You are on page 1of 15


Dr. Tevfik Sezi

Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution, LLC Distribution Automation Division P.O. Box 29503 Raleigh, NC 27626-0503 USA Abstract-Existing electromechanical ground differential protection relays are impaired in the event of CT saturation. They might trip when the fault is external (or not trip when the fault is internal) unless the configuration and settings are designed very carefully. In addition, inrush effects can also cause wrong protection behavior. Simulations and field observations have revealed that the phase angle difference between the ground current and zero sequence current, in combination with the ratio of their magnitudes, can be used to identify precisely a transformer ground fault. These observations were used for the development of a new numerical transformer differential protective relay. Simulations and test results have shown that the new solution correctly detects a wider range of phenomena that would indicate an internal fault, while remaining able to not trip in the event of an external fault.
Key Words-Power distribution protection, power system protection, power transformer protection, power transmission protection,protection, protective relaying.

This paper describes a new approach for transformer ground differential protection, also known as restricted ground fault protection. The algorithm described has been implemented in a new numerical transformer differential relay to obtain better protection coverage for transformers and shunt reactors than the classical solutions. Extensive simulations and field tests have proven the reliability of the implemented algorithms. The new solution does not require any external auxiliary CTs, and the settings are very simple.

Fig. 1. Conventional Ground Differential Protection Scheme Using a

High-Impedance Differential Relay.


Phase-current differential protection schemes for transformers are not sensitive enough to detect an internal phase-to-ground fault if the fault is located near the neutral point of the transformer. Also, it is difficult to detect a ground fault if the transformer is resistance- or reactance-grounded, since the ground current will be limited. One classical solution for detecting an internal ground fault is to use a high-impedance differential-current relay (Fig. 1). This solution is also often used as a compromise solution for providing differential protection to a grounded delta-wye transformer bank when no delta-side CT's are available (or

convenient). This is a common situation for distribution and industrial ties with the delta as the high-voltage side and protected by fuses. An alternative classical solution is to use a directional overcurrent relay or a product relay. This is often done if the characteristics or CT ratios of the CTs are not suitable for using a high-impedance differential relay. This solution is particularly applicable when the ground current is limited or when a sensitive ground CT is used. Fig. 2 shows two different operating principles that use a directional overcurrent relay. In one case, an auxiliary current balancing autotransformer is used, in the other case an auxiliary l:N current transformer.




.- - - - - - -.
Directional Overcurrent Relay with Auxilialy Current Transformer

Fig. 2. Ground Differential Protection Scheme Using a Directional Overcurrent Relay with Either an Auxiliary CT (left dashed-line box) or an Autotransformer (right dashed-line box).

If the directional overcurrent relay solution is used, the relay has a directional unit that operates as a product unit. The overcurrent unit itself is non-directional and operates only in response to the amplitude of the current. In Fig. 2, it is shown as the coil without an indicated polarity. This nondirectional unit has an inverse time characteristic, but operates only if the directional unit operates. In any classical solution, the relay operates if the product of the amplitude of the ground current, the amplitude of the zero sequence current, and the cosine of the phase angle between the two currents exceeds a certain limit. For any particular current amplitudes, the maximum operating torque occurs if the phase angle between the two currents is O", while the maximum restraining torque occurs if the phase angle is 180". Zero torque occurs at k 90". With the classical protection scheme, detailed consideration must be given to ensuring that the relay will operate correctly even if no zero sequence current is present [11. 111. THENEW ALGORITHM The new, low-impedance ground differential protection algorithm is based on Kirchoff's law. The information

provided to the algorithm is sampled values of the phase currents and the ground current. Using the known phase and ground CT ratio information (specified as relay settings), the sampled current values are normalized relative to the nominal current of the protected transformer winding, In. This simply means that the unit of measure for all currents is In, not amperes. Then, the quantities used by the algorithm are calculated:

