VSC Fault Protection

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Fault In Our System
Team Name Faults In Our System (FIOS)
Duration Fall 2017 - Spring 2018
Team Member Thomas Nitchman, Bryan Ortiz, Yue Li, Ding Mao, Zhiyan Zhou

    Dr. Brian K. Johnson,
    Dr. Feng Li


    Dr. Normann Fischer

SEL Research & Development

VSC Fault Protection The objective is to design and test a power system protection scheme that combines voltage and possible measurements from different locations in or near a wind farm to locate faults. A brand new method to detect the fault before it occures.

Problem Definition[edit]

Project Statement[edit]

The objective is to design and test a power system protection scheme that combines voltage and possible measurements from different locations in or near a wind farm to locate faults.
A brand new method to detect the fault before it occures.

Project Learning[edit]

Some of the shelf technologies that we will use are the following:

  • Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) -- The Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) is a special purpose computer that does time domain simulation solving the differential equations for a power system at discrete instants in time, 50 microseconds apart, and doing analog or digital I/O to external protection and control devices in real time. Such that the external devices don't know they are talking to a simulation instead of a real system.
  • RSCAD -- A graphical interface intended to be used in conjunction with RTDS.
  • PSCAD -- A non-real time graphical interface program that is the forerunner to RSCAD.

Project Goal[edit]

  • Design and simulate a power system protection scheme that uses voltage measurements from different locations in or near a wind farm to determine fault locations.
Type4 Wind Turbine Generator with transmission line

Project background[edit]

Type4 WTG

Type3 WTG

Type 4 WTG & Type 3 WTG

  • Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machine

√Excitation -------- Permanent Magnets
√The Prime mover --- torque production

  • Squirrel Cage Induction Machine

√Active Machine Side Converter
√Firing controls the real and reactive power


  • What are Faults?
  1. An electrical fault is an abnormal defect in an electrical system caused by equipment failures, human errors, and/or environmental incidents.
  2. Faults occur when two or more lines or the neutral point are shorted together causing a disturbance in the phase and or magnitude of the voltage, current, and/or impedance.

  • Types of Faults
    symmetrical fault compressor

There are two main types of faults: symmetrical ones and asymmetrical ones.

1.Symmetrical Faults
Also known as a balanced faults
Affect all three phases of the system and become short circuited together

2.Asymmetrical faults
Known as unbalanced faults
Do not affect all three phases and usually are faulted between each other or between a phase and neutral.
The three most common types are Line to Line, Line to Ground, and Double Line to Ground.


2017 Tasks[edit]

  • State space averaged model of Converter
  • Controller for converter
  • Full working model of Type 4 wind turbine

2018 Tasks[edit]

  • Test faults with Wind Turbine Model in PSCAD
  • Build same model in RSCAD
  • Simulate in RTDS
  • Determine algorithm to locate faults on transmission lines


System Diagrams[edit]

System diagrams used from Master's Thesis located in the appendix

The system diagram of type 4 wind turbine generator shows it is providing mechanical power to a permanent magnet synchronous machine (PMSM). This then provides electrical power to a diode bridge rectifier to convert AC to Dc. Then the power will flow through a DO link and then convert DC back to AC through the active PWM VSC. This output will go through a transformer and then to the AC grid. A squirrel cage induction machine can also be used in place of the PMSM.

Engineering Modeling[edit]

Diode Bridge Rectifier Model

The projects model was built in RTDS for both the diode bridge rectifier and the Neutral Point Clamped Converter (NPC).

The diode bridge rectifier is used to rectify the AC input from the generator to a DC output. To convert DC back to a source of AC that the power grid can use, the active grid side voltage converter (NPC) is used.

Neutral Point Clamped Converter Model

On top of the power electronics models implemented above, a controller was designed, by Shashidhar Reddy Sathu, to generate the modulating functions for the three phase legs based on real and reactive power set points. Below are the outer and inner control loops.

Outer control Loop[edit]

Outer control loop

The outer control loop was created for determining Id and Iq reference values from the set point values for real and reactive power. In the case of a wind turbine, the output power from the generator is hard to determine correctly and the Id reference value needs to follow the generator output, otherwise the energy gets dumped into the capacitor and raises the DC bus voltage and could damage the power electronic devices. In another case, if the power input falls and the inverter supplies more AC power than is coming into the DC link, the voltage will fall will fall as the capacitor gets drained and the system will not be able to maintain the voltage at the inverter terminals. This control loop was implemented to vary the exported ac power with the change in input and is based on regulating the DC link voltage.

Inner control Loop[edit]

Inner control loop

The inner control loop generates modulating waves for all three phases for the use in switching functions. The Id and Iq reference values are compared with the processed measured values. The controlled determines the voltage that has to be supplied to the terminal to drive the current corresponding to the reference values. The control is done in the dq reference frame and has to be transformed back into the ABC reference frame to get modulating waved for the three phases.

