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Generator Circuit-Breakers Application Guide


- Edition 2

Technical Report January 2012

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Product Brochure

Generator Circuit-Breakers
Application Guide
Edited by

ABB Switzerland Ltd


High Voltage Products
Department: High Current Systems
Brown Boveri Strasse 5
CH-8050 Zurich / Switzerland

Text: Dieter Braun, Giosafat Cavaliere,


Kurt Dahinden, Mirko Palazzo
Table of contents

1 Introduction 6

2 History of the development of generator circuit-breakers 7

3 Design of generator circuit-breakers 9


3.1 Interrupting chamber 9
3.2 Hydraulic spring operating mechanism 11
3.3 SF 6-gas density monitoring system 11
3.4 Disconnector 12
3.5 Earthing switch 12
3.6 Starting switch (for gas turbine power plants) 12
3.7 Short-circuiting connection 13
3.8 Current transformer 13
3.9 Voltage transformer 13
3.10 Ferroresonance damping device 13
3.11 Surge capacitor 14
3.12 Surge arrester 14
3.13 Connecting zone 15
3.14 Phase enclosure 16
3.15 Control and supervision 16

4 Standard for generator circuit-breakers 17

5 Selection of generator circuit-breakers 18


5.1 Duties of generator circuit-breakers 18
5.2 Requirements for generator circuit-breakers 18
5.3 Selection of generator circuit-breakers 18
5.3.1 Rated maximum voltage 19
5.3.2 Power frequency 19
5.3.3 Rated continuous current 19
5.3.4 Rated dielectric strength 20
5.3.5 Rated short-circuit duty cycle 20
5.3.6 Rated interrupting time 20
5.3.7 Rated closing time 20
5.3.8 Short-circuit current rating 20
5.3.8.1 System-source short-circuit current 20
5.3.8.2 Generator-source short-circuit current 23
5.3.8.3 Required closing, latching, and carrying capabilities 27
5.3.8.4 Required short-time current-carrying capability 27
5.3.9 Transient recovery voltage rating 27
5.3.9.1 First-pole-to-clear factor 28
5.3.9.2 Amplitude factor 28
5.3.9.3 Power frequency recovery voltage 28
5.3.9.4 Rated inherent transient recovery voltage 29
5.3.9.5 System-source faults 30
5.3.9.6 Generator-source faults 30
5.3.9.7 Calculation of TRV in case of terminal faults 30
5.3.10 Rated load current switching capability 32
5.3.11 Capacitance current switching capability 32
5.3.12 Out-of-phase current switching capability 32
5.3.13 Excitation current switching capability 34
5.3.14 Rated control voltage 34
5.3.15 Rated mechanism fluid operating pressure 34

4 | ABB
Table of contents

6 Application of generator circuit-breakers 35


6.1 Power plant layouts 35
6.1.1 Thermal power plants 35
6.1.2 Gas turbine power plants 35
6.1.3 Hydro power plants 35
6.1.4 Pumped storage power plants 36
6.2 Advantages of generator circuit-breakers 38
6.2.1 Simplified operational procedures 38
6.2.2 Improved protection of the generator and the main and unit transformers 38
6.2.3 Increased security and higher power plant availability 38
6.2.3.1 Transformer failures 39
6.2.3.2 Short-time unbalanced load condition 41
6.2.3.3 Generator motoring 42
6.2.3.4 Synchronizing under out-of-phase conditions 42
6.2.4 Economic benefit 43

7 Maintenance of generator circuit-breakers 44

8 Case study 1: Impact of the method of connecting a generator to the high-voltage grid on the availability of a power plant 45
8.1 Power plant layout 45
8.1.1 Layout of extra high-voltage substation 47
8.1.2 Layout of high-voltage substation 48
8.1.3 Generator circuit-breaker 48
8.1.4 Station transformer 48
8.2 Data for availability calculations 48
8.3 Simulations 48
8.4 Simulation results 49
8.5 Economic evaluation 50

9 Case study 2: Interrupting capability of generator circuit-breakers in case of delayed current zeros 52
9.1 Generator circuit-breaker model adopted for the simulations 52
9.2 Generator terminal faults 53
9.3 Out-of-phase synchronising 55
9.4 Conclusions 56

References 57

ABB | 5
1 Introduction

A major objective of all power plant operating companies is breaker has several advantages over the unit connection, e.g.:
the achievement of the highest possible plant availability at simplified operational procedures
the lowest possible cost. Obviously, how a generator is con-
improved protection of the generator and the main and unit
nected to the high-voltage grid and how the power supply to
transformers
the unit auxiliaries is secured has a decisive influence on the
increased security and higher power plant availability
availability of a power plant.
Two basically different ways of connecting a generator to the economic benefit
high-voltage transmission network are in use today, namely ABB generator circuit-breakers are suitable for application in
the connection without a circuit-breaker between the genera- all kinds of new power plants such as fossil-fired, nuclear, gas
tor and the low-voltage terminals of the main transformer (i.e. turbine, combined cycle, hydro and pumped storage power
the "unit connection") and the connection with a generator plants as well as for replacement or retrofit in existing power
circuit-breaker (Figure 1). The layout with a generator circuit- stations when they are modernized and/or extended.

a) b)

EHV HV EHV HV

MT MT

UT ST UT ST
G GCB

AUX G AUX

Figure 1: Layout of a thermal power plant without generator circuit-breaker a) and with generator circuit-breaker b)

Legend
MT Main transformer
UT Unit transformer
ST Station transformer
GCB Generator circuit-breaker
EHV Transmission system
HV Sub-transmission system
AUX Unit auxiliaries

6 | ABB
2 History of the development of generator circuit-breakers

Originally conventional distribution


circuit-breakers were used to connect
the generator to the step-up transformer.
With the increasing output of the genera-
tors, the required ratings exceeded the
load currents and short-circuit levels of
the switchgear available. Therefore the
unit connection became the accepted
standard power plant layout.

During the sixties, when there was a trend towards higher unit segregated units using compressed air as operating and arc-
ratings and, consequently, increased use of phase- extinguishing medium.
segregated generator busducts, ABB developed a circuit- In the 1980s SF6 generator circuit-breakers were successfully
breaker which could meet these new requirements. This was introduced into the market. The design of these circuit-break-
the first circuit-breaker designed to be installed in the run of ers was a three-phase system in single-phase enclosures,
generator busducts (Figure 2). supplied fully assembled on a common frame with operating
Since the delivery of the first specific purpose generator mechanism and control equipment. Mainly the economical
circuit-breaker in 1970, there has been a continuous develop- aspect and reasons of reliability and maintainability convinced
ment of this piece of power plant equipment. At the beginning customers of this modern arc-extinguishing medium.
the circuit-breakers consisted of three metal-enclosed, phase

Figure 2: Air blast generator circuit-breaker type DR mounted in the run of an isolated phase bus

ABB | 7
In the 1990s SF6 generator circuit-breakers were specifically currents up to 210 kA are available. This breaking capacity
developed for open installation, i.e. without enclosure. This corresponds to the highest short-circuit breaking current ever
solution was introduced to allow quick and easy installation achieved with a single SF 6 interrupting unit. The development
even for projects with very small space requirements (Figure 3). was made possible by using the most advanced SF 6 self-
Today SF 6 generator circuit-breakers with rated currents up blast principle. With this achievement modern SF 6 generator
to 24000 A with natural cooling and up to 57000 A with circuit-breakers can now be delivered for generating units with
forced air cooling, respectively, and with short-circuit breaking ratings up to 2000 MVA (Figure 4).

Figure 3: SF6 generator circuit-breaker type HECS-130R for open Figure 4: Generator circuit-breaker type HEC 7 based on SF6
installation technology and self-blast principle

Another development has been the integration of all the and hydro power plants) can also be fitted in the generator
associated items of switchgear into the generator circuit- circuit-breaker housing. This greatly improved functionality
breaker housing. Series disconnectors, earthing switches, allows simpler and more economic power plant layouts.
short-circuiting connection, current transformers, single- Beside a substantial reduction of the first costs this new
bushing voltage transformers, protective capacitors and surge solution - being fully factory assembled and tested - also
arresters can be mounted in the enclosure of the generator makes possible considerable savings in time and expenditures
circuit-breaker (Figure 5). Depending on the type of power for erection and commissioning.
plant additional items like starting switches (for gas turbine

Current transformer

Voltage transformer

Interrupting chamber

Disconnector

Surge arrester

Figure 5: View into one pole of a generator circuit-breaker system

8 | ABB
3 Design of generator circuit-breakers

ABB generator circuit-breaker systems are three-phase sys- All the components are integrated and mounted in the phase
tems with a SF6 circuit-breaker and a disconnector in single- enclosures (Figure 5). The generator circuit-breaker system is
phase enclosures, supplied fully assembled on a common designed for welded connections to the isolated phase bus
frame, with operating mechanisms and control equipment. enclosures. Each enclosure is made of aluminium and capable
In addition to the circuit-breaker and disconnector, the of carrying the induced return current.
generator circuit-breaker systems are available with earthing The phase distance can be selected to suit the busbar
switch, starting switch, short-circuiting connection, current spacing in the power plant.
and voltage transformers, surge capacitor and surge arrester.
The single line diagram of a generator circuit-breaker system
is depicted in Figure 6.

4 5

8 8

7 1 2 7
G

3 3

6 6 9

10
Figure 6: Typical single line diagram of a generator circuit-breaker system

1 Generator circuit-breaker 6 Surge capacitor


2 Line disconnect switch 7 Current transformers
3 Earthing switch 8 Voltage transformers
4 Starting switch for SFC connection 9 Surge arrester
5 Manual short-circuiting connection 10 Motor-operated short circuiting link
(by removal of cover) (only with generator side earthing switch)

3.1 Interrupting chamber


Within the interrupting chamber SF 6 gas is used for both arc the pressure of SF 6 which is needed for interruption de-
extinguishing and internal insulation. The external insulation pends on the magnitude of the current
is air. For current interruption the self-blast principle is used
an efficient operation can be achieved with a smaller oper-
which represents an optimised design to achieve a signifi-
ating mechanism due to lower energy consumption during
cant reduction in operating energy. The main advantages of
contact movement
employing SF 6 gas as interrupting medium with self-blast
principle can be summarised as follows: a gentle interruption of small inductive currents can be
obtained thus reducing the risk of chopping the arc and
the arc-voltage of the circuit-breaker is high enough to generating subsequent overvoltages
ensure current zeros in case of fault currents with delayed SF6 gas can be monitored
current zeros without the need of delaying the tripping

ABB | 9
The interrupting chamber of a generator circuit-breaker is depicted in
Figure 7. On the left side the terminal is visible. The contacts are oper-
ated by a shaft passing through the vertical support insulator.

The design of SF6 generator circuit-breakers consists of two separate


contact systems, one for current carrying and one for arc interruption
(Figure 8).

During the interruption process the current has to commutate from the
nominal contact system to the arcing contact system. This avoids wear
and erosion of the current carrying contacts and ensures trouble-free Figure 7: Interrupting chamber of a
current carrying even after a large number of operations. generator circuit-breaker

7 6 8 3 1
Arc Extinguishing Technology: a
Mode of operation of the interrupting chamber of the type HECS circuit-
breaker systems

a Circuit-breaker CLOSED

b Initiation of opening movement (transfer of current from the main contacts


to the arcing contacts)
5 4 2
c Separation of arcing contacts with interruption of small currents supported b
by puffer action

Separation of arcing contacts with interruption of large currents supported


by the thermal effect of the current arc itself to build up the pressure in the
heating volume

d Circuit-breaker OPEN

1 Terminals 5 Fixed main contacts


2 Cylindrical coil 6 Moving main contact
3 Fixed arcing contact 7 Puffer
4 Moving arcing contact 8 Heating volume

Figure 8: Contact systems of an


SF6 generator circuit-breaker and
description of a current interruption
procedure

10 | ABB
3.2 Hydraulic spring operating mechanism
The hydraulic spring operating mechanism combines the interlock prevents movement of the piston to the open posi-
advantages of a hydraulic operating mechanism with those of tion in case of a pressure drop.
a spring energy storage system (Figure 9). For the opening operation, the piston head side is isolated
Energy storage is accomplished with the aid of a disk spring from the high pressure and simultaneously connected to the
assembly, with the advantages of high long-term stability, reli- low pressure oil volume.
ability and non-influence of temperature changes. The charging state of the spring disk assembly is controlled
Tripping of the operating mechanism and energy output are by switching elements, actuating the pump motor to immedi-
based on proven design elements of the hydraulic operating ately maintain the oil pressure.
technique, such as control valves and hydraulic cylinders. A non-return valve between pump and high-pressure oil
The operating mechanism is based on the so-called differen- volume prevents pressure loss in the event of a pump outage.
tial piston principle. The hydraulic system is hermetically sealed against atmo-
For the closing operation the piston head side is isolated from sphere. The mechanically operated position indicator provides
the low pressure and simultaneously connected to the high reliable indication of the circuit-breaker position.
pressure oil volume. The drive operates all three circuit-breaker poles simultane-
As long as the pressure is maintained, the piston remains in ously by mechanical linkages, thus keeping the switching time
the closed position. A pressure controlled mechanical difference between the poles to a minimum.

a) b)

High pressure 1 Breaker operating rod


Low pressure 2 Energy storage device

Figure 9: Hydro-mechanical spring operating mechanism a) and its schematic diagram b)

3.3 SF6-gas density monitoring system


The breaking capacity of an SF6 circuit-breaker and the volume-density principle. The density of the gas in the circuit-
dielectric withstand level across its open contacts is depen- breaker chamber is compared with the density of the gas in
dent upon the density of the SF 6-gas. Under the condition of a sealed reference gas volume. When the gas density drops
constant volume the gas density is independent of the gas below the specified value, the density monitor signals the loss
temperature, while the pressure varies with the temperature. of SF6-gas in several steps.
It is therefore more practical to measure and use the gas Since the gas volumes of the three circuit-breaker poles are
density rather than the pressure for circuit-breaker supervision connected via the refilling pipe only one SF 6-gas density
purposes. monitor per circuit-breaker is required to supervise the gas
The density monitor operates according to the reference- density.

ABB | 11
3.4 Disconnector
The switchgear concept provides a disconnector fitted in lating air distance can be clearly seen through an inspection
series with the circuit-breaker. It is placed on the transformer- window. The moving contact is motor driven. A locking
side of the circuit-breaker and within the same enclosure. The feature prevents motor operation while the disconnector is
disconnector is a tubular telescopic unit and it is equipped being manually operated. A mechanically driven position
with a drive which operates through a mechanical linkage all indicator is provided in a visible position and a crank handle
three poles. This layout provides easy access and simplifies is provided for manual operation. The view of a disconnector
maintenance. In the open position of the disconnector the iso- being in the open position is depicted in Figure 10.

