Evaluation of DC supply protection for efficient energy delivery in low voltage applications

Abstract : Currently, there is a drop in the price of distributed energy resources, especially solar PVs, which leads to a significant growth of the installed capacities in many countries. On the other hand, policies encouraging energy efficiency have promoted the development of DC loads in domestic areas, such as LEDs lighting, computers, telephones, televisions, efficient DC motors and electric vehicles. Corresponding to these changes in sources and loads, DC microgrid distribution system becomes more attractive than the traditional AC distribution system. The main advantages of the DC microgrid are higher energy efficiency, easier in integrating with distributed energy sources and storage systems. While many studies concentrate on the control strategies and energy management in the DC microgrid, the protection still receives inadequate attention and lack of regulations and experiences. Protection in DC grids is more complex than AC grids due to the continuous arc, higher short circuit current value and fault rate of rising. Furthermore, the DC distributed grids are composed of many electronic and semiconductor switching devices, which only sustain the fault currents of some tens of microseconds. Mechanical circuit breakers, which have a response time in tens of milliseconds, seem not to meet the safety requirement of DC microgrids. The lack of effective protection devices is a barrier to the development of DC microgrids in the distributed systems. This thesis proposes a self-power solid state DC circuit breaker using normally-on SiC JFET, which offers a great protection device for DC microgrids due to its fast response time and low on-state losses. The design of the solid state DC circuit breaker aims to meet two objectives: fast response time and high reliability. The designed specifications and critical energies that result in the destruction of the circuit breaker are identified on the basis of the experiments of a commercial normally-on JFET. In addition, a very fast and reliable protection driver based on a forward-flyback converter topology is employed to generate a sufficient negative voltage to turn and hold off the SiC JFET. The converter will be activated whenever short-circuit faults are detected by sensing the drain-source voltage, then creating a negative voltage applied to the gate of JFET. To avoid gate failure by overvoltage at the gate of JFET, the output voltage of the forward-flyback converter is regulated using Primary Side Sensing technique. Experimental results validated the working principle of the proposed solid state DC circuit breaker with fault clearing time less than 3 μs. Additionally, a model of the normally-on JFET in Matlab/Simulink environment is built for exploring the behaviors of the solid-state DC circuit breaker during short-circuit faults. The agreement between the simulation and experimental results confirms that this JFET model can be appropriately used for the investigation of solid state DC circuit breaker operations and DC microgrids in general during fault evens and clearing fault processes
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Thi Thuong Huyen Ma. Evaluation of DC supply protection for efficient energy delivery in low voltage applications. Electric power. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSE1055⟩. ⟨tel-01797803⟩

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