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2, APRIL 2010 631

Unsynchronized Fault-Location Scheme for

Nonlinear HIF in Transmission Lines
Doaa Khalil Ibrahim, Member, IEEE, El Sayed Tag Eldin, Senior Member, IEEE, Essam El-Din Abou El-Zahab, and
Saber Mohamed Saleh

AbstractThe general aim of this paper is to develop an accu- traveling-wave methods. The impedance method determines
rate fault-location scheme that can solve the problems affecting the fault position by measuring the impedance from the relay
the accuracy of the existing conventional fault locators achieving end to the fault point, making the assumption that the line
easier maintenance and restoration time reduction as well as eco-
nomical aims. This consequently helps to fit the new deregulation impedance is linear with distance variation. Obviously, it is
policies and competitive marketing. This investigation successfully based on power frequency measurement and affected by many
applies zero-sequence current (3 0 ) from the two terminals for factors of power frequency phenomena, such as fault path
earth high impedance fault (HIF) location, or negative-sequence resistance, line loading, and source parameters, etc. Therefore,
currents from the two terminals of one faulted phase for line-to-line the accuracy of the impedance-based fault location methods
fault location. The HIF location is determined within only a max-
imum time of one cycle. The proposed scheme is insensitive to vari- is limited [3][5]. Traveling-wave methods are independent
ations of different parameters, such as fault type, HIF behavior, of fault resistance, prefault loading, and source parameters;
wide-range transmission-line parameters variation, and fault in- however, present traveling wave-based fault location methods
ception angle. Staged fault testing results demonstrate that the pro- cannot accurately separate the traveling wave which reveals
posed algorithm has feasible performance. the fault position from other waves of different frequencies, for
Index TermsDouble-fed circuit, fault location, high impedance example, the oscillation and multiple reflection waves gener-
fault (HIF). ated by fault transients, although the wavelet transform is used
for signal processing. Moreover, the traveling-wave method
I. INTRODUCTION could not reliably locate the fault occurring at the point close
to buses [6][8]. High-frequency transients-based methods are
similar to the traveling-wave based method, and suffer the same
IGH impedance faults (HIFs) are difficult to be detected
H or located through conventional protection relays, such
as distance relays. When a conductor makes contact with a poor
limitations [9].
In the following sections, detailed descriptions of the pro-
posed fault-location algorithm are introduced, and then the pro-
conductive surface, the resulting level of fault current is usually
posed scheme is fully tested with different fault conditions.
lower than the nominal current of the system at that fault lo-
cation. Therefore, a conventional relay system will not be able II. PROPOSED FAULT-LOCATION ALGORITHM
to detect and trip HIFs effectively. The failure of HIF detection
The information that can be obtained from the nonlinear HIF
may lead to potential hazards to humans and fires [1].
becomes very difficult when determining the fault location, be-
Transmission-line fault location techniques can be classified
cause the amplitudes of the voltage and the current signals are
into two categories: 1) methods using data from one terminal
not affected by this type of fault for the sending and receiving
and 2) methods using data from two terminals of transmission
end, respectively (Vs, Vr), as shown in Fig. 1. This paper de-
line. It is well known that these techniques based on two-ter-
scribes a fault-location technique that depends on calculating
minals data require communication links and synchronized
the system offline zero and negative-sequence impedance as a
sampling equipment [2]. With more complex synchronized
function of fault location. This method depends on determining
sampling, such as the global positioning system (GPS) method,
the location via the unsynchronized root mean square (rms)
these communication techniques will increase the investment
value of the sending and receiving end zero-sequence currents
and affect the accuracy of location results.
for ground faults, or the rms value of the sending and receiving
Conventional fault-location methods can be broadly clas-
negative-sequence currents for line faults.
sified into two types: 1) the impedance methods and 2) the
The proposed method overcomes the synchronization prob-
lems and is independent of the fault location. The percentage
Manuscript received November 23, 2008; revised August 29, 2009. First pub- error of applying this method according to constant line parame-
lished February 05, 2010; current version published March 24, 2010. Paper no.
TPWRD-00876-2008. ters did not exceed 2% of the total line length. This method is in-
D. K. Ibrahim, E. S. T. Eldin, and E. Aboul-Zahab are with Faculty of dependent of the HIF model. The percentage error in fault-loca-
Engineering, Electrical Power and Machines Department, Cairo University, tion calculation according to the 20% variation of the studied
Cairo 12613, Egypt (e-mail:;; line parameters did not exceed 4.2% of the total line length.
S. M. Saleh is with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, Helwan 12816,
Egypt (e-mail: A. Modeling of the Power System
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at Simulation studies using the Alternative Transients Program
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRD.2009.2036182 (ATP)/Electromagnetic Transients Program (EMTP) for the
0885-8977/$26.00 2010 IEEE

Fig. 1. Voltage and current signals at the sending and receiving ends for the Fig. 3. Simplified two-diodes fault model of HIFs.
HIF occurred at 40 ms.

