent on the amount of leakage current in the system. The consequences of a high- impedance ground fault must be evaluated, and should prefer- ably only be indicated, rather than disconnecting all sources. Finally, coordination of the protection devices was discussed. It was shown that problems may arise with the converter protec- tion. It can be very difficult to determine the fault location based on the fault current or its derivative only. Therefore, the con- verter fault current can be used together with the dc-link voltage to solve the problem and ensure a reliable protection system.

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SEMIKRON. [Online]. Available: http://www. semikron.com. Daniel Salomonsson (S’02) received the M.Sc. and

Daniel Salomonsson (S’02) received the M.Sc. and Tech.Lic. degrees in electrical engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2002 and 2005, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree at the Electric Power Systems Lab, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2008. His research project concerns dc distribution sys- tems. His research interests are direct current distri- bution systems, power electronics, and power quality.

1053

bution systems, power electronics, and power quality. 1053 Lennart Söder (M’91) was born in Solna, Sweden,

Lennart Söder (M’91) was born in Solna, Sweden, in 1956. He received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden, in 1982 and 1988, respectively. Currently, he is a Professor in Electric Power Sys- tems at KTH. He works on projects concerning dereg- ulated electricity markets, distribution systems, and integration of wind power, HVDC, power system re- liability, protections systems, hydropower, and micro grids. He has been involved in several national com- mittees concerning the risk of capacity deficit and handling of bottlenecks within the deregulated market.

and handling of bottlenecks within the deregulated market. Ambra Sannino (S’99–M’01) received the M.Sc. and

Ambra Sannino (S’99–M’01) received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy, in 1997 and 2001, respectively. From 2001 to 2004, she was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electric Power Engineering of Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, and an Associate Professor since 2004. She has been with ABB, Corporate Research, Västerås, Sweden, since 2004. Her interests include applications of power elec- tronics in power systems, distributed generation, as well as wind power and power quality.