Energy and Power Engineering, 2013, 5, 1249-1252
doi:10.4236/epe.2013.54B237 Published Online July 2013 (
The Study on New Solid-State Breaker and Its
Over-voltage Suppression Technique
Longji Zhu, Yan Zheng
Anhui University of Science and Technology, Huainan, Anhui, China
Received January, 2013
A design scheme of the intelligent SSB (Solid State Breaker) based on the IGCT (Integrated Gate Commutated Thyris-
tor) is presented. The topology of switch module and the structure of the SSB are proposed. Firstly, to the IGCT’s
over-voltage sensitivity problem, a new technique of reducing the over-voltage is introduced, which releases the elect
romantics energy of faulty line by a capacitive current branch to reduce the amplitude of over-voltage. Secondly, the
principle of over-voltage suppression with current release branch is analyzed, and the overall control scheme of solid-
state breaker is put forward. Finally, the simulation results also demonstrate its obvious effectiveness in over-voltage
suppression after adding a current release branch into the SSB.
Keywords: Solid-state Breaker; IGCT; Over-voltage Suppression; Current Release Circuit
1. Introduction
With the construction of the distributed power grid of
China, the requirement of the performance for the trans-
mission equipments in power system is getting higher.
How to improve the stability and reliability of power
transmission equipments becomes the development di-
rection of the electric power industry. The Breaker is
important equipment in transmission lines, and it’s per-
formance directly impacts the normal operation of the
power grid. A large number of mechanical breakers are
used in the transmission system, although it has the ad-
vantages of stable conduction, strong load ability, but
there are not flexible, real-time, continuous and fast ac-
tions, easy to make the expansion of circuit fault and
other shortcomings. When the load current is discon-
nected, the breaker contact is easy ablated by the electric
arc, cutting time delay, so it is difficult to meet require-
ments of some electricity users for fast reaction speed of
the fault current, there is noise in the operation process,
the mechanical and electrical life limited[2,5]. Solid state
circuit breaker can be used as the key equipment of the
flexible AC transmission system, which can realize fast,
flexible, accurate control of the power system parameters
and grid structure. The SSB based on power switch de-
vices, because of its outstanding performance of the
switch current caused widespread concern, since the advent
of them. According to related literatures, the 15 kV/600A
high-voltage solid-state breaker is manufactured in the
Malvern City High Power Electronic Devices Factory,
which can finish the cutting current in 4 milliseconds.
The 13 kV/675A high-voltage solid-state breaker is de-
veloped in Westinghouse Company. The solid-state breaker
for the 13kV power distribution also is developed in
United Kingdom[7]. The IGCT (Integrated Gate Com-
mutated Thyristor) with low on-stage voltage is used in
this paper, and this solid-state high-voltage breaker ap-
plies to the 10 kV grid voltage level. The breaker’s
breaking time up to microseconds in short circuit situa-
tion. It also can limit the fault current and improve the
stability of the system. And it is totally sealed and
non-contacts structure, long service life, do not switch
the number of restrictions, reduce the failure rate. The
over-voltage mechanism of the SSB is analyzed, the in-
hibition of its Over-voltage method is adopted to increase
the resistance and capacitance branches can make
switching over-voltage suppression in the allowed range.
2. The New SSB
The switch module of the new SSB, which is based on
the IGCT, applied to the 10 kV grid voltage level. The
IGCT is a new type of power electronic device, and it
can be used as the first choice of the new solid-state
breaker because its high-voltage, big-current, smaller
switching losses, and fast switching speed, etc... The
technology parameters of IGCT manufactured by ABB
Company are shown in Table 1. In order to reduce the
number of devices and improve the reliability of the system,
two 4.5 kV IGCTs are in series to 9 kV switch module.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
Considering the fluctuations in grid peak voltage, the
breaker nominal voltage should designed at least up to
13kV, coupled with one device redundancy, so the SSB
are composed in series by two 9 kV switch module. The
switch module topology is shown in Figure 1; composed
by two inverse parallel branches of two IGCT connected
in series, and respectively conducted the positive and
negative current. Each IGCT series branch connected
additional 9 kV rectifier diode to protect the IGCT. Each
device is connected by parallel buffer circuit of the du/dt,
voltage-sharing resistors and thyrite arrester. Because of
the low over-current capacity, the SSB need to increase
the di/dt snubbed circuit when the connected in series
switch module.
The control strategy of the SSB includes two parts:
normal operation and fault handling. In normal operation,
the SSB takes soften switching control strategy, i.e. the
switch is off when the current is zero, and is on when the
voltage is zero[6]. When the system is in failure, the
breaker should immediately disconnect the faulted line,
and protect the sensitive loads work in normal. When the
load side is in short circuit fault, the first step is to turn
off switching devices rapidly, if the failure was excluded
in a half cycle, then to turn on the switching devices;
Otherwise, the parallel current-limiting switch is to turn
on, and the aim is to make the fault current limiters in
maximum of 15 working cycles in order to protect the
load side equipment [1].
Table 1. Mostly technique parameter of IGCT.
Instantaneous switching frequency 20KHz
Switching off time 1μs
di/dt 4KA/μs
dv/dt 10~20KV/μs
AC blocking voltage 6.5KV
DC blocking voltage 4.5 KV
Figure 1. Structure of the new SSB.
