Fast fault detection for power distribution systems

Abstract: The main topic of this licentiate thesis is fast faultdetection. The thesis summaries the work performed in theproject“Fast fault detection for distributionsystems”.In the first chapters of the thesis the term“fast”is used in a general manner. The term is laterdefined based upon considerations and conclusions made in thefirst chapters and then related to a specific time.To be able to understand and appreciate why fast faultdetection is necessary, power system faults and theirconsequences are briefly discussed. The consequences of a faultare dependent of a number of different factors, one of thefactors being the duration of the fault.The importance of the speed of the fault detection dependson the type of equipment used to clear the fault. A circuitbreaker which interrupt currents only when they pass through anatural zero crossing might be less dependent on the speed ofthe fault detection than a fault current limiter which limitsthe fault current before it has reached its first prospectivecurrent peak.In order to be able to detect a fault in a power system, thepower system must be observed, i.e., measurements of relevantquantities must be performed so that the fault detectionequipment can obtain information of the state of the system.The fault detection equipment and some general methods of faultdetection are briefly described.Some algorithms and their possible adaptation to fast faultdetection are described. A common principle of many algorithmsare that they assume that either a signal or the power systemobject can be described by a model. Sampled data values arethen fitted to the model so that an estimate of relevantparameters needed for fault detection is obtained. An algorithmwhich do not fit samples to a model but use instantaneouscurrent values for fault detection is also described andevaluated.Since the exact state of a power system never is known dueto variations in power production and load, a model of thepower system or of the signal can never be perfect, i.e., theestimated parameter can never be truly correct. Furthermore,errors from the data acquisition system contribute to the totalerror of the estimated parameter.Two case studies are used to study the performance of the(modified) algorithms. For those studies it has been shown thatthe algorithms can detect a fault within approximately 1msafter fault inception and that one of the algorithms candiscriminate between a fault and two types of common powersystem transients (capacitor and transformer energization).The second case study introduced a system with two sourceswhich required a directional algorithm to discriminate betweenfaults inside or outside the protection zone.It is concluded that under certain assumptions it ispossible to detect power system faults within approximately 1msand that it is possible to discriminate a power system faultfrom power system transient that regularly occurs within powersystems but which not are faults.