Figure 10: View of a disconnector in the open position

3.5 Earthing switch


The earthing switch can be provided on either one or both systems type HECS and HEC 7/8 up to 160 kA) or of tubular
sides of the system. The switch and its connections are telescopic type (for generator circuit-breaker systems type
designed for protective earthing purposes, i.e. it is rated for HEC 7/8 up to 210 kA) is depicted in Figure 11.
the full fault current but has no current making or continuous The earthing connection is made via the system enclosure.
carrying capacity. The moving contact is motor driven.
The design of blade type (for generator circuit-breaker

a) b)

Figure 11: Blade type a) and tubular telescopic type b) earthing switches

3.6 Starting switch (for gas turbine power plants)


A starting switch can be provided on the generator-side of of the machine from a static frequency converter (SFC). The
the system. It is designed for being employed for the start-up moving contact is motor driven.

12 | ABB
3.7 Short-circuiting connection
The short-circuiting connection helps to expedite the test- enclosure has to be removed to allow the fitting of the short-
ing and adjustment of the power plant protection system. It circuiting bar. In the latter case the short-circuiting link is used
can be provided manually mounted for the use between the in conjunction with the earthing switch installed on the
circuit-breaker and the disconnector of the system or motor generator-side of the circuit-breaker (for generator circuit-
operated. In the former case the cover of each phase breaker systems type HECS).

3.8 Current transformer 3.9 Voltage transformer


A ring core current transformer can be provided on either Single-phase voltage transformers can be provided on either
one or both sides of the circuit-breaker system (Figure 12). one or both sides of the circuit-breaker system. Up to three
Depending on the class up to three cores per current trans- voltage transformers can be fitted at each side and each volt-
former can be accommodated. The secondary windings are age transformer can be supplied with one or two secondary
permanently wired back to terminal blocks in the control windings, depending on the class and output power required
cubicle. (Figure 13). The secondary windings are permanently wired
back to terminal blocks in the control cubicle.

Figure 12: Ring core current transformer Figure 13: Single-phase voltage transformers

3.10 Ferroresonance damping device


In order to prevent the occurrence of ferroresonance ABB initiated by momentary saturation the core of the inductive
generator circuit-breaker systems are equipped with a element resulting from e.g. switching operations or other type
damping device installed in the open delta formed by the of events leading to an unbalance in the system.
tertiary windings of the three voltage transformers on the The insertion of a ferroresonance damping device in the open
transformer-side of the generator circuit-breaker (see Figure delta of the residual voltage windings (tertiary windings) of a
14 and Figure 15). set of voltage transformers is a very efficient solution for the
Ferroresonance is characterised by a periodic displacement damping of second subharmonic relaxation oscillations. This
of the potential of the system neutral in a three-phase system device basically consists of a saturable coil (damping coil)
with an isolated neutral. These so-called relaxation oscillations paralleled by a group of resistors with a relatively high resis-
are caused by discharging and recharging the capacitances tance. For power frequency voltages, i.e. in case of persistent
to ground via magnetising inductances of e.g. single-pole single-phase-to-ground faults, the saturable inductance works
insulated voltage transformers and the periodic repetition of in the linear range of the magnetising characteristic and car-
this process. The magnetic core is temporarily subjected to ries only a small current thus avoiding any thermal overloading
saturation during these phenomena. As a consequence of of the voltage transformer as well as of the inductance itself.
saturation high currents are flowing through the primary For second subharmonic voltages however the inductance
windings of the voltage transformers that heat up these saturates and absorbs active power sufficient to damp out the
windings and often lead to the destruction of the voltage relaxation oscillations. This power is dissipated in the resis-
transformer. In practice the ferroresonant oscillations may be tance associated with the damping coil.

ABB | 13
R S T R S T

Y-connection of the primary windings Y-connection of the primary windings

open delta connection of the tertiary Y-connection of the secondary


windings windings

DE 6
open delta connection of the tertiary
Earth Fault windings
Protection Relay
DE 6

Earth Fault
Protection Relay

Figure 14: Insertion of a ferroresonance damping device (DE6) in the Figure 15: Insertion of a ferroresonance damping device (DE6) in the
open delta of the residual voltage windings (tertiary windings) of a open delta of the residual voltage windings (tertiary windings) of a
set of voltage transformers (voltage transformer with one secondary set of voltage transformers (voltage transformer with two secondary
winding) windings)

3.11 Surge capacitor 3.12 Surge arrester


Surge capacitors are fitted on both sides of the generator Surge arresters can be fitted on the transformer-side of the
circuit-breaker system to provide additional protection against generator circuit-breaker system, to provide protection for
overvoltages and to support arc extinction in the circuit- the equipment connected to the generator busbar against
breaker by transient recovery voltage limitation (Figure 16). overvoltages. Metal-oxide surge arresters with silicon housing
The surge capacitors are used to reduce the rate-of-rise of are installed in ABB generator circuit-breaker systems (Figure
the transient recovery voltage from the very high prospec- 17). Metal-oxide surge arresters have a highly non-linear
tive values (and at the same time to increase the time delay resistance characteristic. At service voltage a predominantly
from the very low prospective values) to values the generator capacitive low current flows. Any voltage increase leads to a
circuit-breaker can cope with. The capacitors are therefore rapid increase of the current, thereby limiting any further rise
to be considered as an integral part of the generator circuit- in the voltage. When the voltage decreases, the condition
breaker. reverts to its essential non-conducting state.

Figure 16: Surge capacitor Figure 17: Metal-oxide surge arrester

14 | ABB
3.13 Connecting zone
The connecting zone is designed to provide a detachable ABB recommended type and arrangement of flexible copper
(bolted) connection between the generator circuit-breaker straps responds to these requirements as follows:
life parts and the conductors of the adjacent isolated phase
bus (IPB) or busduct. The main components of the connect- 1), 2) & 5) Fully type tested together with the generator circuit-
ing zone are depicted in Figure 18 and Figure 19. The flexible breaker to prove that the stringent requirements imposed by
connections shall be designed for: the relevant IEC and IEEE standards with regard to dielectric
strength, hottest spot temperature and mechanical stress are
1) carrying the rated continuous current and the rated short- fully met. The special shape easily adapts to different distances
time withstand current without exceeding the maximum between terminals ensuring that dielectric strength require-
permissible temperatures ments are always met.

2) ensuring that the dielectric strength requirements are met 3), 4) & 5) Flexible type employing laminates with pressure-
welded contact ends designed and tested for high mechanical
3) compensating expansion and contraction of the conductor stress.
due to temperature changes
6) Silver plated contact ends with high requirements on
4) compensating vibrations and withstanding the stress contact surface evenness and material properties.
caused during switching operations

5) withstanding the mechanical stress resulting from electro-


dynamic forces in case of short-circuit currents

6) providing a low resistance, safe and stable electrical


connection a)

a) Flexible copper straps b)


b) Fastening and securing bolts & nuts
c) Terminal with silvered contact surfaces
for welded connection to the conductor c)
of the IPB or busduct
d) Support ring for withstanding the
d)
mechanical stress and to reduce the
contraction of the connectors resulting
from electro-dynamic forces in case of
short-circuit currents

Figure 18: Main components of the connecting zone

Figure 19: Connection between one pole of a generator circuit-


breaker and the associated phase bus

ABB | 15
3.14 Phase enclosure
The magnetic field in the neighborhood of the connection be- capable of carrying the induced return current thus minimising
tween generator and transformer may have adverse effects on the impact of the magnetic field. In order to avoid pollution
equipment and building steel if the current exceeds a certain due to ingress of dust and moisture, the generator switchgear
value. The values of magnetic fields outside of the generator enclosure is designed to allow air tightness and to withstand a
circuit-breaker housing could induce voltages and currents slight internal overpressure.
which in turn might produce undesired heating effects. Inspection windows are provided in the phase enclosures near
For this reason, and to avoid electromagnetic forces between to the disconnector, earthing switch and starting switch, to
the current-carrying busbars the generator circuit-breaker allow visually checking of the position of each of them.
system is designed for welded connections to the isolated Occasionally, the busbars in power plants are not enclosed
phase bus enclosures. and in general, effects of magnetic fields for small generator
Each single phase enclosure is made of aluminium and continuous current is usually of no concern.

3.15 Control and supervision


All control and supervisory apparatuses are mounted in the
control cubicle. An active mimic diagram is provided with
position indications and the integrated local control of the
circuit-breaker and all other switching apparatuses. In the
control cubicle there is also installed equipment for local/
remote changeover facilities and counters for CO operations
of the circuit-breaker and pump starts of the circuit-breaker
drive.

16 | ABB
4 Standard for generator circuit-breakers

IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) IEEE Standard for AC High-Voltage


Generator Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis covers
the requirements applicable for generator circuit-breakers [1]. It is the
only standard worldwide specifically relating to generator circuit-breakers.
Therefore generator circuit-breakers have to be designed and tested in
accordance with [1] and its amendment IEEE Std C37.013a-2007 IEEE
Standard for AC High Voltage Generator Circuit Breakers Rated on a
Symmetrical Current Basis - Amendment 1: Supplement for Use with
Generators Rated 10100 MVA [2]. Since no other national or inter-
national standard on generator circuit-breakers exists, this standard is
used worldwide. Specifically, IEC publication 62271-100 High-voltage
switchgear and controlgear Part 100: Alternating-current circuit-break-
ers does not apply to generator circuit-breakers as it explicitly excludes
generator circuit-breakers from its scope [3]. Circuit-breakers that have
been designed and tested in accordance with IEC 62271-100 do not
meet the stringent requirements imposed on generator circuit-breakers
and therefore are not suitable for the use as generator circuit-breakers. The stresses imposed on generator circuit-
Contrary to general purpose circuit-breakers covered by IEC 62271-100 breakers differ from the stresses imposed on gen-
generator circuit-breakers have two fault ratings, i.e. the system-source eral purpose circuit-breakers mainly in the following
short-circuit current interrupting capability (in case of a fault between the respects:
circuit-breaker and the generator) and the generator-source short-circuit
current interrupting capability (in case of a fault between the circuit- 1. The degree of asymmetry of the system-source
breaker and the transformer). short-circuit current is in the order of 60% to 80%.

2. The degree of asymmetry of the generator-


source short-circuit current is in the order of 90%
to 150%, i.e. the generator-source short-circuit
current may exhibit delayed current zeros (degree
of asymmetry > 100%).

3. The rate-of-rise of the transient recovery voltage


Description of Test Standard Clause after the interruption of a system-source short-
Rated continuous current carrying tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.1 circuit current may be as high as 6.0 kV/s.
Rated dielectric strength IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.2
Short-time current-carrying capability IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.3 4. The rate-of-rise of the transient recovery voltage
Short-circuit current rating IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.3 after the interruption of a generator-source short-
Rated transient recovery voltage IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.4 circuit current may be as high as 2.2 kV/s and the
Rated standard operating duty IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.5 corresponding time delay may be extremely short
Rated interrupting time IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.6 (< 0.5 s).
Short-circuit current with delayed current zeros IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.7
Load current switching tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.8 The test quantities given in IEC 62271-100 for the
Out-of-phase current switching tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.9 short-circuit tests do not adequately cover the
Mechanical endurance life IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.10 above requirements. The only standard which cov-
Excitation current switching tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.11 ers the requirements for generator circuit-breakers
Sound level tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.12 is IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008). This standard
EMC tests IEEE Std C37.013 Cl. 6.2.13 in particular covers the requirements imposed
TABLE I: LIST OF TYPE TESTS FOR GENERATOR CIRCUIT-BREAKERS ACCORDING TO on generator circuit-breakers regarding the d.c.
IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) component and the degree of asymmetry of the
fault currents (including the case of fault currents
with delayed current zeros) and the characteristics
of the transient recovery voltages (rate-of-rise, time
delay and peak value).
In order to cover the stringent requirements which
are imposed on generator circuit-breakers the type
tests listed in Table I have to be performed on
generator circuit-breakers in accordance with IEEE
Std C37.013-1997 (R2008).

ABB | 17
5 Selection of generator circuit-breakers

5.1 Duties of generator circuit-breakers


The main duties of a generator circuit-breaker are as follows:
synchronise the generator with the main system
separate the generator from the main system (switching off
the unloaded/lightly loaded generator)
carry and interrupt load currents (up to the full load current
of the generator)
interrupt system-source short-circuit currents
interrupt generator-source short-circuit currents
interrupt fault currents due to out-of-phase conditions up to
out-of-phase angles of 180

5.2 Requirements for generator circuit-breakers


The requirements imposed on generator circuit-breakers
greatly differentiate from the requirements imposed on general
purpose transmission and distribution circuit-breakers.
Due to the location of installation of a generator circuit-
breaker high technical requirements are imposed on the
circuit-breaker with respect to:
rated current
short-circuit currents (system-source and generator-source)
fault currents due to out-of-phase conditions
degree of asymmetry of fault currents, fault currents with
delayed current zeros
rate-of-rise of the recovery voltages
Circuit-breakers are only capable of providing satisfactory
service when they are capable of fully meeting these require-
ments.
Specifications must therefore fully reflect the technical and
reliability requirements and equipment, confirming to such
specifications, must be designed and tested in full accor-
dance with recognized and relevant standards.

5.3 Selection of generator circuit-breakers


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the ratings and
required capabilities of a generator circuit-breaker are the fol-
lowing ones:
rated maximum voltage
power frequency
rated continuous current
rated dielectric strength
rated short-circuit duty cycle
rated interrupting time
rated closing time
short-circuit current rating
transient recovery voltage rating
rated load current switching capability
capacitance current switching capability
out-of-phase current switching capability
excitation current switching capability
rated control voltage
rated mechanism fluid operating pressure

18 | ABB
5.3.1 Rated maximum voltage 5.3.2 Power frequency
The rated maximum voltage is the generator circuit-breakers The rated frequency for generator circuit-breakers is 50 Hz or
upper limit for operation and it is selected so that it is higher 60 Hz, depending on the system power frequency in which
than or equal to the maximum operating voltage of the the generator circuit-breaker is installed.
generator.

