Modeling and Verification of Ultra-Fast Electro-Mechanical Actuators for HVDC Breakers

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The continuously increasing demand for clean renewable energy has rekindled interest in multi-terminal high voltage direct current (HVDC) grids. Although such grids have several advantages and a great potential, their materialization has been thwarted due to the absence of HVDC breakers. In comparison with traditional alternating current (AC) breakers, they should operate and interrupt fault currents in a time frame of a few milliseconds. The aim of this thesis is focused on the design of ultra-fast electro-mechanical actuator systems suitable for such HVDC breakers.Initially, holistic multi-physics and hybrid models with different levels of complexity and computation time were developed to simulate the entire switch. These models were validated by laboratory experiments. Following a generalized analysis, in depth investigations involving simulations complemented with experiments were carried out on two of the sub-components of the switch: the ultra-fast actuator and the damper. The actuator efficiency, final speed, peak current, and maximum force were explored for different design data.The results show that models with different levels of complexity should be used to model the entire switch based on the magnitude of the impulsive forces. Deformations in the form of bending or elongation may deteriorate the efficiency of the actuator losing as much as 35%. If that cannot be avoided, then the developed first order hybrid model should be used since it can simulate the behavior of the mechanical switch with a very good accuracy. Otherwise, a model comprising of an electric circuit coupled to an electromagnetic FEM model with a simple mechanics model, is sufficient.It has been shown that using a housing made of magnetic material such as Permedyn, can boost the efficiency of an actuator by as much as 80%. In light of further optimizing the ultra-fast actuator, a robust optimization algorithm was developed and parallelized. In total, 20520 FEM models were computed successfully for a total simulation time of 7 weeks. One output from this optimization was that a capacitance of 2 mF, a charging voltage of 1100 V and 40 turns yields the highest efficiency (15%) if the desired velocity is between 10 m/s and 12 m/s.The performed studies on the passive magnetic damper showed that the Halbach arrangement gives a damping force that is two and a half times larger than oppositely oriented axially magnetized magnets. Furthermore, the 2D optimization model showed that a copper thickness of 1.5 mm and an iron tube that is 2 mm thick is the optimum damper configuration.