A. Calculated Quantities The restraining current, ZR, is the scalar sum of the separate amplitudes of the measured phase and ground currents. It is a measure of the total amount of current flowing through the transformer, regardless of whether the currents are balanced. It is calculated according to equations (1) and (2):

where N is the number of samples taken during each power system cycle, while iA(k), iB(k), i&). and i&) are the sampled and normalized values of the phase and ground currents. The fundamental vector of the ground current, IC. is calculated using Fourier analysis:
I G ( n ) = J[Re(lG

1.0 0.8

(n>)r [Im(IG (n))r

(n-k)cOs(2n-) k




ci~ N
2 N-1








q (degrees) --3

Two calculated current vectors, Id and I d , are the major components of the new algorithm:

Fig. 3. Trip area for I: 11; = 1

(7) Both quantities are calculated using the Fourier-analysis algorithm described in equations (3), (4), and (5). The differential current, ID, is by definition the amplitude of the vector-difference of the measured ground current and the calculated zero sequence current. By convention, any current. flowing into the protected equipment is considered to have a positive magnitude; so ID is calculated using the following equation:


= iA

+ iB + ic = 3i0





150 (dews)


B. Fault Detection The new algorithm detects that a fault has occurred if the differential current, ID, exceeds a relay setting (indicating that the ground current and zero sequence current differ too much), or if the restraining current, ZR, exceeds another relay setting (indicating that the total amount of current flowing through the transformer is too high). Once a fault has been detected, further analysis occurs. As with the classical solution, the question to be answered is whether the fault is internal (requiring a trip) or external (not requiring a trip).

Fig. 4. rip area for I(;/

10" = 2 .

C. Trip Decision In theory, an external fault can be easily recognized since the calculated quantities Zd and I d ' will have equal magnitudes and a phase angle difference of cp=90. In reality, inrush effects or CT-saturation may distort the measured currents. CT-saturation can affect both the perceived amplitudes of the fundamental current vectors and the phase angle between them.










Fig. 5. Trip area for 1; / 1 : =4 ,

Classical Trip Area: The algorithm calculates a value called the "stabilization current," ISTAB:

=Ii; -iyl-l~;


Vector analysis can show that the amplitude of the stabilization current, ISTAB, will be negative if the phase angle cp between lo and l o is in the range -90" I cp 5 90". In this case, the fault is internal, so a trip is appropriate if the amplitude of a calculated "operating current," Zop, is above a minimum level (a relay setting):
lop =I;

(if -90" I cp I90") (if -90" I cp I 90")

(10) (11)

Trip if l o p 2 Z T , . ~ ~ -SET

Extended Trip Area: The new algorithm extends the trip area to recognize internal faults that the classical solution will fail to respond to, while still avoiding an improper trip if the fault is external. cp 5270" (outside If the phase angle cp is in the range 90' I the classical trip area), the magnitude of Z ~ T A B will be positive. In this case, the new algorithm still bases the trip decision on the amplitude of the operating current, l o p , but calculates l o p differently:
lop = 1;

- kolSTAB

(if 90" 5 Cp 5 270") (if 90" I cp 5270")

(12) (13)

Trip if l o p 2 ZTrip-SET

where ko, the "stabilization factor," is a relay setting used to adjust the sensitivity of the protection when 90" I cp 5270". Note that when cp is in that range, lop is a function of four quantities: the amplitudes of the currents l o and l o , the phase angle between them, and the stabilization factor, ko:
lop =f(ko,cp,Z~,l~)