5.3.3 Rated continuous current


The rated continuous current of a generator circuit-breaker The current carrying capability of a generator circuit-breaker
is the designated upper limit of current in r.m.s. amperes at depends on the operating condition at the specific location.
power frequency, which it shall be required to carry continu- When assessing the current carrying capability of a generator
ously without exceeding any of the limitations designated circuit-breaker special attention shall be paid to the following
in IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008). Due to their installation items:
location generator circuit-breakers have to be able to carry power frequency
continuously load currents of very high magnitude. These
design temperature of the isolated phase bus to which the
currents place a severe stress on the conductors, connec-
terminals of the generator circuit-breaker are connected
tions and contacts. In order to guarantee that the switches
(normally these temperatures are 105 C (or 90 C) for main
have a high degree of reliability and a long service life, they
conductor and 80 C (or 70 C) for enclosure)
must be so designed that limits for temperature increase are
ambient temperature
not exceeded. In order to make optimal use of the conductor
material employed in the circuit-breaker, the power losses installation location (indoor or outdoor)
have to be minimized and the transfer of heat from the colour of the enclosure of the generator circuit-breaker
conductor path to the environment must be intensified.
The maximum value of load current which the circuit-breaker In special cases the isolated phase bus is equipped with its
shall be able to carry continuously can be calculated by using own forced cooling system. In such a case also the technical
the following formula: parameters of this cooling system shall be taken into account
in the assessment of the current carrying capability of the
generator circuit-breaker.
In Figure 20 the current carrying capability of the generator
circuit-breaker type HECS-100L is displayed.

Sn
I max =
3 Vmin

I max is the maximum r.m.s. value of the current which the Sn is the rated power of the generator
generator circuit-breaker shall be able to carry V min is the minimum operating voltage of the generator
continuously

20000

19000

18000
indoor outdoor (RAL 9010)
17000
Current (Arms)

16000

15000

14000

13000

12000

11000
-25.0 -20.0 -15.0 -10.0 -5.0 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 40.0 45.0 50.0
Ambient Temperature (C)

Figure 20: Current carrying capability curves for generator circuit-breaker type HECS-100L operating at a power frequency of 50 Hz and
isolated phase bus temperatures of 90 C / 70 C (conductor / enclosure respectively)

ABB | 19
5.3.4 Rated dielectric strength 5.3.5 Rated short-circuit duty cycle
The rated dielectric strength of a generator circuit-breaker The rated short-circuit duty cycle of a generator circuit-
is selected in accordance with the Table II depending on its breaker is two unit operations with a 30 min interval between
rated maximum voltage. operations (CO30 minCO) [1].

Rated maximum Power frequency Lightning impulse


voltage withstand voltage withstand voltage
[kVrms] [kVrms] [kV peak]
5 20 60
8.25 28 75
8.25 / 15 38 95
15.5 50 110
27 60 125
38 80 150
TABLE II: RATED DIELECTRIC STRENGTH OF GENERATOR CIRCUIT-BREAKERS IN
ACCORDANCE WITH IEEE Std C37.013a-2007

5.3.6 Rated interrupting time 5.3.7 Rated closing time


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the rated inter- According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the rated
rupting time of the generator circuit-breaker is the maximum closing time of the generator circuit-breaker is the interval
permissible interval between the energizing of the trip circuit between energizing of the close circuit at rated control voltage
at rated control voltage and rated fluid pressure of the operat- and rated fluid pressure of the operating mechanism and the
ing mechanism and the interruption of the main circuit in all closing of the main circuit.
poles on an opening operation.
A typical interrupting time for ABB generator circuit-breakers
is about 3 cycles.
The interrupting time is the sum of the opening time (i.e. the
time interval between the energizing of the opening circuit and
the mechanical separation of the arcing contacts) and the arcing
time (i.e. the time interval between the contact separation in
the first pole and the final arc extinction in all poles).

5.3.8 Short-circuit current rating

5.3.8.1 System-source short-circuit current


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the system- circuit-breaker is required to interrupt at the rated maximum
source short-circuit current of a generator circuit-breaker voltage and rated duty cycle when the source of the short-
is the highest r.m.s. value of the symmetrical component of circuit current is from the power system through at least one
the three-phase short-circuit current. It is measured from the transformation.
envelope of the current wave at the instant of primary The a.c. component of the system-source short-circuit current
arcing contact separation and is the current that the generator can be calculated by using the following formula:

Vmax
I ac =
3 X eq

I ac is the a.c. component of the fault current Vmax is the maximum r.m.s. value of the applied voltage
X eq is the equivalent reactance of the circuit referred to prior to fault (it can generally be considered equal to
the LV-side of the step-up transformer the maximum service voltage of the HV-system re-
ferred to the LV-side of the step-up transformer)

20 | ABB
The required asymmetrical system-source interrupting capa- equal to the sum of 1/2 cycle (protection system tripping
bility of a generator circuit-breaker is composed of the r.m.s. delay) plus the minimum opening time of the particular
symmetrical current and the percentage d.c. component. The generator circuit-breaker.
values of the d.c. component are expressed in percent of the The standard value for the time constant of the decay of the
peak value of the symmetrical short-circuit current and are d.c. component is 133 ms. For time constants different than
measured at the primary arcing contact parting time. The pri- 133 ms, the following formula can be used:
mary arcing contact parting time can be generally considered

t cp

Idc = 2 Iac e

I dc is the d.c. component of the fault current tcp is the primary arcing contact parting time
Iac is the a.c. component of the fault current is the time constant of the decay of the d.c.
component and it can be calculated by using the fol
lowing formula:

X eq
=
Req

Xeq is the equivalent reactance of the circuit referred to Req is the is the equivalent resistance of the circuit
the LV-side of the step-up transformer referred to the LV-side of the step-up transformer
is equal to 2 f with f being the power frequency

When the fault current is asymmetrical it is characterized by a


degree of asymmetry which is defined as follows:

I dc
a=
2 I ac

a is the degree of asymmetry.

The typical course of the system-source short-circuit current nent of the fault current is usually constant. Its value depends
and of its degree of asymmetry are shown in Figure 21 and on the opening time of the circuit-breaker and on the relay
Figure 22, respectively. It is understood that the degree of time of the protection system and it assumes a typical value
asymmetry of the system-source short-circuit current is gen- of 75% at the primary arcing contact parting time.
erally monotonically decreasing with time as the a.c. compo-

100.0
2
90.0

1.5 80.0
2 Iac 70.0
Degree of asymmetry (%)

1
60.0
Current (pu)

0.5 50.0
Idc
40.0
0
t cp 30.0

20.0
-0.5
10.0

-1 0.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Time (ms) Time (ms)

Figure 21: Prospective system-source short-circuit current Figure 22: Degree of asymmetry of the system-source short-circuit
current

ABB | 21
The system-source short-circuit current is generally fed by the
HV-system and by the motors connected to the LV-side of the HV-System

unit auxiliary transformer (see Figure 23). The a.c. component


of the system-source short-circuit current for the power plant
layout depicted in Figure 23 can be calculated by using the
Step-Up
following formula: Transformer

Generator
Unit Auxiliary Circuit-Breaker
Transformer

Figure 23: (right side) Typical power plant layout with a step-up
Motors M G Generator
transformer and a unit auxiliary transformer

Vmax 1 1
I ac = +
3 (X sys + X GSUT ) I rM VrM2 V AUXT _ HV
2

+ X AUXT
I LR SrM V AUXT _ LV

Vmax is the maximum r.m.s. value of the applied voltage SrM is the rated apparent power of the motors connected
prior to fault (it can be considered equal to the to the LV-side of the unit auxiliary transformer
maximum service voltage of the HV-system referred I LR / IrM is the ratio of the locked-rotor current to the rated
to the LV-side of the step-up transformer) current of the motor
X sys is the equivalent reactance of the HV-system referred XAUXT is the short-circuit reactance of the unit auxiliary
to the LV-side of the step-up transformer transformer referred to the HV-side of the unit
X GSUT is the short-circuit reactance of the step-up auxiliary transformer
transformer referred to the LV-side of the step-up VAUXT_HV
transformer is the transformation ratio of the unit auxiliary
VAUXT_LV
VrM is the rated voltage of the motors connected to the transformer
LV-side of the unit auxiliary transformer

The d.c. component of the system-source short-circuit current for the power plant layout depicted in Figure 23 can be
calculated by using the following formula:

t cp t cp

( )
I dc tcp = 2
Vmax

1 sys + GSUT
e +
1 M + AUXT
e
3 (X sys + X GSUT ) I rM VrM 2 VAUXT _ HV
2

+ X AUXT
I LR SrM VAUXT _ LV

2
I rM VrM 2 V AUXT _ HV
+ X AUXT

sys + GSUT =
(X sys + X GSUT ) M + AUXT =
I LR SrM V AUXT _ LV

(R sys + RGSUT)
2
R M I rM VrM 2 V AUXT _ HV
+ RAUXT
X M I LR SrM V AUXT _ LV

Rsys the equivalent resistance of the HV-system referred RAUXT the resistive component of the short-circuit
to the LV-side of the step-up transformer impedance of the unit auxiliary transformer referred
R GSUT the resistive component of the short-circuit to the HV-side of the unit auxiliary transformer
impedance of the step-up transformer referred to the is equal to 2 f with f being the power frequency
LV-side of the step-up transformer
XM / RM the X/R ratio of the motors connected to the LV-side
of the unit auxiliary transformer

22 | ABB
The degree of asymmetry of the fault current measured at the
contact parting time is:

( )
a tcp =
( )
Idc tcp
2 Iac

In some cases a three-winding transformer is used to connect


two generators to the HV-system (see Figure 24). In this case HV-System

the system-source short-circuit current has three contribu-


tions, i.e. it is fed by the HV-system, by the motors connected
to the LV-side of the unit auxiliary transformer and by the Step-Up
other generator through the step-up transformer. Special Transformer

attention shall be paid to this scheme because the degree of


asymmetry of the system-source short-circuit current can be Generator
Circuit-Breakers Unit Auxiliary
very high depending on the reactances and time constants of Transformer

the generator. In some cases the current wave-shape might


G G M
show delayed current zeros (i.e. degree of asymmetry higher
Generator Generator Motors
than 100%).
Figure 24: Power plant layout with a three-winding step-up
transformer and a two-winding unit auxiliary transformer

5.3.8.2 Generator-source short-circuit current


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the generator- is entirely from a generator through no transformations. The
source short-circuit current of a generator circuit-breaker generator-source symmetrical short-circuit current is usually
is the highest r.m.s. value of the symmetrical component of lower than the system-source symmetrical short-circuit
the three-phase short-circuit current. It is measured from current.
the envelope of the current wave at the instant of primary
arcing contact separation that the generator circuit-breaker The generator-source symmetrical short-circuit current can be
shall be required to interrupt, at rated maximum voltage and calculated using the following simplified formula for no-load
rated duty cycle when the source of the short-circuit current conditions:

VmG SrG 1 1 1 1 1
I gen sym = 2
et ''d + et 'd +
3 VrG x''d x'd x'd x d xd

Igen sym is the a.c. component of the generator-source short- x'd is the pu value of the direct-axis transient reactance
circuit current x" d is the pu value of the direct-axis subtransient
V mG is the maximum generator line-to-line voltage reactance
S rG is the rated power of the generator ' d is the direct-axis transient short-circuit time constant
V rG is the rated voltage of the generator " d is the direct-axis subtransient short-circuit time
xd is the pu value of the direct-axis synchronous constant
reactance

If the fault initiation takes place when the voltage in one phase constants of the generator; the d.c. component decays with
passes through zero the resulting fault current in that phase the armature time constant a. The armature time constant
exhibits the maximum degree of asymmetry. The a.c. compo- can be calculated with the following formula:
nent decays with the subtransient and transient time

X2
a =
2 f R a

a is the armature time constant f is the power frequency


X2 is the negative-sequence reactance of the generator Ra is the d.c. armature resistance

ABB | 23
The value of X2 can be approximated by:

X ''d + X ''q
X2 =
2

X"d is the direct-axis subtransient reactance of the Xq is the quadrature-axis subtransient reactance of the
generator generator

The generator-source asymmetrical short-circuit current for the phase with the highest asymmetry, the generator being in the
no-load mode, can be calculated by the following simplified formula:

2 VmG SrG 1 1 1 1 t 'd 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


I gen asym = e t ''d + e + cos ( t ) + e t a + e t a cos (2 t)
3 VrG2 x''d x'd x'd xd xd 2 x''d x''q 2 x''d x''q

is equal to 2 f with f being the power frequency xq is the quadrature-axis subtransient reactance in pu

Since x" d is approximately equal to x"q for turbo generators, the equation can be written as follows:

2 VmG SrG 1 1 1 1 t 'd 1 1


I gen asym = e t ''d + e + cos ( t ) e t a
3 VrG2 x''d x'd x'd xd xd x''d

If the a.c. component of the fault current decays faster than asymmetry of the fault current is higher than 100% thus lead-
the d.c. component, it can happen that for a certain period of ing to delayed current zeros. The typical course of the degree
time following the initiation of the fault the magnitude of the of asymmetry of the generator-source short-circuit current is
d.c. component of the fault current is bigger than the peak shown in Figure 25.
value of its a.c. component. In such a case the degree of

150
Degree of Asymmetrie [%]

100

50

0
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14
time [s]

Figure 25: Typical course of the degree of asymmetry of the


generator-source short-circuit current

24 | ABB
In addition the a.c. component of the generator-source short- circuit current and typically shows a degree of asymmetry
circuit current and its degree of asymmetry can vary if the measured at the primary arcing contact parting times are in
generator is unloaded or delivering power with lagging power the order of 130% (see Figure 25). Special attention should
factor (i.e. working in the over-excited mode) or leading power be paid if the generator is loaded with leading power factor
factor (i.e. working in the under-excited mode) prior to fault. before fault initiation. In such a case the degree of asymmetry
Typical fault current wave-shapes are depicted in of the fault current can reach very high values and exceed
Figures 26, 27 and 28. 130%.
The magnitude of the a.c. component of the fault current In order to accurately simulate the behaviour of the genera-
which is fed by the generator is typically about 80% of the tor in case it is loaded prior to fault computer simulations are
magnitude of the a.c. component of the system-source short- necessary.