The schematic of the overall system with the control loops, diode bridge rectifier and NPC is shown below.

Complete Test System Diagram

PSCAD Work[edit]

Fall Semester works[edit]
  • Single Phase Simulation
Comment Diagram
Firstly, we do the single phase circuit simulation to find out what will happen when faults occur. Here is the circuit we built in PSCAD:
Single Phase PSCAD Simulation Circuit

When we use time fault logic gate to generate the single phase fault, we will see the output graph of voltage and current as show below:

As we can see, when the fault occur, the voltage we measure at the point of fault branch, the voltage turns to nearly zero, because the fault is a line-to-ground fault, meanwhile, the branch will flow with a sinusoidal current, and the outside branch current will goes to zero.

Voltages in relation to a single phase fault
Current in relation to a single phase fault

  • Three Phase Simulation
Comment Diagram
Next, we do the three phase circuit simulation.

The circuit we built for the WTG system is show:

Three phase PSCAD simulation
Inside the full power converter, the circuit will be:
Full Power Converter using sine-triangle PWM
Also, we use the output Graph Pane to output the waveform, then we will get the fault occur waveform, and the fault type we use is A-G fault.

Here is the voltage relation under three phase fault case. We will easily to find that the when fault occur at PhaseA, here is very similar to the same case under the single-phase circuit. But one thing is different is the PhaseB and PhaseC. As the voltage in PhaseA goes to zero, the other two phases goes up slightly. We can explain this situation as the compensation of voltage, to keep the whole circuit balanced.

Voltages in relation to a three phase fault (A-G fault)
Meanwhile, if we do the same graph output to the current, we will have that:

Here is the current relation under this case. As we can see the compensation effect also occur in the current case. As the PhaseA current goes down, PhaseB may not change so clearly, but the PhaseC current does change to keep the circuit balance.

Currents in relation to a three phase fault (A-G fault)

Spring Semester works[edit]
Comment Diagram
Here we add some components inside of our three phase diagram to make our model more realistic.

Briefly, we add a transformer inside of our circuit, and we try to use the feedback loop in the terminal side to gain a more stable system.

WTG model in PSCAD Simulation

Team Information[edit]

FIOS Team Photo.jpeg
Team members listed below from left to right

Picture Info Bio
Mao Bio.jpg Mao Ding:
  • major: Electrical Engineering
  • email: ding2493@vandals.uidaho.edu
Hello, everyone. My name is Ding Mao. I came from China. I am a senior student studying in electrical engineering. My academic interest is about power system. I have little experience about circuit design. But I am quick in learning, I believe I can get success in the future.
Bryan Bio.jpg Bryan Ortiz:
  • major: Electrical Engineering
  • email: orti9062@vandals.uidaho.edu
I am a senior studying electrical engineering at the University of Idaho. My academic interests include power electronics, power protection systems and AC and DC machines. I have experience with power electronics PCB design as well as the generation side of hydro power and have participated in projects such as generator protection relay replacement and control systems.
Thomas Bio.jpg Thomas Nitchman:
  • major: Electrical Engineering
  • email: nitc5705@vandals.uidaho.edu
I am an Electrical Engineer with interests in AC/DC machines, electronics, and power protection systems. I am from Seattle, Washington and have experience with power generation, electronic troubleshooting, and signal analysis from working on ferries. I have also conducted research in converting Diesel Electric systems into Hybrid systems.
Yue Bio.jpg Yue Li:
  • major: Electrical Engineering
  • email: li6972@vandals.uidaho.edu
I am a senior student in electrical engineering major, and I come from China. I and Mao and Zhiyan are the classmates before, this is our first year in University Of Idaho. My research direction is power system, and I hope I can have a fantastic memory form this project! Hope all of us can have a good time during the project. Meanwhile, I am interested in designing and painting, I like animation as well.
Zhiyan Bio.jpg Zhiyan Zhou:
  • major: Electrical Engineering
  • email: zhou5582@vandals.uidaho.edu
I am a senior student in electrical engineering from China, this is my first year in University of Idaho. Also I am interested in the power system and I plan on graduating in May,2018. In my free time, I like to listen to some music and watch some TVs.

Document Archive[edit]

Weekly Meeting Minutes[edit]

Fall Semester[edit]

File:Minutes from 9 14 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 9 28 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 10 3 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 10 10 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 10 17 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 10 24 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 10 31 2017.pdf
File:Minutes from 11 7 2018.pdf
File:Minutes from 11 28 2018.pdf

Spring Semester[edit]

File:Minutes from 1 19 2018.pdf
File:Minutes from 1 26 2018.pdf
File:Minutes from 2 2 2018.pdf

Project Documents[edit]

File:Team Contract.pdf
File:SEL Client Transcript.pdf