RSE: SCFL - the first Superconducting Current Limiter installed in the Italian distribution network

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sfcl san dionigi
by Carmine Lorenzo

In the period 2009-2011, as part of the activities of System Research, RSE has successfully completed the design, construction, installation and start of experimentation in the field of a current limiting device based on superconducting technology. This installation represents the first application of a superconducting current limiter in Italy and one of the first in Europe and worldwide. Its importance is motivated by the increase in electricity demand and the
growing mesh of the grid, which contribute to an increase of the value of short-circuit: it is therefore very desirable for power companies have a device that, in case of failure, to introduce instantaneously high electrical impedance thus limiting l ' magnitude of short-circuit. I allow the realization of superconducting current limiters practically ideals, based on the transition "was superconductor-normal state" that occurs when crossing the critical current value. The limiter superconducting, or SFCL (Superconducting Fault Current Limiter), of the resistive type, based on the transition of a superconducting element in series with the line to be protected, is certainly the simplest configuration and studied.
Activities carried RSE has completed the development of a resistive current limiter, based on tapes High Temperature Superconductors (HTS) based on BSCCO. The device has been installed and tested in the distribution network of Milan, within the substation S. Dionigi of A2A Electricity Networks (A2A). This result has also benefited from the knowledge gained from previous projects Research System.
In fact, the activity initially required the design and implementation of a prototype single-phase, whose behavior has been modeled numerically and then verified
experimentally by means of subsequent trials of a short circuit. This prototype was used as a base for the final development phase of the equipment, which during 2011 has successfully passed qualification testing, thus proving to be suitable to its network installation. In particular, the final device has passed the tests of short-circuit that were conducted in a very conservative way, with values ​​even more stringent than those of the network: the device showed the expected behavior, limiting the fault currents in accordance with the demands of the society of the host distribution.
Have also been satisfactorily passed the tests dielectric agreed with A2A, partial discharge of tension normalized short-time power frequency and lightning impulse. these tests were repeated after the tests of short-circuit, in order to verify its integrity before it is installed on the network.
The device was then transported to the substation of S. Dionigi and preliminarily tested before A2A eseguisse the work required for the final installation, since March 2012, the superconducting limiter is connected so permanent network and army in continuous service. This last step has started the testing phase in the field of long-term (greater than six months), during which will be collected and processed all the data related to the operation of the device at different operating conditions.

Components of the installation

Use of the product
Since March 2012, the superconducting current limiter exercises in the distribution network to 9 kv of Milan, at the substation S. Dionigi (A2A). In the first phase of testing, the device is placed in protection of a single line (feeder) with currents that may reach 220 Arms (root mean square). It is expected that after the equipment is redesigned to be able to protect four different feeder, with a total current that can reach the value of 1 kA.

Installation layout and parameters at San Dionigi substation (fonte: RSE)


 

The experimentation in the field has the aim to verify the characteristics of the basic current limiter SFCL developed, and in particular:
- Safe operation and compatible with normal
maintenance cycles;
- Losses in AC and voltage drop negligible;
- Simplicity, compactness and reliability
Furthermore, in the face of failure events can be verified as follows:
- Limitation instant and effective fault current;
- Rapid and Automatic operating conditions prior to the fault.
To obtain the benefits associated with the use of tapes SAt, the three stages of the limiter are contained in a cryostat and immersed in liquid nitrogen. The level of liquid nitrogen is kept constant thanks to a Stirling cycle refrigeration machine, which is capable of recondensing gaseous nitrogen evaporated from the bath, due to the different thermal inputs. The temperature of the nitrogen bath can vary in the range 65 K - 77 K according to the needs: the more the temperature is low, in fact, the higher the critical current of the SAT, and then the entire device SFCL. The parameter to be adjusted to obtain the desired temperature of the bath of nitrogen is the pressure in the cryostat: in fact, while the atmospheric pressure corresponds to the saturation temperature of 77 K, the pressure of 174 mbar corresponds to the temperature of 65 K.
each stage of the SFCL device is connected in parallel to a reactor in which air, shorted by SAt in nominal conditions of use, carries most of the current short-circuit in case of failure, thereby allowing to limit the fault current to desired value.
The safety of the device SFCL is considered high, while its reliability, and in particular that of the refrigeration system, to be assessed during the testing phase of the field. It is expected, however, in case of severe disruption, which the device can be by-passed in order to preserve the continuity of the electricity service on the experimental network. The system, in fact, is equipped with safety systems, such as the relief valve and the rupture disk, which prevent the cryostat undergo overpressures exceeding its design specifications.
In addition, the system of supervision and control, accompanying it, acquires updated data on the electrical and thermal properties every three seconds, sending in three separate the day an information message about their status via SMS to operators. In case of malfunction, the system sends an alarm, always via sms, in so as to enable the timely intervention of operators.
The graphical interface allows then the immediate display of the present situation, showing on one screen all the fundamentals.

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