250.0 250.0
[kA ] [kA ]
187.5 187.5

125.0 125.0

62.5 62.5

0.0 0.0

-62.5 -62.5

-125.0 -125.0

-187.5 -187.5

-250.0 -250.0
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 26: Prospective generator-source short-circuit current Figure 27: Prospective generator-source short-circuit current
(generator unloaded prior to fault initiation) - fault initiation at UA = 0 (generator delivering power with lagging power factor prior to fault
initiation) - fault initiation at UA = 0

250.0
[kA ]
187.5

125.0

62.5

0.0

-62.5

-125.0

-187.5

-250.0
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 28: Prospective generator-source short-circuit current


(generator delivering power with leading power factor prior to fault
initiation) - fault initiation at UA = 0

Additional resistance in series with the armature resistance In case of a short-circuit current with delayed current zeros
forces the d.c. component of the short-circuit current to the capability of a circuit-breaker to interrupt a given short-
decay faster. Such additional resistance may be the connec- circuit current can be considered as being demonstrated if
tion from the generator to the fault location, but especially the generator circuit-breaker is capable of forcing the current
the circuit-breaker arc resistance after contact separation. If to zero within the time interval in which it is able to interrupt a
there is an arc at the fault location, this arc resistance further current (i.e. within the maximum permissible arcing time).
reduces the time constant of the d.c. component from the According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) demonstrating
initiation of the fault. The values of these additional series the capability of a generator circuit-breaker to interrupt short-
resistances are normally high enough to force a fast decay of circuit currents with delayed current zeros may be difficult and
the d.c. component of the short-circuit current so that current limited in high power testing stations. Since various designs
zeros are produced.

ABB | 25
of generators behave differently, it may not be possible to The arc-voltage of a circuit-breaker depends on the instanta-
simulate the required current shape in the testing station. neous value of the current and on the type of the extinguish-
Therefore the capability of a circuit-breaker to interrupt a ing medium, its pressure, the intensity of its flow and the
short-circuit current with delayed current zeros can be ascer- length of the arc. The uarc-i characteristic of one break of the
tained by calculations that take into account the effect of the circuit-breaker has to be derived from short-circuit current
arc-voltage of the circuit-breaker on the prospective short- interrupting tests. To be able to investigate the behaviour
circuit current. The arc-voltage model used for this purpose has of the circuit-breaker during the interruption of short-circuit
to be derived from tests (IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008), currents with delayed current zeros the arc-voltage versus
Clause 6.2.7). The technical data of the actual generator shall current characteristic has to be transferred into a mathematical
be used for these computations. model. From the arc-voltage u arc(i,t) and the current i(t) the
arc resistance Rarc(i,t) can be obtained. In order to model the
According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008), Clause behaviour of the SF6 circuit-breaker a non-linear time-varying
7.3.5.3.5.3 the following two cases shall be investigated: resistance of the value R arc(i,t) has to be inserted into the
simulation at the time of the separation of the contacts of the
1) Generator at no-load with the generator circuit-breaker circuit-breaker.
closing into a three-phase fault. In the computation the arc-
voltage of the generator circuit-breaker starting at contact Figures 29 to 32 show examples of the corresponding cal-
separation shall be taken into account. culation results. Figures 29 and 30 represent the case of the
generator being under no-load condition with the generator
2) Generator in service with leading power factor. An arcing circuit-breaker closing into a three-phase fault. In the compu-
fault is assumed in at least two phases. In the computation tation the arc-voltage of the generator circuit-breaker starting
the arc-voltage at the fault location starting at the initiation of at contact separation is taken into account. Figure 29 repre-
the fault and the arc-voltage of the generator circuit-breaker sents the case with fault initiation at voltage zero and Figure
starting at contact separation shall be taken into account. 30 represents the case with fault initiation at voltage maxi-
mum in one phase. Figures 31 and 32 represent the case of
Further the following two situations shall be considered for a the generator being in service with a leading power factor. In
particular generator-source short-circuit current in case of a the computation the arc-voltage at the fault location starting
three-phase fault (IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008), Clause at the initiation of the fault and the arc-voltage of the genera-
6.2.7.2): tor circuit-breaker starting at contact separation is taken into
account. Figure 31 represents the case with fault initiation
1) Fault initiation at voltage zero in one phase which implies at voltage zero and Figure 32 represents the case with fault
that the current in the corresponding phase exhibits the initiation at voltage maximum in one phase.
maximum degree of asymmetry. As the maximum calculated arcing time (i.e. 20.9 ms, see
Figure 29) is shorter than the maximum arcing time of the
2) Fault initiation at voltage maximum in one phase which generator circuit-breaker of concern it can be concluded that
implies that the current in the corresponding phase is the circuit-breaker is capable of interrupting these fault
symmetrical. currents showing delayed current zeros.

250.0 250.0
[kA ] [kA ]
187.5 187.5

125.0 125.0

62.5 62.5

0.0 0.0

-62.5 -62.5

-125.0 -125.0

-187.5 -187.5

t cp t cp
-250.0 -250.0
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 29: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with a Figure 30: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with a
SF 6 generator circuit-breaker SF6 generator circuit-breaker
generator unloaded prior to fault initiation generator unloaded prior to fault initiation
fault initiation at UA = 0 fault initiation at UA = max
contact parting time tcp = 39 ms contact parting time tcp = 39 ms
arcing time = 20.9 ms arcing time = 20.7 ms

26 | ABB
250.0 250.0
[kA ] [kA ]
187.5 187.5

125.0 125.0

62.5 62.5

0.0 0.0

-62.5 -62.5

-125.0 -125.0

-187.5 -187.5

t cp t cp
-250.0 -250.0
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 31: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with a Figure 32: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with a
SF 6 generator circuit-breaker SF6 generator circuit-breaker
generator delivering power with leading power factor prior to fault generator delivering power with leading power factor prior to fault
initiation initiation
fault initiation at UA = 0 fault initiation at UA = max
contact parting time tcp = 39 ms contact parting time tcp = 39 ms
arcing time = 18.2 ms arcing time = 18.6 ms

In some cases the arc-voltage of the generator circuit-breaker is not recommendable because the longer fault arcing time
is not high enough to force current zeros within the maximum might lead to severe damages to power plant equipment with
permissible arcing time of the circuit-breaker (this can hap- consequent long downtime for repair. A better approach con-
pen for example if a vacuum interrupter is employed as a sists in choosing a generator circuit-breaker which is proven
generator circuit-breaker). In such a case a solution which to be able to interrupt the fault current without the aid of any
is sometimes adopted is to delay the tripping signal to the intentional tripping delay.
generator circuit-breaker. It has to be noted that this solution

5.3.8.3 Required closing, latching, and carrying


capabilities
The short-circuit current into which the generator circuit- a) Closing and latching any power frequency-making current
breaker must close is determined by the higher value of either (50 Hz or 60 Hz) whose maximum crest (peak making current)
the system-source short-circuit current or the generator- does not exceed 2.74 times the rated symmetrical short-
source short-circuit current. In the majority of applications the circuit current or the maximum crest (peak making current) of
system-source short-circuit current is higher than the the generator-source short-circuit current, whichever is higher.
generator-source short-circuit current.
According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the generator b) Carrying the short-circuit current for a time of 0.25 s.
circuit-breaker shall be capable of the following:

5.3.8.4 Required short-time current-carrying capability


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the generator mined from the envelope of the current wave, at the time of
circuit-breaker shall be capable of carrying for a time equal to the maximum peak, and whose r.m.s. value determined over
1 s, any short-circuit current, whose peak value does not the complete 1s period, does not exceed the rated short-
exceed 2.74 times the rated short-circuit current, as deter- circuit current considered above.

5.3.9 Transient recovery voltage rating


The transient recovery voltage is the voltage appearing across of the generator and of the associated step-up transformer
the open contacts of the generator circuit-breaker dictate the wave-shape of the inherent TRV for various duties.
immediately after current interruption. The characteristics

ABB | 27
A three-phase fault is the most severe case and gives the The TRV shall be calculated after the interruption of a sym-
maximum short-circuit current and the maximum TRV rate. metrical current as any asymmetry in the current wave-shape
The neutral of the generator is not solidly grounded, thus the would lead to a less severe TRV. At the interruption of the
phase-to-ground fault current is not significant. short-circuit current with maximum asymmetry, the transient
The typical power plant layout is shown in Figure 23, where oscillation of the recovery voltage will be very small or even
the generator and the step-up transformer have essentially non-existent since at the moment of short-circuit current
the same rating. For TRV calculations the contribution of interruption, the normal frequency voltage value may be very
auxiliary transformer to the fault current can be neglected as it small or zero.
is a minor source of short-circuit current.

5.3.9.1 First-pole-to-clear factor


When interrupting any symmetrical three-phase current the occurring across the pole or the poles after interruption in all
first-pole-to-clear factor kpp is the ratio of the power frequency three poles [3]. Standard value for generator circuit-breakers
voltage across the first interrupting pole before current inter- is 1.5. The first-pole-to-clear factor can be calculated by
ruption in the other poles, to the power frequency voltage using the following formula:

3 Z0
k pp =
2 Z 0 + Z1

kpp is the first-pole-to-clear factor Z1 is the equivalent positive-sequence impedance of the


Z0 is the equivalent zero-sequence impedance of the three-phase circuit
three-phase circuit

In practical applications the step-up transformer is Ynd The zero-sequence impedance of such a system is much
connected and the star point of the stator winding of the higher than Z1 thus leading to
generator is usually grounded via a high resistance.

3Z0 3Z0
k pp = = 1.5
2 Z 0 + Z1 2 Z0

5.3.9.2 Amplitude factor


The amplitude factor kaf is ratio between the maximum Standard value for generator circuit-breakers is 1.5 without
excursion of the transient recovery voltage to the peak value considering any capacitance connected at the terminals of the
of the power frequency recovery voltage [3]. generator circuit-breaker.

5.3.9.3 Power frequency recovery voltage


The power frequency recovery voltage is the recovery voltage higher then the power frequency voltage. The second and
after the transient voltage phenomena have subsided [3]. third poles clear the current at the same time and the power
The magnitude of the power frequency recovery voltage which frequency recovery voltage which is imposed on each of them
is imposed on the first pole which clears the current is 1.5 is 3/2 times the power frequency voltage.

28 | ABB
5.3.9.4 Rated inherent transient recovery voltage
The rated inherent transient recovery voltage is the reference voltage that a) one line starts at the origin of time axis and is
constitutes the limit of the inherent transient recovery voltage of circuits tangent to the TRV curve with a slope equal to the
that the generator circuit-breaker shall be capable of withstanding under TRV rate-of-rise
fault conditions and shall be defined by an oscillatory wave-shape having
a TRV rate-of-rise, time delay (td) and peak voltage (E2) [1]. b) one line is horizontal and is tangent to the TRV
The waveform of transient recovery voltages approximates to a damped curve at the time of TRV peak T2.
oscillation.
c) one line starts on the time axis at the rated time
The TRV curve is bounded by three lines: delay (t d) and runs parallel to the first reference line

An example of a transient recovery voltage wave-shape is depicted in


Figure 33

E2 T2 is the time to reach the peak voltage E 2


E2 is the peak value of the TRV
TRV rate-of-rise TRV t3 is the intersection point of the tangent to
the transient recovery voltage which starts
at the origin of the time axis and to the
horizontal tangent to the TRV curve at the
time of TRV peak T 2

td t3 T2

Figure 33: Inherent TRV curve for first-pole-to-clear for required symmetrical
interrupting capability for three-phase faults

The standard value of E2 can be calculated with following


formula:

2
E2 = V k af k pp = 1.84 V
3

V is the rated maximum voltage of the generator


circuit-breaker.

The rated TRV is the inherent value assuming an ideal generator circuit- it decreases the oscillation frequency and the
breaker. These values may be modified by the generator circuit-breaker RRRV of the TRV
characteristics or by the asymmetry of the current. it increases the time delay of the TRV
A system with a TRV that exceeds the rated values of the generator
it increases the peak value of the TRV
circuit-breaker must be modified in such a way as to lower the TRV. This
is generally achieved by connecting capacitors phase-to-ground on both If the circuit-breaker requires that the inherent TRV
sides of the generator circuit-breaker. be modified by the addition of capacitors, then the
The additional capacitance has three effects: amount of equivalent capacitance required has to
be given in the test report and on the nameplate [1].

ABB | 29
5.3.9.5 System-source faults
For system-source faults the maximum value of short-circuit current is r.m.s. value of the symmetrical short-circuit current
obtained for a given transformer when Xsys is minimum or assumed to until the second and third poles open. The voltage
be zero. It is assumed that the contribution of the auxiliary system to drop in the transformer is equal to the total power
the fault current is negligible. The natural frequency of the transformer is frequency recovery voltage for
much higher than the natural frequency of the HV-system. The TRV first X sys = 0. Therefore, the TRV rate is maximum when
oscillates at the prospective value of 1.5 2 XGSUT Iac, where Iac is the the short-circuit current is maximum [1].

5.3.9.6 Generator-source faults


For generator-source faults the short-circuit current is generally lower at the LV-side of the step-up transformer. The TRV
than for system-source faults because of the higher reactance of the results from transformer and generator voltage
generator windings. Although the short-circuit current is lower for oscillations. The magnitude of each oscillation is
generator-source faults than for system-source faults, generator-source approximately proportional to the transformer and
faults cannot be ignored because of the short time delay specified in generator reactances, respectively. This fault loca-
IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008). tion can usually be ignored because the resulting
For a generator-source fed fault occurring at the HV-side of the step-up stresses on the generator circuit-breaker are much
transformer the short-circuit current is lower when compared to a fault lower than for faults occurring at the LV-side of the
step-up transformer [1].

