Improving Low-Voltage DC Circuit Breaker Performance through an Alternate Commutating Circuit

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Current interruption in dc circuits is more challenging than in their ac counterparts due to the absence of natural current zero-crossing and resistive nature of the dc grids. This article summarizes the current dc breaker technologies and proposes new alternate methods for low-voltage applications. The proposed mechanisms utilize two switches, of which one generates zero crossing with an alternate oscillatory circuit for the other one, which can be a conventional ac breaker and is used in the main circuit. This is different than the conventional single-switch commute-and-absorb method used in high-voltage dc systems. It is shown that the proposed oscillatory circuit improves the fault current extinction and significantly reduces the voltage slew rate of conventional mechanical and solid-state switches. Thus, the proposed mechanism is capable of interrupting high dc currents with a minimal arc through a less expensive ac circuit breaker. Simulation and hardware results are provided to show the efficiency of the proposed breakers.

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IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications

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