Mitsubishi Electric recently visited EnergyVille, a collaboration between the Flemish research partners KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt, to install a prototype of its HVDC line protection relay hardware – a new technology to protect power systems of the future. The device contains algorithms, designed by EnergyVille/KU Leuven and implemented by Mitsubishi Electric, to quickly and reliably identify short circuit faults on cables in HVDC grids. The HVDC relay will be tested in the laboratory of EnergyVille, where new test procedures are developed to validate the successful functionality of the product.
The testing comes as part of an ongoing collaboration between KU Leuven/EnergyVille, Mitsubishi Electric Co. Japan, and Mitsubishi Electric Europe, Power System Group, UK within the scope of the PROMOTioN project, funded within the European Commission Horizon 2020 framework.
Towards Protection of High Voltage DC Networks
To enable the connection of large amounts of renewable energy, future power systems require flexible bulk power transfer beyond existing capabilities. The most effective way to provide this additional capacity is through the use of High Voltage DC (HVDC) networks. Protection of such networks, however, requires novel equipment and algorithms to identify and clear faults from the system in a fast and selective way so that damage to equipment or extended loss of service are avoided. The HVDC relay is a piece of hardware that executes algorithms to detect and identify faults and provides critical signals to other protection equipment. Line protection algorithms developed by EnergyVille/KU Leuven are included in the Mitsubishi Electric device to quickly identify short circuit faults and trigger protection devices.
“The opportunity to perform testing of our hardware in the EnergyVille lab brings the reality of multiterminal HVDC protection – the aim of the PROMOTioN project – one step closer,” says Mr. Kenichi Kuroda, senior manager at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Japan. “Through collaborative working with EnergyVille/KU Leuven during this testing phase, we hope to improve and optimize protection methods and algorithms for HVDC, as well as provide the first independent testing demonstrations.”
The arrival of the Mitsubishi Electric HVDC relay in the EnergyVille lab marks the first time an industrial HVDC relay is tested in an independent test lab, says Dirk Van Hertem, professor at EnergyVille/KU Leuven.
“Such testing is crucial to begin discussions on requirements and standards for HVDC relays, which will be increasingly important as HVDC installations move towards large-scale multi-terminal and multi-vendor solutions," Van Hertem says. "Through fruitful collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric, we are proud to be able to work towards industrialization of our protection algorithms."
The testing is being performed as part of the PROMOTioN project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 691714. The PROMOTioN project aims to tackle technical, regulatory, financial and legal challenges to two-thirds of the implementation of HVDC transmission networks. The PROMOTioN project works towards increasing confidence in future HVDC networks. Demonstrating that novel HVDC protection methods are suitable for future power systems is a core part of the project, and real-time testing of protection strategies and HVDC relays are an important aspect within this.