This paper provides a pragmatic solution to the challenge of testing fault current interruption of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) circuit breakers (CBs). The critical parameters in the design of a test circuit capable of supplying the necessary stresses: current, energy and voltage (both during and after interruption) are discussed. In addition, a practical implementation of a test circuit based on ac short-circuit generators operated at low power frequency, which is capable of testing the current interruption performance of the proposed technologies of HVDC CBs, is discussed.
Tests validating the proposed method and circuit have been conducted on a prototype of an HVDC CB and the test results are presented. Because the performance of some technologies of HVDC CBs can depend on the magnitude of the interrupted current, four test duties are defined and demonstrated in the paper. Moreover, testing of HVDC CBs using ac short-circuit generators poses new challenges such as the application of dielectric dc stress after current interruption, and the protection of both the test-object as well as the test-circuit components when the HVDC CB fails to interrupt. Methods to overcome these challenges are developed and practically demonstrated in a test laboratory.
Finally, taking into account the available resources of the author’s test laboratory, the capability to test multiple series connected modules of different technologies of HVDC CBs is verified and example cases are demonstrated. Six short-circuit generators (13500 MVA @ 50 Hz) and up to ten step-up transformers (up to 550 kV) were actually used.