Since only the ratio of l o to I O is of interest, one can imagine graphing l o p as a three-dimensional surface where the dimensions correspond to l o p l l o (the normalized value of Zop), cp. and l o l l o . Different values of IQ would correspond to different plotted surfaces. Figures 3, 4, and 5 show as graphs three cross-sections of such a plot. Each graph corresponds to one value of Z o l l o , with the vertical axis corresponding to Zop/Zo and the horizontal axis corresponding to cp. (Only the range 0" 5 cp I 180" needs to be shown because of phase-angle symmetry). The different curves plotted correspond to different values of ko (a setting). The interpretation of these graphs will now be explained. For any particular combination of I O , l o and ko values, the value of the operating current, l o p , is affected by cp (the phase angle between lo and l o ) in the following way. If cp is +90", the amplitude of the stabilization current, ISTAB, will be zero, and equation (12) will yield the same value as equation (lo), the classical solution. However, as the phase

angle cp increases into the range 90" Icp 5270, the stabilization current ZSTAB will become larger, and so the operating current l o p will become smaller (equation 12). If cp is in the range -90" I cp I 90", then Zop is equal to Io (by definition). This is the same behavior as for the classical protection solution, so the area is labeled the "Classical Trip Area." The new algorithm extends the area in which a trip will be allowed. Unlike the classical solution, a trip can still occur even if cp is greater than 90" (further to the right on the graph). It is very important to realize that the curved boundary of the extended trip area moves while the relay is operating. At all times, the instantaneous values of the normalized operating current value, Zopl l o , and the phase angle,cp, will plot to a point somewhere on the curve corresponding to the value of the "stabilization factor," ko. In Figures 3,4, and 5, the curved boundary of the extended trip area is plotted for several values of ko. Compare Figures 3,4, and 5 to see how as the ratio of I O to 10 increases the extended trip area becomes larger. This is appropriate since a larger ratio means that the measured ground current is becoming much larger than the calculated zero sequence current. Hence, it is more likely that the fault is internal than that it is external, even if CT saturation is distorting the value of the perceived phase angle between the currents. For any given combination of the stabilization factor, ko , and ratio of the current amplitudes, Z o / l o , there exists a at which the operating current maximum phase angle cp~m l o p reaches the value zero. If the phase angle pis greater the , operating current l o p would be negative. To than q ~ m handle this, the algorithm changes any negative value for l o p to zero, so no trip occurs. Table 1 lists the corresponding value of cp~m for values of * * $ kowhen Z o l Z o =1:




4.05657 2.03603 1.36603 1.03372

90" 100" 110" 120" 130"

D.Second Harmonic Restraint

The amplitude of the second harmonic of the differential current, ID (equation 8). is calculated to detect the effect of inrush. If this amplitude exceeds a corresponding setting (typically 15% of the fundamental value of Io), the trip signal

will be blocked. But, if an internal fault with CT-saturation occurs during inrush, the trip signal must not be blocked. This situation is handled by disabling second-harmonic blocking if the magnitude of the fundamental component of the differential current ID exceeds a separate setting (typically ten-times the nominal current of the transformer winding that the ground differential algorithm is protecting). Evolving Faults The algorithm is able to track the dynamic motion of the operating point during power cycles. If an external fault with CT saturation occurs, the algorithm will correctly not trip. However, if the motion of the operating point indicates that an internal fault is evolving (specifically, if the operating point moves from the blocking area into the tripping area and remains there for two power cycles), the algorithm will issue a trip signal.




+ .



