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Inverter Design with High Short-Circuit Fault Current Contribution to Enable Legacy Overcurrent Protection for Islanded Micro...

by Maximiliano F Ferrari Maglia, L Tolbert
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
Power Energy Society General Meeting
Book Title
Publication Date
Publisher Location
New Jersey, United States of America
Conference Name
PES General Meeting
Conference Location
Denver, Colorado, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

The resiliency offered by a microgrid may be lost if the microgrid is not properly protected during short-circuit faults inside its boundaries. Many studies conclude that protecting microgrids in islanded mode is very challenging due to the limited short-circuit capability of distributed energy resources (DERs). The limited short-circuit capability of DERs typically inhibits the use of reliable and affordable overcurrent protective devices in microgrids. Although extensive research on microgrid protection is available in the literature, to date this research has not led to a cost-effective, commercially available relay that effectively tackles the challenges of microgrid protection. This work proposes hardware modifications to enhance the current contribution of an energy storage inverter with the objective of enabling the use of legacy overcurrent protection for islanded microgrids. This paper demonstrates through experimental results that few modifications are required in the inverter to significantly enhance its current contribution. In this study, a three-phase energy storage inverter was modified to provide three times its rated current during three-phase faults, which proved sufficient current for enough time to enable fuse-relay, and relay-to-relay coordination. The proposed modifications effectively increase the current contribution of the inverter, which is a promising advancement to allow the adoption of overcurrent protective devices for protecting microgrids.