The control strategy in normal operation: before the
SSB put into operation, the synchronous voltage signal
from both sides of the grid, is checked When both sides
of the detected voltage signal are normal, then the break-
er is allowed to put into normal operation, the breaker
control system can recognize the normal voltage signal
and use it as a synchronization reference signal. The con-
troller receives a “start” command and checks the normal
synchronization signal, checking whether the switch is in
the off state, if it is, then sends a trigger pulse to make
the breaker conducts.
After the normal start process, the SSB digital proc-
essing subsystem is in the operational state, then con-
tinuous detect the grid operation parameters and to judge
whether there is a short circuit failure, and whether there
is a manual normal shutdown command, and at the same
time, promptly transmits and displays test results to the
human-computer interaction systems. When the failure is
detected, the system is turned into the fault diagnosis
subroutine immediately for further determination and
performs corresponding fault current limiter strategy
according to the fault conditions.
3. Suppression of Breaking Over-voltage
The SSB has the characteristic of fast action, which is
conducive to rapid fault isolation, in order to protect the
electrical equipment and to prevent the failure to expand.
But because the SSB’s breaking speed is too fast, shut-
off the current and other reasons, the device need to
withstand the impact of very high over-voltage. Over-
voltage protections in the SSB mainly rely on two ways:
resistance and capacitive snubbed circuit and zinc oxide
surge arrester [4]. The over-voltage buffer circuit is
shown in Figure 1, the capacitor Cs is generally about
2μF, if the Rs is too small, the over-voltage caused by
breaking the short-circuit current will increases the buffer
capacitor inrush current; if RS is too large, the response
speed of the buffer circuit reduces. So it can not achieve
the desired effect of the over-voltage. The above two
ways are the passive protections of over-voltage, can not
fundamentally eliminate the over-voltage generated [3,7].
Therefore, how to limit the amplitude of the over-voltage
fault isolation process is a high level of research and ap-
plication value.
Due to the fast shutdown of the IGCT, if the influence
of the IGCT’s tail current and the RC snubbed circuit are
ignored, the SSB can be treated as an ideal switch. When
the SSB receives a shutdown signal, it will instantly dis-
connect the short-circuit current. The energy stored in the
stray inductance and the distributed capacitance in the
circuit will produce electromagnetic oscillations. Its
equivalent circuit is shown in Figure 2.
Supposing E as the electromagnetic energy stored in
the line, it can be expressed as equation (1):
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
L. J. ZHU, Y. ZHENG 1251
Figure 2. The SSB equivalent circuit at breaking-off state.
ECU (1)
Therefore, increasing the capacitance to ground in the
SSB load side can reduce the transient over-voltage am-
plitude. The voltage of the SSB withstands us (t) is:
()() ()
utu tu t (2)
According to the KVL equation, the maximum over-
voltage of the SSB can be obtained as followed:
ut ue
 (3)
The uE(t) is the instantaneous voltage in power supply
side; uC(t) is the instantaneous voltage of the load side.
The C is the distributed capacitance to ground. The R and
L are the resistance and inductance of the load side re-
spectively. According to equation (3), increasing the ca-
pacitance (C), the amplitude of over-voltage can be ef-
fectively weakened, when the SBB cut off the line.
Therefore, a resistance and capacitor branch is connected
in parallel. The resistance-capacitor branch, which can
increase the capacitor C to ground, and to reduce the
voltage amplitude, is controlled by the GTO, and the
GTO will work before the SSB works. Its equivalent
circuit is shown in Figure 3[3].
In order to verify the inhibition effect of the over- vol-
tage after increasing the resistance and capacitance
branch, the simulation of the SSB’s capacity of breaking
the single-phase short circuit fault is analyzed by the Si-
mulink and PLES simulation software. The power sup-
ply phase voltage is 5.7 kV (line voltage is 10 kV), be-
fore the short-circuit fault occurs, the equivalent load
resis- tance and inductance are 120 and 8mH. The dis-
tributed parameters of fault line: nominal cross-section is
120 mm2; Current carrying capacity is 290 A; Resistance
is 0.153 /km; Inductance is 0.356mH/km; Capacitance
is 0.29 μF/km. The breaking voltage waveform before
and after the increased resistive and capacitive branch is
shown in Figure 4, the voltage amplitude is the unit val-
ue (pu units). The breaking over-voltage of the SSB
without the resistance-capacitance branch is about 1.8 pu;
and the breaking over-voltage with the resistance and
capacitance branch decreased to 1.20 pu.
4. Conclusions
New solid-state breaker using IGCT excellent turn-off
Figure 3. The SSB with fault current release branch.
(a) Without the RC branch
(b) With the RC branch
Figure 4. The over-voltage waveform.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
capability and fast turn-off characteristic can isolate rap-
idly the circuit fault and prevent the expansion of the
fault. But due to the solid state circuit breaker is too fast,
need to withstand over-voltage impact is very high, the
need to increase the resistance-capacitance freewheeling
branch. Through the simulation test of 10 kV voltage, the
SSB without the freewheeling branch’s breaking over-
voltage is up to 1.8 pu, and after increasing the free-
wheeling branch, the breaking over-voltage is reduced to
1.2 pu, Therefore, the freewheeling branch support the
energy releasing channel, which not only significantly
suppress the breaking over-voltage, also clear the resid-
ual charge on the line, eliminating the hidden danger of
over-voltage when the SSB closing.
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