Fig. 6. Normalized Currents 1; and 10 During a Fault



The new ground differential algorithm has been implemented in a new numerical transformer differential relay. EMTP simulation tests and field experience have demonstrated the high reliability of the algorithm. External, internal, and evolving fault test cases were conducted. Both single-phase and multiple-phase faults were considered. Simulations have shown high stability of the algorithm in the case of transformer inrush. Figures 6 , 7, and 8 show results for a simulated fault with saturation of phase CTs. Thus, the zero sequence current is distorted. The ground current CT is not saturated. Fig. 6 , shows the calculated values of the normalized currents lo andlo' ; Fig. 7 shows the normalized values of the stabilization current ISTAB and the operating current l o p ; and Fig. 8 shows the calculated value of the phase angle cp. Shortly after the start of the transformer inrush, the distortion of the calculated zero sequence current is so severe that the phase opposition of the two currents IO and lo gets lost. Thus, a positive stabilization current occurs. Since the stabilization current is positive (in the trip area), the absolute value of the phase angle between the two phasors is less than go", so a transition from the block area to the trip area occurs. The algorithm recognizes that CT saturation is present if the stabilization current is positive for a short time, then becomes negative for a longer time. In other cases, there may be several transitions between the block area and the trip area. For this reason, the trip signal is delayed if a transition from the block area to the trip area is detected. The timer is reset after each block-to-trip area transition. A trip signal is only possible if the stabilization current is positive for a specified delay time and the operating current remains above the threshold value. The delay time is adjustable, with the default value being 2 cycles. Thus, no trip occurs in the example shown.

0.5 -

. . ..

y i





. .




Fig. 7. Stabilization Current, ISTAB. and Operating Current, Zop.

200 I


150 -

100 50

2 . 5



cycles k
Fig. 8. Phase Angle cp During a Fault

The presented algorithm is highly sensitive, regardless of the phase angle between the currents Id and I d ' . As explained earlier in this paper, with increasing phase angle classical product relay will require higher current amplitudes to generate the necessary torque for a trip. Thus, the sensitivity of a classical relay decreases as the phase angle grows. In typical applications, no trip is possible for phase angles greater than 85". With the extended trip area, internal faults causing heavy CT saturation problems will be detected.

In addition, many time consuming commissioning tests and fine adjustments necessary for the classical grounddifferential solutions using directional overcurrent relays are avoided.


J.L. Blackburn, Protective Relaying: Principles and Applications, 2nd Edition. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1998.

C.H. Einvall and J.R. Linders, A Three-phase Differential Relay for Transformer Protection, IEEE Transactions on PAS, Vol. PAS-94, No. 6, Nov/Dec 1975. W.A. Elmore, editor, Protective Relaying Theory and Applications. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994.
L.F. Kennedy and C.D. Hayward, Harmonic-CurrentRestrained Relays for Differential Protection, AlEE Transactions, Vol. 57, pp. 262-266, 1938.

O.P. Mal& P.K. Dash, and G.S.Hope, Digital Protection of Power Transformer, Paper No. A76 191-7 IEEE PES 1976 Winter Power Meeting, New York. C.A. Mathews, An Improved Transformer Differential Relay, AlEE Transactions, Vol. 73, Part 111, pp. 645-650, 1954.
J.A. Sykes, A New Technique for High-speed Transformer

Dr. Tevfik Sezi (M 1997) was born in 1953 in Adana, Turkey. He studied power electronics at the Technical University of Berlin (Germany), obtaining his Ph.D. (Dr.-Ing.) in 1985 after being an assistant professor there from 1980 to 1985. His research areas have included frequency variable drives, protection algorithms, and optimized software structures for protective relays. He has been with Siemens since 1985, working as a development engineer for protective relays from 1985 to 1996, and was responsible for the relay development department between 1993 and 1996. He holds several patents on protection algorithms. Since August 1996 he has been in the United States as Product Manager for Protective Relays.

Fault Protection Suitable for Digital Computer Implementation,IEEE paper No. C72 429-9, Summer Power Meeting of PES, 1972. J.A. Sykes and I.F. Morrison, A Proposed Method for Harmonic-Restraint Differential Protection for Power Transformers,IEEE Transactions on PAS, Vol. PAS-91, No. 3, pp. 1260-1272,1972.

Optional Resistor or Reactor

Figure 1

Optional Resistor

Directional Overcurrent Relay with Auxiliary Current Transformer

Figure 2










Figure 3




9 1



150 cp (degrees)


Figure 4


Figure 5




4.05657 2.03603 1.36603


90" 100" 110" 120"


Table 1




0-1 -

-2 Y







Figure 6






Figure 7



150 -

100 -

50 .

Figure 8