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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FCL (Upgrading a commercially-available Fault Current Limiter to a more cost-effective device for enabling additional capacity and improving energy efficiency, by limiting destructive fault currents)

FCL Report Summary

Project ID: 672530

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FCL (Upgrading a commercially-available Fault Current Limiter to a more cost-effective device for enabling additional capacity and improving energy efficiency, by limiting destructive fault currents)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Fault currents (or short circuit currents) in electrical networks are unavoidable. Short circuit current levels can be few times and up to many tens of times higher than the normal current levels in the network.
As the complexity of networks increases with growing demand, rapid addition of distributed generation sources and more meshing of networks - fault currents increase significantly. If fault current levels increase beyond the capabilities of the network equipment - measures must be taken to reduce these levels.

Saturated core fault current limiters (FCL) are advanced network infrastructure devices used in electrical grids in order to reduce the level of current that occurs when a short circuit occurs. Saturated core FCLs are commercially available, reliable and proven devices. GridON's FCLs are particularly attractive to network operators, since they are built using standard transformer technology. Such devices have been operating for several years in Great-Britain with outstanding results both in normal operation and in fault events.

These devices are series connected to the network. They react instantly to fault currents and present high impedance to significantly reduce the fault current level during the entire fault duration. They recover immediately to normal operation once the fault is cleared.

Yet some applications can benefit from increased performance envelope and also from reduced size and mass. Such enhancements can increase the addressable space these devices can cater for, and increase their adoption rate in the market. Specifically - smaller scale applications such as industrial grids - will benefit greatly from such improvements.

This project aims to achieve such enhancements by utilizing auxiliary subsystems that can enable designing saturated core FCLs that are up to 85% lighter than existing ones, while improving their performance envelope.

Such advances will enable offering customers significantly cost reduced devices - and speed up their adoption rate.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Initially specifications were identified for a commercial case of an FCL. Specifications were written for a scaled-down device as a basis for enhancements. Then specifications were written for devices that would benefit from the enhancements developed in this project. This work already showed the mass reduction potential of the enhancements.
Once specifications were in place - conceptual design and preliminary simulations were performed. This work further affirmed the potential of the enhancements, showing the FCLs may be designed much more compact than the baseline technology, up to 85% lighter.
Detailed design is currently ongoing.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The progress made in this project to date already shows great potential for significant size and cost reduction of the existing technology, while improving the performance envelope.
These improvements can enable much faster adoption of these already well-established products, and allow for significant cost saving in the electrical transmission and distribution, as well as in industrial applications, by allowing the continued utilization of fit-for-use equipment, rather than retiring it early.
The improvements developed in this project also enable further reduction of network losses and improved network availability and power quality, as well as inter-connectivity of grids.
The improved performance envelope will allow for virtually any type of application to be tapped by this technology, thus enable the economic design of future networks.

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