Project Innovation + Advantages:
Drexel University is proposing a solid-state MV circuit breaker based on silicon carbide devices, a resonant topology, and capacitive wireless power transfer that aims to significantly improve breaker performance for the MVDC ecosystem. The project combines innovations in using an active resonant circuit to realize zero-current switching, wireless capacitive coupling between the conduction and breaker branches to avoid direct metal-to-metal contact for rapid response speed, and wireless powering to drive the MV switches for improved system reliability.
The proposed breaker is installed close to loads to rapidly detect and react to the short-circuit fault. Thus, it could enable an increased number of electronic loads that operate using DC, such as ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations and utility scale energy storage battery units, to connect to the MV distribution grid. This would improve overall power delivery efficiency.
MVDC breaker-enabled microgrids could facilitate greater deployment and adoption of distributed renewable resources, greatly reducing power sector emissions. Electrification of transportation (e.g., ships, aviation, etc.) with DC systems would also reduce emissions.
ECONOMY: Proliferation of MVDC systems protected by more effective DC circuit breakers could drive higher energy efficiency, lower equipment costs, and bolster grid resiliency.