5.3.9.7 Calculation of TRV in case of terminal faults


TRV calculations need to be performed with computer simulations which respectively the values of equivalent resistance, in-
allow to model power plant equipment with distributed parameters. ductance and capacitance to ground of the circuit
Anyway a simplified single-phase circuit for calculating the TRV in case for assessing the TRV across the first pole to clear
of interruption of terminal fault currents is depicted in Figure 34 where (lumped parameters).
V eq is the r.m.s. value of the voltage source and Req, Leq and Ceq are

R eq L eq GCB

Veq Ceq

Figure 34: Single-phase circuit for TRV calculation in case of terminal


faults

Veq can be calculated by using the following expression:

3 Z0
Veq = Vmax 1.5 Vmax
2 Z 0 + Z1

Vmax is the maximum r.m.s. value of the applied in case of system-source short-circuit currents and
voltage prior to fault (it can generally be considered generator-source short-circuit currents, respectively)
equal to the maximum phase-to-ground service Z0 is the equivalent zero-sequence impedance of the
voltage of the HV-system referred to the LV-side three-phase circuit
of the step-up transformer and to the maximum Z1 is the equivalent positive-sequence impedance of the
phase-to-ground operating voltage of the generator three-phase circuit

30 | ABB
Leq can be considered equal to 1.5 L1 where L1 is the equiva- is the positive-sequence resistance of the three-phase circuit.
lent positive-sequence inductance of the three-phase circuit.
Following the same procedure Req is equal to 1.5 R1 where R1 Ceq can be calculated by using the following expression:

C0 + 2 C1
Ceq = If C0 = C1 then Ceq = C1 = C0
3

C0 is the zero-sequence capacitance of the three-phase C1 is the positive-sequence capacitance of the three-
circuit phase circuit

In all practical applications the following expression is valid:

1 Req2
>
L eq Ceq 4 L eq2

thus leading to an underdamped wave-shape of the TRV. frequency and one oscillating at the frequency imposed by the
The TRV will appear as the superposition of sinusoidal curves circuit parameters:
oscillating at different frequencies, i.e. one oscillating at power

R eq
t
u TRV (t) = 2 Veq cos ( t ) e
2 L eq
cos t )
)

where can be calculated with following formula:

1 Req2 1 1 Req2
= assuming >>
L eq Ceq 4 L eq2 L eq Ceq L eq Ceq 4 L eq2

Assuming that cos( t) ~ 1 at the time of TRV peak represented by the following expression:
(being >> ) the transient recovery voltage can be finally

R eq
t
u TRV (t) = 2 Veq 1 e
2 L eq
cos t )
)
The TRV peak value occurs at time T2 = L eq Ceq

The corresponding peak value of the TRV is

R eq R eq Ceq
T2
2 L eq 2 Leq
E2 = 2 Veq 1 e cos T2 ) =
) 2 Veq 1 + e

ABB | 31
5.3.10 Rated load current switching capability
During normal service of the generator, the load current is in the motor mode in pumped storage power plants. The gen-
reduced to zero before an opening operation of the genera- erator circuit-breaker shall be capable of interrupting those
tor circuit-breaker is initiated. However, the interruption of currents and withstanding the TRV appearing across the open
full load current may be required occasionally for emergency contacts immediately after the interruption of the current.
circumstances or when the synchronous machine is working

5.3.11 Capacitance current switching capability


IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) considers this as a special The generator circuit-breaker normally is not called on to
case where the line or bus capacitance is separated from the switch purely capacitive currents.
generator circuit-breaker through transformation.

5.3.12 Out-of-phase current switching capability


This capability applies to a generator circuit-breaker used for The most important parameters which influence the wave-
switching the connection between two parts of a three-phase shape of the fault current resulting from out-of-phase
system during out-of-phase conditions. The assigned out-of- synchronizing and the occurrence of delayed current zeros are
phase current switching rating is the maximum out-of-phase power plant equipment parameters, out-of-phase angle 0,
current that the generator circuit-breaker shall be capable of power frequency of the system and instant when the synchro-
switching at an out-of-phase recovery voltage. nization is initiated.
Out-of-phase synchronising occasionally occurs in power The wave-shape of the out-of-phase current is depicted in
plants [4]. The main reasons for out-of-phase synchronis- Figures 35 to 40 for different values of 0. It is evident that at
ing are wiring errors made during commissioning or during the time when = 0 the fault current is dominated by a d.c.
maintenance when connecting voltage transformers and component. In modern power systems the protection sys-
synchronising equipment. These wiring errors lead to particu- tems sends the tripping signal to the generator circuit-breaker
lar out-of-phase angles, i.e. multiples of 60el.. E.g. polarity before the = 0 condition is reached, thus leading to a less
errors at a voltage transformer cause synchronising at 180el. severe tripping operation. If the tripping is delayed this might
out-of-phase angle; phase connection errors lead to 60el. lead to extremely severe interrupting conditions and even
and 120el. out-of-phase angles. Besides these particular unsuccessful interruption. It is shown in published literature
out-of phase angles any value may be caused by inadequate that circuit-breakers installed at the HV-side of the step-up
settings of the synchronising equipment, e.g. due to an incor- transformer may not be suitable for interrupting fault currents
rect value of the closing time of the circuit-breaker. resulting from out-of-phase synchronizing [5]. Although the
The TRV appearing immediately after the interruption of fault arc-voltage of the HV circuit-breaker is of the same order of
currents resulting from out-of-phase synchronising is very magnitude of the arc-voltage of the generator circuit-breaker,
severe with respect to both peak value and rate-of-rise and its value referred to the LV-side of the step-up transformer is
time delay. Even though it is recognized that synchronising reduced by the transformation ratio and has practically no
with out-of-phase angle up to 180 might occur, IEEE Std effect on the time constant of the decay of the d.c.
C37.013-1997 (R2008) covers only requirements for a component of the fault current.
maximum out-of-phase angle of 90.
The current resulting from out-of-phase synchronizing might
show delayed current zeros whose causes are totally different
compared to generator terminal faults. The rapid movement of
the rotor from initial out-of-phase angle 0 to = 0 results in
a very small a.c. component of the fault current and a domi-
nant d.c. component when the condition of = 0 is reached.
The current resulting from out-of-phase synchronizing has to
be assessed by the aid of computer simulations which allow
to model with high level of accuracy power plants equipment
and especially the synchronous machine. As the instant when
the = 0 condition is reached is determined by the movement
of the rotor, the inertia constants of turbine, rotor and excita-
tion equipment of the generator are of special importance. As
the fault current to be interrupted by the generator circuit-
breaker is characterized by delayed current zeros it extremely
important to prove that the circuit-breaker by means of its
arc-voltage is capable of forcing current to zero within its
maximum arcing time.

32 | ABB
400 400
[kA ] [kA ]
300 300

200 200

100 100

0 0

-100 -100

-200 -200

-300 -300

-400 -400
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40

Figure 35: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase Figure 36: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase
angle 0 = 30 angle 0 = 60

400 400
[kA ] [kA ]
300 300

200 200

100 100

0 0

-100 -100

-200 -200

-300 -300

-400 -400
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40

Figure 37: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase Figure 38: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase angle
angle 0 = 90 0 = 120

400 400
[kA ] [kA ]
300 300

200 200

100 100

0 0

-100 -100

-200 -200

-300 -300

-400 -400
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40

Figure 39: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase angle Figure 40: Prospective out-of-phase fault current out-of-phase angle
0 = 150 0 = 180

ABB | 33
5.3.13 Excitation current switching capability
IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) defines the excitation cur- buses or cables). This might results in voltage oscillations of
rent switching capability as the highest magnetizing current high amplitudes. Modern transformers have a low no-load
that a generator circuit-breaker shall be required to switch at current value compared to older designs, and their magnetic
any voltage up to rated maximum voltage at power frequency characteristics are such that a relatively low amount of energy
without causing an overvoltage exceeding the levels agreed is released when current chopping occurs during switching,
upon between the user and the manufacturer. leading to moderate chopping overvoltages [1]. Chopping
During normal operation, a generator step-up transformer is overvoltages are produced only on the transformer side of the
rarely switched in an unloaded condition. Anyway, consider- generator circuit-breaker. No overvoltages occur on the
ation should be given to switching of transformer excitation generator side because the inductance of the generator is
current. Excitation current switching is not so much a matter much lower than the magnetizing impedance of the trans-
of the generator circuit-breaker capability, but a question of former, and the energy content is low and not of sufficient
whether overvoltages are produced due to current chopping. magnitude to produce overvoltages [1].
Due to instabilities of the arc between the circuit-breaker The overvoltage generated by current chopping can be esti-
contacts premature current zeros at high frequencies occur mated with the following formula where it has been assumed
frequently when switching small inductive currents, leading to that the energy stored in the magnetizing inductance of the
current chopping. The chopped current flowing in the no- step-up transformer is transferred to the equivalent capaci-
load inductance charges the capacitances of the transformer tance without losses. In addition the magnetizing character-
windings and the capacitances of the connection between the istics and the hysteresis loop of the step-up transformer have
step-up transformer and the generator circuit-breaker (e.g. been neglected.

1 1 L mag
L mag i 2 = Ceq v 2 v=i
2 2 Ceq

v is the voltage generated by current chopping Ceq is the equivalent capacitance to ground of the step-
i is the chopped current up transformer windings and the connection of the
L mag is the magnetizing inductance of the step-up step-up transformer to the generator circuit-breaker
transformer terminals

The value of chopped current, and consequently the overvol- addition the generator circuit-breaker systems are generally
tages produced, are mainly dependent on the type of gen- equipped with capacitors which help to mitigate the transient
erator circuit-breaker. Experience indicates that the current recovery voltage appearing after current interruptions. Those
chopping level of SF 6 self-blast generator circuit-breakers is capacitors are also very effective in reducing the overvoltages
low and no overvoltages of concern are expected. Further- produced by current chopping. It has to be mentioned that
more, the transformer LV-side is usually protected by surge the capacitors installed at the generator circuit-breaker termi-
arresters which reduce these overvoltages. The energy to nals increase the chopping current level but on the other hand
be absorbed by the arresters is usually extremely small. In they help reducing the generated overvoltage.

5.3.14 Rated control voltage


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the rated con- generator circuit-breakers are shown in Table 10 of IEEE Std
trol voltage of a generator circuit-breaker is the designated C37.013-1997 (R2008). Other control voltages may be speci-
voltage that is to be applied to the closing or tripping devices fied according to other national or international standards
to close or open the generator circuit-breaker. Rated voltages depending on the point of original installation.
and their permissible ranges for the control power supply of

5.3.15 Rated mechanism fluid operating pressure


According to IEEE Std C37.013-1997 (R2008) the rated mechanism is designed to operate. The pressure is allowed to
mechanism fluid operating pressure of a generator circuit- vary above and below its rated value within a specified range.
breaker is the pressure at which a gas- or liquid-operated

34 | ABB
6 Application of generator circuit-breakers

The major demands on the electrical layout of power plants The criteria which are used to evaluate and assess the
can be summarised as follows: generator circuit-breakers application exert considerable
transfer the generated electric energy from the generator to influence on the electrical layout of the power plant.
the HV-transmission system considering operation require-
ments as well as availability, reliability, and economical
aspects
supply of electric power for auxiliary and station service
systems to ensure a safe and reliable power plant operation

6.1 Power plant layouts


Examples of power station layouts which employ a generator
circuit-breaker to connect the generator to the main trans-
former are shown in Figure 41.

6.1.1 Thermal power plants


The typical layout of a thermal power plant is depicted in An interesting alternative is represented by the layout of Figure
Figure 41a. During normal operation the generator supplies 41b. In this case no station transformer is available and the
power to the auxiliary system. The main net is the backup backup source for the auxiliaries are the auxiliary busbars of
source for the auxiliaries; i.e. whenever a unit is shutdown another unit. This solution is very attractive because it allows
the power is drawn from the main net through the main to reduce the investment costs as well as the operation and
transformer. The station transformer is generally rated as an maintenance expenses by omitting the station transformer
emergency shut-down transformer. and the associated MV and HV equipment.

6.1.2 Gas turbine power plants


The typical layout of a gas turbine power plant is depicted in power plants.
Figure 41c. When a gas-turbine generator is started-up, its For this reason the use of SFC starting equipment is becoming
rotor must be accelerated by external means to about 60% more and more widespread. ABB generator circuit-breakers
of the rated speed before the start-up process becomes also contain the switching functions required for SFC starting
self-sustaining, i.e. before the turbine can generate suffi- within its enclosure. The output of the SFC (voltage of variable
cient power to continue process independently. The energy amplitude and frequency) is fed to the generator terminals via
required for this purpose can be provided for instance by a the starting switch that is designed for the voltage, current
pony motor or a static frequency converter (SFC). Starting-up and current duration occurring during the SFC start-up period
with the help of a pony motor is suitable for smaller machines of the gas turbine. Its rated voltage is chosen according to
but has several disadvantages when applied to larger ma- the rated voltage of the SFC which in general is considerably
chines and especially to single shaft units in combined-cycle lower than the generator rated voltage.

6.1.3 Hydro power plants


The typical layout of a hydro power plant is depicted in Figure Installation: The accommodation of a three-winding
41d. Due to the low power consumption of unit auxiliaries the transformer is generally preferred in power plants where the
electrical layout of hydro power plants generally employs one available space is at a premium.
unit transformer to supply power to station auxiliaries. Power delivery to the high-voltage substation: The loss
Three-winding transformers are sometimes used in hydro of a three-winding transformer would result in the loss of two
power plants (Figure 41e). Making a justifiable decision for paths for electrical energy. For instance a failure in one three-
applying three-winding transformers requires detailed winding step-up transformer in Figure 41e would cause the
technical and economical evaluations. outage of the power output of two units. Besides the cases
Some of the items which should be considered for selecting in which economic or space issues are important, connect-
transformer arrangement in a power plant are the following ing two units to a three-winding transformer is not generally
ones: adopted in power plants.

ABB | 35
Protection: The differential protection is used as the main Operation and maintenance: Preventive and especially
protection for a step-up transformer. The block differential corrective maintenance of a three-winding transformer might
protection is applied as a back-up protection. Due to a higher be an issue as this occurrence would lead to the outage of
number of windings involved, the protection of a three- two units. A solution which can be adopted to reduce the
winding transformer is relatively more complicated compared downtime is to buy a spare transformer. In order to reduce the
to the case when two-winding transformers are employed. cost of the spare equipment sometimes three single-phase
Except for the number of windings, no additional noticeable three-winding transformers are employed and only one spare
differences can be found between protection functions of two- single-phase machine is considered.
and three-winding transformers. In addition to the above mentioned items, availability and
commercial feasibility have to be considered too in order to
make a more thorough comparison between two- and three-
winding transformers.

