Busbar Protection

Busbars in the generating stations and sub-stations form important link between the incoming and outgoing circuits. If a fault occurs on a busbar, considerable damage and disruption of supply will occur unless some form of quick-acting automatic protection is provided to isolate the faulty busbar. The busbar zone, for the purpose of protection, includes not only the busbars themselves but also the isolating switches, circuit breakers and the associated connections. In the event of fault on any section of the busbar, all the circuit equipments connected to that section must be tripped out to give complete isolation.The standard of construction for busbars has been very high, with the result that bus faults are extremely rare. However, the possibility of damage and service interruption from even a rare bus fault is so great that more attention is now given to this form of protection. Improved relaying methods have been developed, reducing the possibility of incorrect operation. The two most commonly used schemes for busbar protection are:
(i) Differential protection (ii) Fault bus protection

(i) Differential Protection

The basic method for busbar protection is the differential scheme in which currents entering and leaving the bus are totalized. During normal load condition, the sum of these currents is equal to zero. When a fault occurs, the fault current upsets the balance and produces a differential current to operate a relay. Fig. shows the single line diagram of current differential scheme for a station busbar. The busbar is fed by a generator and supplies load to two lines. The secondaries of current transformers in the generator lead, in line 1 and in line 2 are all connected in parallel. The protective relay is connected across this parallel connection. All CTs must be of the same ratio in the scheme regardless of the capacities of the various circuits. Under normal load conditions or external fault conditions, the sum of the currents entering the bus is equal to those leaving it and no current flows through the relay. If a fault occurs within the protected zone, the currents entering the bus will no longer be equal to those leaving it. The difference of these currents will flow through the relay and cause the opening of the generator, circuit breaker and each of the line circuit breakers.

(ii) Fault Bus protection

It is possible to design a station so that the faults that develop are mostly earth-faults. This can be achieved by providing earthed metal barrier (known as fault bus) surrounding each conductor throughout its entire length in the bus structure. With this arrangement, every fault that might occur must involve a connection between a conductor and an earthed metal part. By directing the flow of earth-fault current, it is possible to detect the faults and determine their location. This type of protection is known as fault bus protection. Fig. show the schematic arrangement of fault bus protection. The metal supporting structure or fault bus is earthed through a current transformer. A relay is connected across the secondary of this CT. Under normal operating conditions, there is no current flow from fault bus to ground and the relay remains inoperative. A fault involving a connection between a conductor and earthed supporting structure will result in current flow to ground through the fault bus, causing the relay to operate. The operation of relay will trip all breakers connecting equipment to the bus.

 “Power system” by V.K. MEHTA.

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