Traditional protection methods such as over-current or under-voltage methods are unreliable in inverter-based microgrid applications. This is primarily due to low fault current levels because of power electronic interfaces to the distributed energy resources (DER), and IEEE1547 low-voltage-ride-through (LVRT) requirements for renewables in microgrids. However, when faults occur in a microgrid feeder, system changes occur which manipulate the internal circuit structure altering the system dynamic relationships. This observation establishes the basis for a proposed, novel, model-based, communication-free fault detection technique for inverter-based microgrids. The method can detect faults regardless of the fault current level and the microgrid mode of operation. The approach utilizes fewer measurements to avoid the use of a communication system. Protecting the microgrid without communication channels could lead to blinding (circuit breakers not tripping for faults) or nuisance tripping (tripping incorrectly). However, these events can be avoided with proper system design, specifically with appropriately sized system impedance. Thus, a major contribution of this article is the development of a mathematical framework to analyze and avoid blinding and nuisance tripping scenarios by quantifying the bounds of the proposed fault detection technique. As part of this analysis, the impedance based constraints for microgrid system feeders are included. The performance of the proposed technique is demonstrated in the MATLAB/SIMULINK (MathWorks, Natick, MA, USA) simulation environment on a representative microgrid architecture showing that the proposed technique can detect faults for a wide range of load impedances and fault impedances.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited