Protection and fault location schemes suited to large-scale multi-vendor high voltage direct current grids

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2021
Thesis identifier
  • T16094
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201676133
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Recent developments in voltage source converter (VSC) technology have led to an increased interest in high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission to support the integration of massive amounts of renewable energy sources (RES) and especially, offshore wind energy. VSC-based HVDC grids are considered to be the natural evolution of existing point-to-point links and are expected to be one of the key enabling technologies towards expediting the integration and better utilisation of offshore energy, dealing with the variable nature of RES, and driving efficient energy balance over wide areas and across countries. Despite the technological advancements and the valuable knowledge gained from the operation of the already built multi-terminal systems, there are several outstanding issues that need to be resolved in order to facilitate the deployment of large-scale meshed HVDC grids. HVDC protection is of utmost importance to ensure the necessary reliability and security of HVDC grids, yet very challenging due to the fast nature of development of DC faults and the abrupt changes they cause in currents and voltages that may damage the system components. This situation is further exacerbated in highly meshed networks, where the effects of a DC fault on a single component (e.g. DC cable) can quickly propagate across the entire HVDC grid. To mitigate the effect of DC faults in large-scale meshed HVDC grids, fast and fully selective approaches using dedicated DC circuit breaker and protection relays are required. As the speed of DC fault isolation is one order of magnitude faster than typical AC protection (i.e. less than 10 ms), there is a need for the development of innovative approaches to system protection, including the design and implementation of more advanced protection algorithms. Moreover, in a multi-vendor environment (in which different or the same type of equipment is supplied by various manufacturers), the impact of the grid elements on the DC fault signature may differ considerably from case to case, thus increasing the complexity of designing reliable protection algorithms for HVDC grids. Consequently, there is a need for a more fundamental approach to the design and development of protection algorithms that will enable their general applicability. Furthermore, following successful fault clearance, the next step is to pinpoint promptly the exact location of the fault along the transmission medium in an effort to expedite inspection and repair time, reduce power outage time and elevate the total availability of the HVDC grid. Successful fault location becomes increasingly challenging in HVDC grids due to the short time windows between fault inception and fault clearance that limit the available fault data records that may be utilised for the execution of fault location methods. This thesis works towards the development of protection and fault location solutions, designed specifically for application in large-scale multi-vendor HVDC grids. First, a methodology is developed for the design of travelling wave based non-unit protection algorithms that can be easily configured for any grid topology and parameters. Second, using this methodology, a non-unit protection algorithm based on wavelet transform is developed that ensures fast, discriminative and enhanced protection performance. Besides offline simulations, the efficacy of the wavelet transform based algorithm is also demonstrated by means of real-time simulation, thereby removing key technical barriers that have impeded the use of wavelet transform in practical protection applications. Third, in an effort to reinforce the technical and economic feasibility of future HVDC grids, a thorough fault management strategy is presented for systems that employ efficient modular multilevel converters with partial fault tolerant capability. Finally, a fault location scheme is developed for accurately estimating the fault location in HVDC grids that are characterised by short post-fault data windows due to the utilisation of fast acting protection systems.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Burt, Graeme (Graeme C.)
Resource Type