Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Alan Mantooth

Committee Member

Simon Ang

Second Committee Member

Juan Balda

Third Committee Member

Alex Lostetter

Fourth Committee Member

Roy McCann

Keywords

Applied sciences; Distribution systems; Fault current limiter; Power systems protection; Silicon carbide; Solid-state

Abstract

The fault current limiter represents a developing technology which will greatly improve the reliability and stability of the power grid. By reducing the magnitude of fault currents in distribution systems, fault current limiters can alleviate much of the damage imposed by these events. Solid-state fault current limiters in particular offer many improved capabilities in comparison to the power system protection equipment which is currently being used for fault current mitigation. The use of silicon carbide power semiconductor devices in solid-state fault current limiters produces a system that would help to advance the infrastructure of the electric grid.

A solid-state fault current limiter utilizing silicon carbide super gate-turn off thyristors (SGTOs) and silicon carbide PiN diodes was designed, built, and tested as a technology demonstrator. The impact of using silicon carbide (SiC) devices in this application was assessed, as well as the associated design challenges. The feasibility of implementing SiC based solid-state fault current limiters for 15 kV class distribution systems was investigated in order to determine the practicality of wide-scale deployment.