6.1.4 Pumped storage power plants


Pumped storage power plants are of great importance for the Electrical braking by short-circuiting the stator and re-excitation
economical operation of a power system as they make use of of the rotor is attractive because it assists hydraulic braking
electrical energy during off-peak hours to pump water from a at lower speed and allows to substantially reduce the wear
lower reservoir to a higher reservoir for the use in the genera- of the mechanical braking system and hence to increase the
tion of electrical energy during system peak periods. Due maintenance intervals and to decrease the associated costs
to space limitations, especially in the case of power plants [7]. Hydraulic braking is most effective only down to about 50
located in caverns, compact and therefore simple layouts are to 60% of the rated speed of the machine, because its
highly desirable in the case of pumped storage power plants. effectiveness decreases approximately with the 3 rd power of
Simple layouts also bring about operational advantages the speed. Mechanical braking is then applied only at 10% or
and lead to an increased power plant reliability. Due to high less of the rated speed until to full stop. The current used for
number of transitions from one operating mode to another the electrical braking typically is in the range of 1.0...1.3-times
possible in a pumped storage power plant the requirements the rated current of the machine. The current will remain at
on the mechanical and electrical endurance of the switchgear this value nearly to full standstill of the unit, because both
used are very high. A circuit-breaker for instance may have to the voltage and the reactance decrease proportional with the
carry out up to 10 operations per day. speed of the unit.
When a machine is started-up in the motor mode, it has to be
accelerated to its rated speed before it can be connected to
the system (unless asynchronous starting is used). The two
most common methods used for starting-up machines in the
motor mode are the static frequency converter (SFC) and the
back-to-back starting arrangements. Both are synchronous
starting modes. In the SFC starting arrangement the machine
is connected to a converter (line side constant voltage and
frequency, machine side variable voltage and frequency), and
by increasing the frequency and voltage of the converter the
machine is accelerated [6]. At about 95% of the synchronous
speed, the synchronizing equipment will take over control of
the SFC and after reaching the conditions necessary for syn-
chronization it will give a closing command to the generator
circuit-breaker and block the SFC impulses. Therefore there
is no current flow caused by the SFC after synchronization.
When the generator circuit-breaker has been closed, the SFC
will be disconnected. In the back-to-back starting arrange-
ment another machine in the station, acting as a generator, is
employed. The generator and the motor to be started-up are
connected together electrically. The wicket gate of the gen-
erator turbine is opened and both machines are accelerated
to synchronous speed. In asynchronous starting the unexcited
machine is connected to full or reduced voltage at system
frequency and is acting as an asynchronous motor during the
starting period.
Another important issue in all hydro power plants and there-
fore also in pumped storage power plants is the braking of
the machine after it has been disconnected from the system.

36 | ABB
Generator circuit-breakers are widely used in pumped storage Because of their ability to interrupt fault current also at
power plants because the use of such circuit-breakers allows frequencies below 50/60 Hz ABB generator circuit-breakers
the electrical scheme (Figure 41f) to be greatly simplified. ensure an adequate protection of power plant equipment.

EHV HV EHV EHV

MT MT MT

UT ST UT
GCB GCB GCB
SS UT
SFC

G AUX G AUX G
AUX

a) b) c)

EHV EHV EHV

MT MT
MT MT MT

PRD PRD

UT UT SS SS
GCB GCB GCB GCB GCB GCB

BS BS BS BS BS SS SS BS
G G AUX G G AUX G G
SFC

UT

d) e) f) AUX

Figure 41: Different power plant layouts which employ generator circuit-breakers

Legend
MT Main transformer AUX Unit auxiliaries
UT Unit transformer SS Starting switch
ST Station transformer BS Braking switch
GCB Generator circuit-breaker SFC Static frequency converter
EHV Transmission system PRD Phase-reversal disconnector
HV Sub-transmission system

ABB | 37
6.2 Advantages of generator circuit-breakers
The use of generator circuit-breakers for the switching of gen- As a disadvantage of this solution in comparison with the unit
erators at their terminal voltage offers many advantages when connection especially in the case of large generating units
compared to the unit connection, e.g.: the high costs of the generator circuit-breaker are sometimes
simplified operational procedures mentioned. This argument however refers to air-blast genera-
tor circuit-breakers and with the appearance of modern SF6
improved protection of the generator and the main and unit
generator circuit-breakers for units with ratings of up to 2000
transformers
MVA is no longer valid.
increased security and higher power plant availability
economic benefit

6.2.1 Simplified operational procedures


The installation of the generator circuit-breaker directly in The automatic rapid changeover switching equipment
the connection between the generator and the main trans- required to transfer the supply of the unit auxiliaries from
former provides a clear and logical plant arrangement. the station to the unit transformer (and vice versa) can be
During the starting-up or shutting-down of the generator avoided, thus eliminating stresses with possible subsequent
only one circuit-breaker must be operated thus reducing the damages to the drive motors of pumps, fans, etc.
number of switching operations necessary. A comparison of The division of responsibility for the operation of the power
operation procedures between layouts which employ a gen- plant and the switching of the high-voltage transmission
erator circuit-breaker and power plant electrical schemes network is clearly defined.
without generator circuit-breaker is displayed in Figure 42.

6.2.2 Improved protection of the generator and the main


and unit transformers
The differential protection zones of the generator, the main Generator-fed short-circuit currents are interrupted within
and unit transformers can be arranged to achieve maximum a maximum of 4 cycles whereas the reduction of the fault
selectivity. current by the de-excitation equipment requires a number of
seconds.

6.2.3 Increased security and higher power plant


availability
Simplified operational procedures and clearly defined The avoidance of changeover switching operations required
responsibilities reduce the likelihood of operational errors. to transfer the supply of the unit auxiliaries from the station
The synchronisation of a generator with the high-voltage to the unit transformer (and vice versa) eliminates stresses
grid can be carried more reliably with a generator circuit- with possible subsequent damages to the drive motors of
breaker than with a high-voltage circuit-breaker. During pumps, fans, etc.
synchronization the voltage across the open contacts of The rapid and selective clearance of all types of faults helps
the circuit-breaker varies from zero (i.e. in phase) to twice to avoid expensive secondary damage and the conse-
the normal voltage (i.e. 180 out-of-phase condition). In quently long down times for repair. Examples of serious
the latter case high stresses will be imposed on the exter- secondary damage being caused by the delayed clearance
nal insulation of the circuit-breaker which might result in a of a fault are:
flashover of the circuit-breaker insulator. This is especially
true when the circuit-breaker operates in heavily polluted bursting of the transformer tank following an internal
atmosphere. A generator circuit-breaker even in case it is fault in the main or unit transformer
installed outdoor is protected by its enclosure and operates thermal destruction of the generator damper winding
under indoor conditions. Therefore these stresses will not due to short-time unbalanced load conditions
be imposed on it. mechanical destruction of a turbine-generator set due
The use of a generator circuit-breaker allows the unit aux- to generator motoring
iliaries supplies to be drawn directly from the high-voltage thermal/dynamic stress caused to the generator by
transmission network at all times. Supply from this source synchronising under out-of-phase conditions
is considerably more reliable than that from a local sub-
transmission network.

38 | ABB
Such incidents have a detrimental effect on the availability of Compared to high-voltage circuit-breakers modern SF6 gen-
a power plant. It should be noted that the generator rapid de- erator circuit-breakers exhibit higher maintenance intervals as
excitation equipment is in most cases too slow to avoid this they are especially designed for a high mechanical and electri-
kind of damage. cal endurance. Depending on the application the down-time
In many cases equipment damage can be reduced or even of a unit due to circuit-breaker maintenance can therefore be
prevented by using a generator circuit-breaker in conjunction significantly reduced when a generator circuit-breaker is used.
with an adequate generator protection.

Layout without generator circuit-breaker Layout with generator circuit-breaker

Unit start-up: Unit start-up:


1) Run-up unit on station transformer (start-up supply) and 1) Run-up unit on unit transformer and synchronise
synchronise generator with high-voltage grid by means generator with high-voltage grid by means of generator
of high-voltage circuit-breaker circuit-breaker
2) Parallel unit auxiliaries supplies
3) Separate unit auxiliaries from station transformer (start-
up supply)

Unit routine shut-down: Unit routine shut-down:


1) Parallel unit auxiliaries supplies 1) Trip generator circuit-breaker and shut-down unit on
2) Separate unit auxiliaries from unit transformer unit transformer
3) Trip high-voltage circuit-breaker and shut-down unit on
station transformer

Unit emergency shut-down: Unit emergency shut-down:


1) Trip high-voltage circuit-breaker, unit auxiliaries are 1) Trip generator circuit-breaker and shut-down unit on
isolated unit transformer
2) Automatic transfer of unit auxiliaries from unit trans-
former to station transformer (approx. 4...5 cycles)
3) Shut-down unit on station transformer

Figure 42: Description of operation procedures for layouts with and without generator circuit-breaker

6.2.3.1 Transformer failures


Power transformers normally show high reliability. However Initially the fault arc current is delivered both by the HV system
in some cases internal dielectric flashovers occur resulting and by the generator. Even if the system-fed component of
into a fault arc inside the transformer causing significant the fault current is interrupted by the high-voltage circuit-
internal pressure rise by production of large quantities of gas breaker within approximately 3 to 4 cycles, in a layout without
(mainly hydrogen) due to the dissociation of the oil. Common generator circuit-breaker the generator continues to supply a
causes of transformer internal failures are the flashover of a fault current throughout the de-excitation time interval which
bushing, winding interturn faults, failures of the tap-changer can take up to several seconds (see Figure 43a). The energy
and carbonisation and/or excessive moisture content of the dissipated in the fault arc leads to a vaporisation of the trans-
transformer oil. Depending of the fault arc energy (which is a former oil and hence to a pressure rise inside the transformer.
function of arc current, arc duration and arc-voltage) the pres- This pressure stresses the transformer tank, and, if it rises
sure rise can be so high to crack the transformer tank or to above a certain value, will cause the tank to rupture, with a
blow out one or more of the bushings. Especially arc-current resulting oil spillage and possibly an oil fire. Typical times to
and arc-voltage strongly depend on the fault location inside tank rupture are 4.5 to 5 cycles [8]. Nowadays it is common
the transformer. In most cases severe damages occur inside practice to install a generator circuit-breaker between the
the transformer but also other equipment of the power plant is generator and the step-up transformer (Figure 43b) which
jeopardized by the burning oil or hydrogen outside the trans- allows a rapid clearance also of the generator-fed component
former. Unacceptable outage of the power plant or at least of the fault current and can therefore make up the difference
parts of it is generally the consequence. between a repairable damage and a catastrophic event with
Steep pressure rise inside the transformer tank can be gener- severe environmental pollution and possible personnel
ated by faults occurring in different locations, e.g.: jeopardy [9], [10].
flashover across the winding (portion of full winding) The full lines in Figure 44 show the course of pressure rise
inside the transformer tank for different fault locations. After
flashover across the bushings
the system-fed component of the fault current is interrupted
flashover between winding and tank
by the high-voltage circuit-breaker the pressure rise is less
flashover across two positions of the tap changer

ABB | 39
steep because the fault current is only fed by the generator. Investigations have shown that a generator circuit-breaker
Anyway the pressure can quickly reach the tank withstand can prevent tank rupture in about 80% of all cases of main
pressure thus leading to the explosion of the transformer. The transformer internal failures [11]. The use of a generator
dotted lines represent the course of the pressure rise if no circuit-breaker can greatly reduce the probability of a trans-
generator circuit-breaker is available. former tank rupture during internal fault. This will reduce the
When the generator-fed component of the fault current is related downtime of the power plant thus leading to a higher
interrupted by the generator circuit-breaker the pressure rise availability.
is generally stopped quickly enough to prevent the transformer In Figure 45 the sequence of events which have led to a
tank explosion. Anyway depending on the fault arc energy transformer explosion is shown. It is interesting to see how
and on the transformer tank withstand pressure the pressure fast a ground fault developed into a three-phase fault and
rise inside the transformer tank can be so steep that the tank consequently into an explosion after approx 150 ms. In such
withstand pressure of the transformer is reached even before a case the presence of a generator circuit-breaker would have
the high-voltage circuit-breaker can be operated for contri- allowed the interruption of the generator-fed fault current in
buting to transformer protection. less than 4 cycles thus preventing such a damage.

a) Case without generator circuit-breaker (unit connection) b) Case with generator circuit-breaker

Ig Is Ig Is

G Grid
G Grid

Fault Fault
Interruption of HV

Interruption of HV
Circuit-Breaker

Circuit-Breaker

Current Current
Interruption of Generator
Circuit-Breaker

I s +I g I s +I g

Ig Ig

tens of ms seconds tens of ms seconds


Time Time

Figure 43: Interruption of generator-fed fault currents with and without generator circuit-breaker

Pressure

flashover across full winding


Generator Circuit - Breaker
HV Circuit - Breaker

tank withstand pressure

flashover across bushing

flashover between winding and tank

flashover across two positions of tap changer

flashover across a portion of winding

Time
Figure 44: Pressure rise inside transformer tank for different fault locations

40 | ABB
Sequence of events

t = 0 ms: earth fault at HV-side of transformer


t = 45 ms: 2-phase short-circuit
t = 95 ms: 3-phase short-circuit
t 150 ms: explosion of transformer

Figure 45: Consequence of a transformer failure

6.2.3.2 Short-time unbalanced load condition


According to theory of symmetrical components an unbal- in opposite direction to the negative-sequence system which
anced load can be split into 3 systems, i.e. a positive- results in a double frequency current flowing in the field wind-
sequence system rotating with the same speed and direction ing, in the damper windings and in the rotor. Single- and two-
as the rotor, a negative-sequence system rotating with the phase faults represent a short-time unbalanced load condition
same speed but with opposite direction to the rotor and a with critical mechanical and thermal stresses for a generator
zero-sequence system consisting of a set of phasors of equal [12]. Such conditions can arise due to single- or two-phase
magnitude and always in phase. It is the negative-sequence faults within the main transformer or on its connections to the
system which causes harm to the generator. The rotor rotates high-voltage circuit-breaker (Figure 46).

HV circuit-breaker: 1 phase does not close Transformer LV terminals: two phase fault

HV circuit-breaker: 1 phase does not open Transformer HV windings: various types of faults

Transformer HV bushings: single phase earth fault HV circuit-breaker: two phase flashover

Transformer HV bushings: two phase fault

Figure 46: Examples of failures which can lead to unbalanced load conditions

ABB | 41
The thermal stresses result from the negative sequence com-
ponent of the fault current that interacts with the generator
damper windings. Unbalanced load conditions can give rise,
within a very short time, to dangerously high temperatures
in the damper windings. These temperatures are particularly
critical for turbo generators and in the worst case may cause
the rotor to jam in the stator. If a generator circuit-breaker is
present it will separate the generator from the fault within 4
cycles and thus effectively prevent damage to the generator.
If no generator circuit-breaker is fitted, the generator will con-
tinue to supply a negative sequence current until de-excitation
is completed. The de-excitation may take several seconds,
during which time the generator may suffer severe damage.
Unbalanced load cases might lead to severe damage as
depicted in Figure 47. In this case the rotors touching of the
Figure 47: Damage resulting from unbalanced load conditions
stator destroyed the generator completely. (source: Allianz Insurance Company)

6.2.3.3 Generator motoring


Generator motoring can occur when the supply of energy (e.g. was running down normally. As a consequence of an internal
steam, gas or water) to the turbine is removed and the field is breakdown which occurred in one pole of the high-voltage
still excited. If such a condition occurs the generator will act circuit-breaker the generator absorbed power from the grid
as a synchronous motor absorbing electric active energy from and started working as a motor. Due to the increased speed
the network and converting it into mechanical energy to drive of rotation the turbine rotated for too long time in the range of
into rotation its rotor and turbine. Generator motoring can its critical speed, i.e. the natural frequency of the turbine shaft
lead to severe damages especially to steam turbines because material. When the forcing frequency is close to its natural
of overheating and damage to steam turbine blades. The frequency, machine causes noise and high vibrations because
layout of a power plant in which a case of generator motoring of resonance due to matching of frequency. As a conse-
occurred is depicted in Figure 48. In that case after the high- quence of generator motoring the generator was lifted out of
voltage circuit-breaker was tripped the turbine-generator set foundations and the shaft was destroyed.

