News & Events-Safety cases to support novel circuit breaker solution

Systems and engineering technology company, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, is to produce safety cases for two new circuit breakers in development by UK Power Networks.

Frazer-Nash is providing support to the distribution network operator's Powerful CB project. These devices offer a novel, power-electronics-based solution to help connect 'distributed generation' (electricity generators such as solar and wind farms, biomass or combined heat and power installations), so they can export power through local electricity networks.

The devices are 20 times faster than a conventional circuit breaker and allow the first peak of a fault current to be blocked. This high speed operation provides extra protection for the electricity network, allowing more distributed generation to connect before the local electricity network needs to be upgraded.

Business Manager, Anuj Nayyar of Frazer-Nash explains:

"Fault Limiting Circuit Breakers (FLCBs) are devices that aim to resolve the fault level constraints that can restrict the connection of power generators to DG systems. They have a number of benefits - they are affordable; can be retrofitted into substations or customer's premises; and could save customers millions of pounds.

"We previously carried out a safety case feasibility study on these devices, and the actual safety cases will address the factors highlighted by this study, as well as ensuring regulatory requirements are satisfied. Safety cases are used to ensure that the risk of the device affecting the operation or safety of the electricity distribution network is as low as reasonably practicable, and are particularly important for novel devices such as these."

The two devices are being trialled by UK Power Networks as part of constant efforts to ensure reliable power supplies for its eight million customers across the East, South East and London. The trial will identify their suitability in different configurations, and provide data on their performance.

Funding for UK Power Networks project was secured from The Network Innovation Competition, administered by Ofgem.