Resistive-type Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (RSFCL) and Its Application in Power Systems

Change log
Zhang, Xiuchang 

With the rapid increase in electrical loads, a considerable percentage of global power systems have been stretched to their designed capacity, leading to a sharp rise in the fault current. High fault current levels have severe impact on power systems. They can increase the likelihood of overcurrent damage, which may destroy electrical facilities or even cause system blackout. The resistive-type superconducting fault current limiter (RSFCL) is a device that can help to mitigate the increasing level of fault currents. It can also contribute to the performance, stability and efficiency of electricity grids. In order to promote the RSFCL more effectively, it is essential to study the device itself and conduct simulations regarding the performance and applicability from the system point of view. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of this thesis introduced fundamentals of superconductivity and RSFCLs, respectively. In Chapter 3, a power system model was built, and the transient analysis of short-circuit currents was given. Then, the operating principle of RSFCL was explained, and a step-resistance RSFCL model was introduced. To validate the current limiting performance of the SFCL module, wind farm protection schemes were studied under various fault scenarios. After thorough analysis it was concluded that the optimal allocating strategy of SFCLs was the installation of one SFCL at the integrating point of the system model. Chapter 4 presented a comprehensive study on the performance and optimal allocation strategy of RSFCLs. The two power system models used in this chapter were built based on the UK network standard. To assess the impact of incorporating SC material properties on the performance of SFCLs, three different models were compared throughout the study. Although computing time can be reduced when step-resistance and exponential equation models were used, such simplifications led to strong overestimations of the SFCL performance and resulted in wrong conclusion of optimal installing strategies. For both power system models, the simultaneous use of three SFCLs was the best protection strategy in terms of the performance, economic efficiency and reliability of the overall grids. To draw this conclusion, all the potential combinations of two, three, four, and five SFCLs were studied under a wide number of fault scenarios and measuring strategies. In Chapter 5, a series of experiments were performed to study the magnetic field-angular dependence of the critical current of different commercial YBCO samples. We selected ten 2G-HTS tapes with broad differences in width, fabrication process, and laminar structure. The obtained I_c (B,θ) characteristics of HTS samples were applied in the simulation of RSFCLs, showing unneglectable effect on the first peak limiting performance during faults. This study is helpful to the design and simulation of RSFCLs and other HTS applications which require superconducting wires operating inside magnetic fields. In Chapter 6, we presented a High Frequency (HF) AC-assisted quench study of the YBCO conductor. The differences in quench processes triggered by HF AC field were recorded and studied. We found that AC signals of 10 kHz can trigger quench of the HTS tape. Also, the device proved to be effective at guaranteeing uniform quench of the sample. After then, we placed the experimental device in a magnet, to study whether the quench process can be accelerated by external DC magnetic field. It was found that the DC field can reduce the quench time, but its performance was dependent on the amplitude of transport current and the characteristics of HF AC signals. In addition, the angle between the DC magnetic field and the tape surface showed a huge impact on the quench time. Finally, a comprehensive field-angular dependence study about the quench time of the YBCO sample was conducted, revealing the same pattern as J_c (θ,B) dependence of the tape, but with a greater anisotropy. To summarize, this technique showed outstanding performance regarding quench acceleration and tape protection, and therefore has huge potential to be applied in RSFCLs.

Coombs, Tim
Superconductivity, Resistive-type Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (RSFCL), Modelling of RSFCL, Optimal installing strategy of RSFCL, Characteristics of YBCO tapes, Active quenching technique for RSFCL
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
China Scholarship Council