Superconducting fault current limiters
Protecting grid assets with lightning-fast protection from fault currents
Growing demand for electricity and the rise of decentralised generation means that distribution grids are working harder than ever before. One consequence of this is the increasing risk of fault currents caused by short circuits. Fault currents can damage critical assets such as transformers and switchgear. They can also result in power outages, with serious impacts for businesses and consumers.
Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (SFCLs) are designed to tackle these challenges. In normal operation, the SFCL allows current to flow easily and with no losses.
Superconducting fault current limiters can be used in any type of distribution grid. These include private power networks for railways and industry. A key point is that SFCLs can be used in conjunction with any type of distribution cabling – not only superconducting cables, but conventional copper and aluminium cables as well.
Superconducting cables carry electricity at exceptionally high currents, reliably and with minimal losses. Superconducting properties can also be used to stop current dead in its tracks, almost instantaneously. This enables an ingenious device known as a superconductor fault current limiter (SFCL) to provide vital protection against the increasing threat of fault currents.
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