Generator Main Transformer HV Circuit-Breaker Overhead Line


Pn = 500 MW (Transmission)

Overhead Line
GS
3~

Coupling

Figure 48: Layout of a power plant in which a case of generator motoring occurred

6.2.3.4 Synchronizing under out-of-phase conditions


The out-of-phase conditions are abnormal circuit conditions be as much as 180. The out-of-phase current resulting from
due to loss or lack of synchronism between generator and this condition is dependent on this phase angle and attains
power system at the instant of the synchronizing operation its maximum value at 180 (phase opposition). The resulting
of the circuit-breaker. The phase angle difference between thermal and electro-dynamic overstress might lead to severe
phasors representing the generated voltages on each side consequences for the generator windings.
of the circuit-breaker may exceed the normal value and may

42 | ABB
6.2.4 Economic benefit
Several economic advantages are brought about by the Should the high-voltage substation be erected at some
employment of a power plant layout with generator circuit- distance from the power plant the generator circuit-breaker
breaker compared to the unit connection: can be used to protect the overhead line linking the power
The possible integration of all the associated items of plant to the substation. No separate high-voltage circuit-
switchgear into the enclosure of the generator circuit-breaker breaker at the power plant is required for this purpose.
allows simpler and more economic power plant layouts. The through-fault capability required of the unit transformers
This solution hence allows savings in time and expenditures is substantially reduced.
for erection and commissioning. The higher availability of the power plant leads to an in-
When a layout with a generator circuit-breaker is used it is creased number of the operating hours and therefore to a
possible to omit the station transformer and the associated higher profit for the operator of the power plant. Substantial
high-voltage and medium-voltage switchgear. If the station surplus of receipts can be achieved in this way and the pay-
transformer cannot be dispensed with, the use of a trans- back time for the expenditures of a generator circuit-breaker
former with reduced rating (rated as a shut-down trans- is generally very low.
former) is usually sufficient.

ABB | 43
7 Maintenance of generator circuit-breakers

Overhaul of generator circuit-breakers is scheduled based on interruption of currents far above the rated continuous current
the criteria of service time, number of mechanical CO opera- longer arcing times are expected. Therefore, the ablation of
tions and number of current interruptions whichever occurs contact material increases disproportionately. In addition, high
first. electro-dynamical forces arise which reduce the mechanical
Specifically the electrical endurance of the generator circuit- lifetime of the circuit-breaker.
breaker depends on the magnitude of the current which is
switched. To each opening operation, an ablation coefficient For typical applications generator circuit-breakers do not have
k is assigned. The ablation coefficient depends on the r.m.s. to switch load currents and therefore overhaul is generally
value of the switched current. Within a range up to 150% of scheduled based on service time. Depending on the type of
the rated continuous current the ablation coefficient is generator circuit-breaker typical overhaul intervals are 15 to
proportional to the ablation of the arcing contacts. With the 20 years.

44 | ABB
8 Case study 1: Impact of the method of connecting a generator
to the high-voltage grid on the availability of a power plant
In order to quantify the impact of how a generator is con- network were considered, namely:
nected to the high-voltage grid on the availability of a power a layout without a circuit-breaker between the generator
plant, the contribution of the connection of the generator to and the low-voltage terminals of the main transformer (unit
the high-voltage transmission network and of the supply to connection), refer to Figure 49)
the unit auxiliaries to the unavailability of one generating unit
a layout with a generator circuit-breaker and a station trans-
has been determined with the help of computer program
former (rated as shut-down transformer), refer to Figure 50)
based on the Monte Carlo method [13]. Three different ways
a layout with a generator circuit-breaker, refer to Figure 51)
of connecting the generator to the high-voltage transmission

8.1 Power plant layout


The layout of a typical power plant is shown in Figure 49. It lines is two. The three winding station transformers (ST) are
consists of two 360 MW steam turbines. Each unit is directly connected to the 138 kV substation by an air insulated double
connected to two sets of three winding unit transformers (UT). busbar with single circuit-breaker arrangement. The reserve
The generator is directly connected to the generator step-up net is the backup source for the station auxiliaries; i. e.
transformer (GSUT) as well. The extra high-voltage substation whenever a unit is shutdown, the reserve net supplies power
(rated voltage 345 kV) consists of an air insulated one and to the auxiliary busbars through the station transformer.
a half circuit-breaker arrangement. The number of outgoing

345 kV

138 kV

GSUT GSUT

UT UT UT UT ST ST
G G

GEN 22 kV GEN 22 kV

Figure 49: Layout of a 2 x 360 MW thermal power plant with two station transformers and no generator circuit-breaker

ABB | 45
345 kV

138 kV

GSUT GSUT

UT UT UT UT ST
G G

GEN 22 kV GEN 22 kV

Figure 50: Layout of a 2 x 360 MW thermal power plant with one station transformer and generator circuit-breakers

345 kV

GSUT GSUT

UT UT UT UT
G G

GEN 22 kV GEN 22 kV

Figure 51: Layout of a 2 x 360 MW thermal power plant with generator circuit-breakers and no station transformer

46 | ABB
8.1.1 Layout of extra high-voltage substation
The secure operation of extra high-voltage substations is A feature of the double busbar with double circuit-breaker
greatly influenced by their layout. In order to assure the conti- arrangement (Figure 52c) is that each outgoing feeder is con-
nuity of the supply, the links between incoming and outgoing nected to the rest of the installation by two parallel circuit-
feeders of a substation have to remain intact, even in spite of breakers, i.e. this scheme uses circuit-breaker redundancy to
a number of connecting elements not being available. Obvi- secure operation under disturbed conditions.
ously every effort is made to attain this goal with a minimum Since each line has two circuit-breakers, one circuit-breaker
capital outlay. can be taken out of service at any time without interrupting
The following substation schemes have been investigated: the operation.
double busbar with single circuit-breaker (Figure 52a) A more economic kind of redundancy is achieved with the
ring arrangement (Figure 52d) which is considered as an
one and a half circuit-breaker (Figure 52b)
appropriate solution for substations with only a few feed-
double busbar with double circuit-breaker (Figure 52c)
ers. Each feeder requires only one circuit-breaker and each
ring (Figure 52d) circuit-breaker can be isolated without interrupting the supply.
crossed-ring (Figure 52e) Starting from this scheme, new concepts were developed to
increase structural redundancy.
For large installations the double busbar with single circuit- In the normal state of the crossed-ring substation arrange-
breaker arrangement (Figure 52a) is preferred. The presence ment (Figure 52e) the circuit-breakers of the basic ring (BR)
of two busbars makes maintenance possible without inter- are closed while those of the cross-links (CL) are open. If
rupting the supply. On the other hand a circuit-breaker failure one circuit-breaker in the basic ring fails, another ring can
leads to the loss of all feeders connected to that busbar and be formed so that the original availability is maintained. It
the busbar protection may cause the loss of the substation if can be seen that even in the case of non-availability of two
all feeders are connected to the same busbar. adjacent circuit-breakers, the respective node can be fed via
A scheme representing a mixture of equipment and structural the remaining circuit-breaker. With any of the other topologies
redundancy is the one and a half circuit-breaker arrange- introduced above, this situation would automatically lead to
ment (Figure 52b). It is often used for very important substa- the loss of the node. The impact of the use of gas insulated
tions because of its high availability and good operational switchgear (GIS) instead of air insulated switchgear (AIS) has
flexibility. In this case three circuit-breakers are employed for also been investigated. The GIS solution leads to a lower
two outgoing feeders. All circuit-breakers are normally closed. failure rate and to a higher MTTR and, even though it is more
Uninterrupted supply is thus maintained even if one busbar expensive, it is to be preferred when problems of space or
fails. pollution are present.

a) b) c)

d) e)

BR BR BR CL

BR CL CL BR

BR BR BR CL

Figure 52: Schemes of extra high-voltage substations

ABB | 47
8.1.2 Layout of high-voltage substation
The layout of the high-voltage substation used for the investi-
gation is a double busbar with single circuit-breaker arrange-
ment (Figure 52a) and uses air insulated switchgear.

8.1.3 Generator circuit-breaker


For each layout the possible use of a generator circuit-breaker generator-fed short-circuit currents reduces the extent of fault
has been investigated (see Figure 50 and Figure 51). damage and the related down-time, contributing to increased
The presence of a generator circuit-breaker located between power plant availability. The presence of a generator circuit-
the generator and the main transformer allows the plant aux- breaker can thus lead to a reduction of the MTTR of power
iliaries to be fed directly from the extra high-voltage transmis- plant equipment.
sion system (main net). In addition the rapid interruption of

8.1.4 Station transformer


The power plant layout used for the investigation has two transformer has also been investigated for the cases with a
station transformers. In the cases with a generator circuit- generator circuit-breaker installed. When no station trans-
breaker, only one station transformer (one station transformer former is available, the backup source for the auxiliaries are
per two units) rated as an emergency shut-down transformer the auxiliary busbars of another unit (see Figure 51).
has been considered. The influence of using no station

8.2 Data for availability calculations


For each component of the power plant the following data is Reliability parameters have been taken from published
needed: literature [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19]. The circuit-breaker
number of failures fail-to-close and fail-to-open probabilities have also been
taken into account [16].
downtime
Moreover, information about switching times, maintenance
maintenance frequency
frequency and maintenance duration was obtained from
maintenance duration published literature [14].

8.3 Simulations
The simulations have been carried out with the help of a During a simulation run, when a failure occurs it is treated by
computer program based on the Monte Carlo method [20]. tripping the circuit-breakers forming the protection group of
This is a very powerful technique to quantitatively estimate the the failed component immediately after the occurrence of the
reliability of complex systems like power plants; furthermore it failure. After the time necessary to isolate the failed compo-
allows to quantify the impact of the connection scheme of a nent (i. e. the switching time) the circuit-breakers are closed
generator to the extra high-voltage network on the availability again. When the repair of the component is completed (or
of the plant. a spare part has become available), the above procedure is
Monte Carlo methods estimate the reliability of a system by repeated. Also the transfer of the auxiliaries between different
simulating the process and its random behaviour. The simula- sources during the starting-up and the shutting-down of the
tion consists in a repeated process of generating deterministic unit (or when a failure occurs) is modelled. The operational
solutions to a given problem with each solution correspond- state of a unit further depends on the state of its auxiliaries,
ing to a set of deterministic values of the underlying random as the number of auxiliaries available influences the level of
variables. The main element of Monte Carlo simulation is possible power production.
therefore the generation of random numbers from probability One of the results obtained from the simulations is the power
distributions describing the random variables of interest, e.g. throughput of the power plant.
the failure and repair rates of different items of power plant
equipment.

48 | ABB
8.4 Simulation results
The simulations have been carried out assuming that the breaker is used. This improvement is in the order of 0.4%.
power plant supplies base load. The availability of the unit The ring scheme seems to be very interesting: in this case the
(turbine and generator) has been set to 86.67%. This value availability improvement is in the order of 0.44%. The results
takes into account forced and scheduled outages of the unit. clearly indicate that, from a point of view of power plant
The results of the simulations are summarized in Table III and availability, a layout with a generator circuit-breaker offers a
Table IV. distinct advantage over the unit connection.
The difference in the throughput power directly reflects the With respect to the design of the extra high-voltage substa-
contribution of the different schemes used to connect the tion, it can be seen that in case of a layout with generator
generators to the extra high-voltage transmission network circuit-breaker, the number of station transformers has a
on the availability of the power plant. The results show that negligible influence on the power plant availability.
the use of a layout with a generator circuit-breaker positively On the other side, the difference in the throughput power be-
affects the availability. Figure 53 depicts the possible avail- tween a gas insulated substation and an air insulated substa-
ability improvements when a layout with a generator circuit- tion is generally very small (see Table IV).

EHV substation HV substation Generator Station Power


(refer to Figure 52) (refer to Figure 52) circuit-breaker transformer throughput

SCHEME AIS GIS SCHEME AIS GIS YES/NO No. MW


a) x a) x no 2 619.38
b) x a) x no 2 619.50
c) x a) x no 2 619.62
d) x a) x no 2 619.35
e) x a) x no 2 619.45
a) x a) x yes 1 621.93
b) x a) x yes 1 622.08
c) x a) x yes 1 622.09
d) x a) x yes 1 622.06
e) x a) x yes 1 622.04
a) x - - - yes 0 621.97
b) x - - - yes 0 622.07
c) x - - - yes 0 622.09
d) x - - - yes 0 622.07
e) x - - - yes 0 622.00

TABLE III: RESULTS OF SIMULATIONS: INFLUENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF A GENERATOR CIRCUIT-BREAKER

0.44%

0.42%
0.42% 0.42%

0.40%

a) b) c) d) e)

Layout of EHV substations (refer to Figure 52)

Figure 53: Relative availability improvement for a layout with generator circuit-breaker (related to the basic scheme without a generator circuit-
breaker)

ABB | 49
EHV substation HV substation Generator Station Power
(refer to Figure 52) (refer to Figure 52) circuit-breaker transformer throughput

SCHEME AIS GIS SCHEME AIS GIS YES/NO No. MW


b) x a) x no 2 619.50
b) x a) x yes 1 622.08
b) x - - - yes 0 622.07
b) x a) x no 2 619.47
b) x a) x yes 1 622.10
b) x - - - yes 0 622.07
TABLE IV: RESULTS OF SIMULATIONS: COMPARISON BETWEEN AIS AND GIS

8.5 Economic evaluation


In order to make a more thorough comparison between the the initial capital outlay also all those expenses arising from
different options, an economic analysis has also been carried its installation, operation, maintenance and, at the end of its
out. For the economic evaluation the following issues have service life, its disposal.
been considered: The power delivered to the grid is given by the power
life cycle costs for selectable equipment (extra high-voltage throughput minus the power consumed by the auxiliaries.
Monetary values are time dependent, and can only be
and high-voltage switchgear, station transformers,
summed or subtracted when they are referred to the same
generator circuit-breakers, medium voltage switchgear)
point in time. For this reason a cash value corresponding to
power delivered to the grid
each cost term must be calculated to allow for interest and
energy selling price inflation rates:
The life cycle cost of a piece of equipment comprises besides

i
1
Cpv = Ci
1+ r

Ci is the expense payable in i years in zero-year r is the effective discount rate (interest rate - inflation
currency value rate)
C pv is the present value of cost C i i is the number of years at the end of which the
expense Ci is paid.

i
N 1
PV _ FM = (Ii OCi MCi ) AC CWC IC
i=1 1+ r

PV_FM is the present value of the figure of merit MCi are the maintenance costs of selectable equipment in
N is the number of years of service (service life) year i
r is the effective discount rate AC are the acquisition costs of selectable equipment
li is the income in year i CWC are the civil works costs of selectable equipment
OC i are the operation costs in year i IC are the installation costs of selectable equipment

50 | ABB
The differences in the figure of merit of different power plant outs with a generator circuit-breaker generally have a higher
layouts are depicted in Figure 54. It can be noticed that lay- figure of merit than layouts without a generator circuit-breaker.

