Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Sottile

Abstract

Current practice in U.S. underground coal mine high-voltage distribution systems is to attempt to limit ground fault current to 25 Amperes and de-energize the circuit at 10 Amperes. However, the significant amount of system capacitance due to the use of shielded cables can cause ground fault current to be two or three times the intended ground fault limit. Consequently, this practice can cause several issues such as ground fault currents significantly exceeding the neutral grounding resistor current limit, loss of relay selectivity in the distribution system, and transient overvoltages in certain ground fault situations. These issues are solved to some extent by using a resonance grounded system, currently used in some other countries. However, a shortcoming of traditional resonance grounded systems is the inability to deal with the harmonic components existing in ground fault current. With the increasing use of nonlinear sources such as variable frequency drives, the proportion of harmonic components in ground fault current can be significant. Consequently, although the fundamental component can be almost fully compensated in a traditional resonance grounded system, the harmonic components can still be large enough to maintain arcing and cause personal injury and equipment damage. In this dissertation, a novel method is developed to perform real-time prediction of the harmonics in ground fault currents. Methods for neutralizing the ground fault current harmonics and identifying ground fault location are also developed. Results indicate that the combination of traditional high-resistance grounding and active current injection to neutralize harmonics in the ground fault has the potential to significantly reduce the total ground fault current and reduce arc and flash hazards during ground faults in high voltage distribution systems.

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