Fig. 2. Single-line diagram of the 345-kV double-end transmission-line


studied power system are used in the configuration system

shown in Fig. 2. For testing the proposed scheme, the two
ended current signals of a one cycle after fault occurrence
are presented to the proposed algorithm. The line length of
the transmission-line system under consideration is 100 km. Fig. 4. Typical voltage and current of HIF at the single-line-to-ground fault
Simulation details are given in Table VII. (occurring at 20 ms and 25 km from the relay location).

B. Modeling of HIF Two models of HIF that have been proposed in the past based
on the arc theory are scaled up to the transmission voltage level
There is an increasing demand for more detailed and accu- that is used for testing the proposed fault-location scheme.
rate modeling techniques for predicting the transient response of 1) First HIF Model: A simplified two-diodes model of HIF
power systems caused by high-impedance arcing faults. This is is used in the simulation [10]. The circuit of the HIFs model
particularly so in relation to the design and development of im- is shown in Fig. 3. This HIF model is based on arcing in sandy
proved equipment and new protection techniques. An accurate soil. The model includes two dc sources: 1) Vp and 2) Vn which
prediction of the fault transients requires a detailed and com- present the arcing voltages of air in soil and/or between the trees
prehensive presentation of all the components in a system. Fur- and line. Two resistancesRp and Rnbetween the diodes and
thermore, the transient studies have to be conducted into the fre- dc voltages present the resistance of trees and/or earth resis-
quency range well above the normal power frequency. tance. In order to simulate asymmetric current, different values
The HIF is a very complex phenomenon and exhibits a very of Rp and Rn are used. When the line voltage is greater than
highly nonlinear behavior. The most distinctive characteris- the positive dc voltage Vp, the fault current starts flowing to-
tics are buildup, shoulder, nonlinearity, and asymmetry. In ward the ground. The fault current reverses backward from the
the buildup, the fault current grows to its maximum value in ground when the line voltage is less than the negative dc voltage
about tens of cycles and in the shoulder; the buildup ceases Vn. In case of the line voltage being in the value between Vp
for a few cycles. The nonlinearity rises from the fact that the and Vn, the line voltage is counterbalanced by Vp or Vn so that
voltagecurrent characteristic curve of HIF is nonlinear. It no fault current flows. The typical fault current and voltage are
is observed that fault current has a different waveform for shown in Fig. 4.
positive and negative half cycle, which is called asymmetry. 2) Second HIF Model: Another model of HIF is presented
The buildup and shoulder disappear in the steady state after by two resistances connected in series and takes the form [11]:
HIF, while nonlinearity and asymmetry exist at every cycle
after HIF. (1)

Fig. 5. V-I characteristic of R (t) in the HIF model.

1) For Ground Fault Occurring at Distance From the First

Source 1 Utilizing the Zero-Sequence Circuit of the Faulted
Line as Follows:

Fig. 6. Faulted double-fed transmission line.

zero-sequence source impedances for

In this equation, has a periodic characteristic and is used source 1, 2, respectively;
to present nonlinearity and asymmetry. The value of is ob- zero-sequence currents supplied from
tained from the voltage and current characteristic during steady source 1, 2, respectively.
state as shown in Fig. 5. When the voltage of the faulted branch
is in the range of and the corresponding Then, the fault distance can be calculated as
current is , is given by
2) For a Line Fault Occurring at Distance From the First
Source 1 Utilizing the Negative-Sequence Circuit of the Faulted
where is the point number on the voltagecurrent character- Line as Follows:
istic curve. On the other hand, buildup and shoulder do not have
a periodic characteristic and exist only for a few cycles after the (6)
HIF. is used to simulate these characteristics by assigning
a very large value at the beginning of the HIF then gradually de- where
creases that value in the transient state and finally becomes zero
in the steady state. negative-sequence source impedances for
The value of for the no-shoulder case is found by in- source 1, 2, respectively;
spection as negative-sequence currents supplied from
source 1, 2, respectively.
(3) Then, the fault distance can be calculated as

C. Fault-Location Methodology

To calculate the fault location in the faulted double set trans-

mission line shown in Fig. 6, the proposed scheme utilizes the
faulted double-fed transmission-line zero-sequence current and The fault-location scheme is initiated by any detection
impedance, or the negative-sequence current and impedance as schemes or by the proposed detection scheme in [12]. Fig. 7
follows: describes the fault-location flowchart that has been started from