Additional calculations have shown that layouts with a Moreover, the use of a generator circuit-breaker makes the
generator circuit-breaker and without a station transformer ring scheme (Figure 52d) without station transformer one of
may even have somewhat higher figures of merit, especially in the best options; such a conclusion is due to the fact that
cases with low downtimes (e. g. power stations which supply this scheme is very cheap (low number of components) and
base load) where the losses during the time when the unit is shows a similar reliability as the other schemes when a
shut down do not matter very much. generator circuit-breaker is installed.

100.50%

100.40%

100.30%
With no GCB
100.20% With GCB and one
station transformer
100.10%

100.00%

99.90%

99.80%

99.90%
a) b) c) d) e)
Layout of EHV substations (refer to Figure 52)

Figure 54: Differences in figure of merit of different power station


layouts (related to the layout depicted in Figure 49)

ABB | 51
9 Case study 2: Interrupting capability of generator circuit-
breakers in case of delayed current zeros
The requirements imposed on generator circuit-breakers The capability of the generator circuit-breaker to interrupt fault
greatly differ from the requirements imposed on general currents which show delayed current zeros can be ascer-
purpose transmission and distribution circuit-breakers. Due tained by calculations that take into account the effect of the
to the location of installation between the generator and the arc-voltage of the circuit-breaker on the prospective fault
associated step-up transformer a generator circuit-breaker current. In order to carry out a thorough investigation on the
must meet high technical requirements with respect to the interrupting capability of generator circuit-breakers, a com-
interruption of fault currents. In addition to their generally high parison between SF6 and vacuum extinguishing technologies
magnitude, these currents can be characterized by delayed is provided.
current zeros.

9.1 Generator circuit-breaker model adopted for the


simulations
According to [1], [2], demonstrating the capability of a gen- The capability of a generator circuit-breaker to interrupt a
erator circuit-breaker to interrupt short-circuit currents with given short-circuit current can be considered as being de-
delayed current zeros may be difficult and limited in high monstrated when the following conditions are met:
power testing stations. Considering that various designs of the maximum operating voltage is less than or equal to the
generators behave differently and that the pre-load of the power frequency recovery voltage during the short-circuit
generator influences the course of the fault current, it can be test with the corresponding symmetrical short-circuit cur-
impossible to simulate the required current wave-shape in rent
the testing station [21]. Therefore the capability of a circuit-
the making current is less than or equal to the making cur-
breaker to interrupt a short-circuit current with delayed cur-
rent demonstrated by a short-circuit test
rent zeros has to be ascertained by calculations that take into
the symmetrical short-circuit current is less than or equal to
account the effect of the arc-voltage of the generator circuit-
the symmetrical short-circuit breaking current demonstrated
breaker on the prospective short-circuit current. The genera-
by a short-circuit test
tor circuit-breakers arc-resistance is an additional resistance
which forces the d.c. component of the short-circuit current the asymmetrical short-circuit current is less than or equal
to decay faster. It is of utmost importance that the magnitude to the asymmetrical short-circuit breaking current demon-
of the arc-voltage is high enough to force a fast decay of the strated by a short-circuit test
d.c. component of the short-circuit current, so that current the rate-of-rise and the peak value of the transient recovery
zeros are produced within the maximum permissible arcing voltage are less or equal to the rate-of-rise and the peak
time of the generator circuit-breaker. In order to investigate value of the transient recovery voltage during the short-
the behaviour of the generator circuit-breaker during the circuit test with the corresponding symmetrical short-circuit
interruption of short-circuit currents with delayed current current
zeros, the arc-voltage versus current characteristic has to be the time delay of the transient recovery voltage is longer
transferred into a mathematical model. From the arc-voltage than or equal to the time delay of the transient recovery
and the current the arc-resistance is obtained. A non-linear voltage during the short-circuit test with the corresponding
time-varying resistance is inserted into the simulation at the symmetrical short-circuit current
time of the separation of the contacts of the circuit-breaker to in case of a short-circuit current with delayed current zeros
model the behaviour of the generator circuit-breaker. the generator circuit-breaker is capable of forcing the
According to [1] the following two cases shall be investigated: current to zero within the time interval in which it is able to
fault initiation at voltage zero in one phase which implies interrupt a current (i.e. within the maximum permissible arc-
that the current in the corresponding phase exhibits the ing time)
maximum degree of asymmetry
In order to correctly simulate the behaviour of the generator
fault initiation at voltage maximum in one phase which
circuit-breaker, the arc-voltage model used for this investiga-
implies that the current in the corresponding phase is sym-
tion has to be derived from tests [1].
metrical

52 | ABB
9.2 Generator terminal faults
The current to be interrupted by the generator circuit-breaker tion of the fault, the magnitude of the d.c. component of the
in case of faults between the terminals of the generator fault current is bigger than the peak value of its symmetrical
circuit-breaker and the LV-windings of the step-up trans- component. In such a case the degree of asymmetry of the
former is called generator-source short-circuit current. If the fault current is higher than 100%, thus leading to delayed cur-
fault initiation takes place when the voltage in one phase rent zeros. The degree of asymmetry of the generator-fed fault
passes through zero the resulting fault current in that phase current is typically about 130%.
exhibits the maximum degree of asymmetry. The symmetrical The course of the generator-source short-circuit current is
component decays with the subtransient and transient time depicted in Figure 55. Fault initiation takes place at 100 ms
constants of the generator; the d.c. component decays with and a bolted fault has been assumed (i.e. that there is no
the armature time constant. If the symmetrical component of arc-voltage at the fault location). The fault initiation occurs at
the fault current decays faster than the d.c. component, it can voltage zero in phase A.
happen that, for a certain period of time following the initia-

150

[kA ]

100

50

-50

-100

-150
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 55: Prospective generator-source short-circuit current


(generator unloaded prior to fault initiation, fault initiation at U A = 0)

Figure 56 and Figure 57 show the corresponding calcula- taken into account. Figure 56 represents the case with fault
tion results with the generator circuit-breaker closing into a initiation at voltage zero and Figure 57 shows the case with
three-phase fault. In the computation the arc-voltage of a fault initiation at voltage maximum in one phase.
SF6 generator circuit-breaker starting at contact separation is

150 150

[kA] [kA]

100 100

50 50

0 0

-50 -50

-100 -100

t cp t cp
-150 -150
0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 [s] 0.20 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 [s] 0.20

Figure 56: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with Figure 57: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with
a SF6 generator circuit-breaker (generator unloaded prior to fault a SF6 generator circuit-breaker (generator unloaded prior to fault
initiation, fault initiation at U A = 0, arcing time = 17.6 ms) initiation, fault initiation at UA = max, arcing time = 20.2 ms)

ABB | 53
For comparison purposes the interrupting capability of a gen- corresponding calculation results. Figure 58 represents the
erator circuit-breaker employing vacuum extinguishing tech- case with fault initiation at voltage zero and Figure 59 shows
nology is also analysed. Figure 58 and Figure 59 show the the case with fault initiation at voltage maximum in one phase.

150 150

[kA] [kA]

100 100

50 50

0 0

-50 -50

-100 -100

t cp t cp
-150 -150
0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 0.20 0.22 [s] 0.24 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 0.20 0.22 [s] 0.24

Figure 58: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with Figure 59: Interruption of generator-source short-circuit current with
a vacuum generator circuit-breaker (generator unloaded prior to fault a vacuum generator circuit-breaker (generator unloaded prior to fault
initiation, fault initiation at U A = 0, arcing time = 39.0 ms) initiation, fault initiation at UA = max, arcing time = 80.9 ms)

A method sometimes adopted to reduce the arcing time of the step-up transformer explode in case of internal failures.
the circuit-breaker is to introduce an intentional tripping delay. For this reason many power station operators consider the
A value in the range of 100 ms 200 ms is usually sufficient solution of intentionally delaying the tripping as not recom-
to limit the degree of asymmetry of the fault current at contact mendable. Therefore the preferred method to handle the
separation to values the generator circuit-breaker can cope delayed current zeros phenomena is to choose a generator
with. It has to be noted that this solution would lead to longer circuit-breaker having an arc-voltage magnitude sufficiently
fault duration and consequently to severe damages to power high to force current to zero without the aid of any intentional
station equipment with consequent long downtime for repair. tripping delay [22].
Fault durations exceeding 100 ms are usually sufficient to let

54 | ABB
9.3 Out-of-phase synchronising
Out-of-phase synchronising occasionally occurs in power the inertia constants of turbine, rotor and excitation equip-
plants [4]. The main reasons for out-of-phase synchronising ment of the generator are of special importance. Because the
are wiring errors made during commissioning or during main- fault current to be interrupted by the generator circuit-breaker
tenance when connecting voltage transformers and synchro- is characterized by delayed current zeros it is extremely im-
nising equipment. The current resulting from out-of-phase portant to prove that the circuit-breaker by means of its arc-
synchronising may show delayed current zeros; their causes voltage is capable of forcing current to zero within its maxi-
are totally different compared to generator terminal faults. The mum permissible arcing time. Even though it is recognized
rapid movement of the rotor from initial out-of-phase angle 0 that synchronising with out-of-phase angle up to 180 might
to = 0 results in a very small symmetrical component of the occur, [1], [2] cover only requirements for a maximum of 90.
fault current and a dominant d.c. component when the condi- Therefore for the present study simulations referring to such a
tion of = 0 is reached. As the instant when the = 0 con- fault conditions have been performed. The wave-shape of the
dition is reached is determined by the movement of the rotor, out-of-phase current in case of 0 = 90 is depicted in Figure 60.

150

[kA ]

100

50

-50

-100

-150
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 [s] 0.30

Figure 60: Prospective out-of-phase current (out-of-phase angle 0 =


90, fault initiation at U A = 0)

The simulation results are depicted in Figures 61, 62, 63 and sent the case of synchronisation occurring when the voltage
64. Figures 61 and 62 show the course of the fault current across the open contacts of pole A (UA) of the generator
in case a SF6 generator circuit-breaker is employed. Figures circuit-breaker is zero, while Figures 62 and 64 show the case
63 and 64 show the corresponding results in case of use of a when UA is at its maximum value.
vacuum generator circuit-breaker. Figures 61 and 63 repre-

150 150

[kA] [kA]

100 100

50 50

0 0

-50 -50

-100 -100

t cp t cp
-150 -150
0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 [s] 0.20 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 [s] 0.20

Figure 61: Interruption of out-of-phase current with a SF 6 generator Figure 62: Interruption of out-of-phase current with a SF6 generator
circuit-breaker (out-of-phase angle 0 = 90, fault initiation at U A = 0, circuit-breaker (out-of-phase angle 0 = 90, fault initiation at UA =
arcing time = 16.5 ms) max, arcing time = 18.9 ms)

ABB | 55
150 150

[kA] [kA ]

100 100

50 50

0 0

-50 -50

-100 -100

t cp t cp
-150 -150
0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 [s] 0.20 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 [s] 0.40

Figure 63: Interruption of out-of-phase current with a vacuum Figure 64: Interruption of out-of-phase current with a vacuum
generator circuit-breaker (out-of-phase angle 0 = 90, fault initiation generator circuit-breaker (out-of-phase angle 0 = 90, fault initiation
at UA = 0, arcing time = 18.2 ms) at UA = max, arcing time = 206.8 ms)

The results show that the fault current resulting from out-of- value and the arc-voltage of the circuit-breaker is not high
phase synchronising can impose extremely severe interrupt- enough to force current to zero before the condition of = 0
ing conditions if the generator circuit-breaker closes when is reached.
the voltage across its contacts in one pole is at its maximum

9.4 Conclusions
The possible occurrence of fault currents in power stations one phase leads to a longer arcing time compared to the case
which show delayed current zeros has been investigated. In of a fault occurring at voltage zero.
addition to the delayed current zeros phenomena associated The generator circuit-breaker employing SF6 as extinguishing
with generator terminal faults the case of synchronisation medium is suitable for the application as the calculated arcing
under out-of-phase conditions has also been analysed. The time lies well below the maximum permissible value.
capability of the generator circuit-breaker to interrupt fault The cases of generator terminal faults and 90 out-of-phase
currents which show delayed current zeros has been investi- synchronisation occurring at voltage maximum in one phase
gated by calculations that take into account the effect of the lead to severe stress for the vacuum circuit-breaker. The
arc-voltage of the generator circuit-breaker on the prospective vacuum circuit-breaker is not suitable for the application be-
fault current. In order to carry out a more thorough investiga- cause it is not capable of forcing the current to zero within the
tion on the interrupting capability of generator circuit-breakers permissible arcing time.
a comparison between SF6 and vacuum extinguishing tech- Therefore the preferred method to cope with currents exhibit-
nologies has been made. ing delayed current zeros is to choose a generator circuit-
In all the cases analyzed the application of a vacuum circuit- breaker having an arc-voltage magnitude sufficiently high
breaker results in longer arcing times compared to the SF6 to force the current to zero within the maximum permissible
device. Furthermore the fault occurring at voltage maximum in arcing time.

56 | ABB
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ABB | 57
Notes

58 | ABB
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