IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 67

Technology Leaders

(continued from page 72)

However, the overload capability
There is a gap of 10× in fault curof a converter-based microgrid is
rent tolerance and a gap of 10,000×
limited by the thermal-electrical
in fault time tolerance between tracapacity of the tiny
ditional power dissemiconductor chips
tribution networks
A dc microgrid
inside the converters.
and converter-based
will experience a
The chips typically
microgrids.
cannot sustain a fault
system-wide blackout
State of the Art
current of more than
if the main grid-tied
in Microgrid
two to three times
ac-dc converter
Protection
the nominal current
shuts down.
In the case of a
for more than a few
short circuit fault, a
tens of microseconds,
power electronic coneven with some oververter will typically shut down to prorating provisions. If these power or
tect itself within the first few tens of
time limits are exceeded, the powmicroseconds, resulting in the coler converters shown in Figure 1
lapse of its output voltage. A dc
would either enter into a self-shutmicrogrid will experience a systemdown mode or fail catastrophically.

wide blackout if the main grid-tied
ac-dc converter shuts down. In contrast, after temporarily losing all of
its DERs, an ac microgrid might
have a chance to ride through the
fault because of its direct connection to the grid and can therefore be
overlaid onto traditional ac distribution system-protective devices.
Figure 2 shows a three-phase ac-
dc converter with its dc bus being
inadvertently shorted. The fault
current is initially provided through
the discharging of the dc link capacitor. Shortly after the collapse of the
dc bus voltage, a more sustaining
fault current is provided through
the antiparallel diodes of the converter. This second fault current in

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016

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