Fig. 7. Fault-locator flowchart.

calculating the sending-end-side rms zero-sequence currents where

for fault classification as a line or ground fault as follows.
If the fault is classified as an earth fault (LLG or LG) actual fault location;
then, by calculating the rms zero-sequence current for each calculated fault location using the proposed scheme;
side by using the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) for one
percentage error;
cycle, the fault location is determined by using unsynchro-
nized data substitution in (5). total line length.
On the other hand, if the fault is classified as a line fault Complete simulation studies for different fault effects, such as
(LL or LLLG), then one of the faulted phases is selected by fault inception angles, are carried out. The samples of tests will
simple comparison of the sending-end data. The rms neg- be shown in the following subsections.
ative-sequence current for each side is calculated by using
the DFT for half A cycle, and then the fault distance will A. Effect of Fault Type
be determined by using unsynchronized data substitution Tables I and II estimated the percentage error for different
in (7).
fault types of the two HIF models. As shown, the proposed al-
gorithm determines the HIF locations with an accuracy to not
IV. SIMULATION RESULTS AND ALGORITHM VALIDATION exceed 2% of the total line length and not affected by fault type.
To evaluate the performance of the proposed approach,
B. Effect of Fault Inception Angle
ATPEMTP modeling for the transposed distributed parameter
transmission line and two HIF models is introduced. Tables III and IV estimated the percentage error for a different
Simulated fault cases were selected at different locations cov- fault inception angle for the two HIF models. As shown, the pro-
ering the entire range of the line including very short distances, posed algorithm determines the HIF locations with an accuracy
such as 1% of the line. not to exceed 2% from the total line length and not affected by
All possible fault types (phase to ground, double phase to the fault inception angles with respect to different fault types.
ground, line-to-line fault, and three-phases-to-ground fault
cases) were tested to determine the maximum percentage error C. Effect of Transmission-Line Parameters Variation
of the estimated distance as a percentage of the total line length For most fault-location algorithms, the locator setting is ad-
[3][9] justed offline with precalculated parameters of the system. How-
ever, these parameters may significantly change during the on-
(8) line operation and consequently a measurable amount of errors




can be added to measured values. Different reasons may con-

tribute to this problem, such as miscalibration, tab changing,
conductor height variation, ground resistance, and inaccurate
manufacturing data. Therefore, it can be considered as one of
the most challenging problems that all fault-location algorithms
can face. Thus, it is important to evaluate the behavior of the pro-
posed approach under this condition; thus, different cases were
carried out.
Tables V and VI estimated the percentage error in fault-loca-
tion estimation for different single line to ground with the wide
line parameters variation 20% and 20%, respectively, for the
two implemented HIF models. As shown, the proposed algo-
rithm determines the HIF locations with an accuracy not to ex-
ceed 4.2% of the total line length for these wide range variations.

FAULT-LOCATION PERCENTAGE ERROR AT 20%0 [1] E. Tag Eldin, D. k. Ibrahim, E. M. Aboul-Zahab, and S. M. Saleh, High
impedance faults detection in EHV transmission lines, presented at the
12th Int. Middle-East Power System Conf., Aswan, Egypt, Mar. 1215,
[2] C. Yu, C. Liu, S. Yu, and J. Jiang, A new PMU-based fault location
algorithm for series compensated lines, IEEE Trans. Power Del., vol.
17, no. 1, pp. 3346, Jan. 2002.
[3] T. Kawady and J. Stenzel, A practical fault location approach for
double circuit transmission lines using single end data, IEEE Trans.
Power Del., vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 11661173, Oct. 2003.
[4] Z. M. Radojevic, V. V. Terzija, and M. B. Djuric, Numerical for over-
head lines arcing faults detection and distance and directional, IEEE
Trans. Power Del., vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 3137, Jan. 2000.
[5] Z. M. Radojevic, V. V. Terzija, and M. B. Djuric, Distance protection
and fault location utilizing only phase current phasors, IEEE Trans.
Power Del., vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 3137, Oct. 1998.
[6] E. H. Shehab-Eldin and P. G. Mclaren, Travelling wave distance pro-
tection-problem areas and solutions, IEEE Trans. Power Del., vol. 3,
no. 3, pp. 894902, Jul. 1988.
[7] E. H. Shehab-Eldin and P. G. Mclaren, Travelling wave-based fault
location scheme for multi-end aged underground cable system, IEEE
Trans. Power Del., vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 894902, Jul. 1988.
[8] J. F. Zhang, J. S. Smith, and Q. H. Wu, Morphological undecimated
wavelet decomposition for fault location on power transmission lines,
IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. I: Reg. Papers, vol. 53, no. 6, pp. 13951402,
Jun. 2006.
[9] M. Gilany, D. k. Ibrahim, and E. Tag Eldin, Traveling-wave-based
fault-location scheme for multiend-aged underground cable system,
TABLE VII IEEE Trans. Power Del., vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 8289, Jan. 2007.
PARAMETERS OF THE SIMULATION SYSTEM [10] E. Tag Eldin, D. k. Ibrahim, E. M. Aboul-Zahab, and S. M. Saleh, High
impedance fault detection in mutually coupled double-ended transmis-
sion lines using high frequency disturbances, presented at the 12th Int.
Middle-East Power System Conf., Aswan, Egypt, Mar. 1215, 2008.
[11] E. S. Tag Eldin, D. k. Ibrahim, E. M. Aboul-Zahab, and S. M. Saleh,
High impedance fault detection in EHV series compensated lines
using the wavelet transform, presented at the IEEE Power Eng. Soc.,
Power Systems Conf. Expo., Seattle, WA, Mar. 1518, 2009.
[12] E. Tag Eldin, D. k. Ibrahim, E. M. Aboul-Zahab, and S. M. Saleh, High
impedance faults detection in EHV transmission lines using the wavelet
transforms, presented at the IEEE Power Eng. Soc. General Meeting,
Tampa, FL, Jun. 2428, 2007.

