Protection and fault location in smart distribution networks and microgrids
When a fault occurs in a power system, it is first cleared by protective devices. To be efficient, the protection should be fast, selective and reliable. Then, in order restore service to most of the load, and allow the reparation of the defect components, the location of the fault must be found.
In distribution systems, the protection is often realized with overcurrent relays. The fault location is usually found by visual inspection or by using fault passage indicators. But, these methods can be slow. Further both protection and fault location assume generally a unique path for the fault current, which is no more true with an increased penetration of distributed generation in the network.
Microgrids are special distribution systems that can island from the main supply (e.g. transmission network) in case of a major disturbance, for instance a blackout. Therefore, the fault current is expected to be very different in islanded than in grid-connected mode. Hence there is a need for the study of the protection and fault location in such networks.
This research work takes place in the context of smarter grids. Smart grids usually refer to the use of information and communication technologies in the distribution grids. For purposes of better maintenance and control of the distribution networks, the monitoring and the level of automation of distribution networks will be enhanced in the future. Therefore the work will study how the protection and fault location items could be enhanced in a smart grid context.
The work is fundend by Siemens and is supervised by Prof. Jean-Claude Maun (ULB), and by Dr. Tevfik Sezi (Siemens AG).