Doaa Khalil Ibrahim (M06) was born in Egypt in

December 1973. She received the M.Sc. and Ph.D.
degrees in digital protection from Cairo University,
V. CONCLUSION Cairo, Egypt, in 2001 and 2005, respectively.
From 1996 to 2005, she was a Demonstrator and
This paper proposes a technique for HIF location in Research Assistant with Cairo University. In 2005,
she became an Assistant Professor with Cairo Univer-
double-fed circuit transmission lines within only a max- sity. From 2005 to 2008, she contributed to a World
imum time of one cycle for the earth faults and a maximum Bank Project in Higher Education Development in
time of a half cycle for the line faults. The proposed algorithm Egypt. Since 2009, she has contributed to the Pro-
was tested on two different high-impedance earth fault models gram of Continuous Improvement and Qualification
for Accreditation in Higher Education in Egypt. Her research interests include
with changed transmission-line parameters. digital protection of power system as well as utilization and generation of elec-
This algorithm presented herein has a number of distinct ad- tric power and renewable energy sources.
vantages as follows.
It completely locates the HIF in a very quick manner (just
one cycle of a total maximum time). El Sayed Tag Eldin (SM04) was born in Egypt. He
It is independent of the HIFs model configuration. received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in high-voltage
Its location accuracy is not affected by different fault types, engineering from Cairo University, Cairo Egypt, in
such as LG, LL, LLG, and LLLG. 1996 and 2000, respectively.
In 2000 and 2005, he became an Assistant Pro-
It depends on current signals only. fessor and Associate Professor with Cairo University,
Its accuracy errors do not exceed 2% for different fault Cairo, Egypt, while continuing his research. He was
conditions with accurate line parameters. active in a UNDP/GEF Project for Energy Efficiency
Improvement and Greenhouse Gas Reduction and in
Its accuracy errors do not exceed 4.2% with a wide range a World Bank Project in Higher Education Develop-
of line parameters variation of 20%. ment in Egypt. His research interests include electric
In addition, the proposed technique is simple. It could be used fields near power lines, risk analysis, harmonics, power quality, digital protec-
for updating, improving, and refurbishing the existing protec- tion, and digital signal processing. Currently, he is Cultural and Scientific At-
tach and Deputy Director of the Egyptian study mission in the embassy of the
tion systems since this algorithm can be added to the existing Arab Republic of Egypt, Berlin, on leave from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo
digital relay microprocessor. University.

Essam El-Din Abou El-Zahab received the B.Sc. Saber Mohamed Saleh was born in Egypt in July
and M.Sc. degrees in electrical power and machines 1975. He received the M.Sc. degree in digital protec-
from Cairo University, Giza, Egypt, in 1970 and tion from Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, in 2005.
1974, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical Since 2001, he has been a Senior Protection En-
power from Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France, in 1979. gineer with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy,
Currently, he is a Professor in the Department of Kureimat Power Station, Egypt. He joined the Ph.D.
Electrical Power and Machines at Cairo University. program in electrical engineering at Cairo University
He was an Instructor in the Department of Electrical in 2005.
Power and Machines at Cairo University from 1970
to 1974. His research areas include protection system,
renewable energy, and power distribution. He is also
the author or coauthor of many referenced journal and conference papers.