A review of technologies for MVDC circuit breakers

X. Pei, O. Cwikowski, D. S. Vilchis-Rodriguez, M. Barnes, A. C. Smith, R. Shuttleworth

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

161 Citations (SciVal)


Medium voltage direct current (MVDC) distribution networks have been considered for various applications, such as offshore wind farm collector systems, all-electric naval vessels, and aircraft. MVDC circuit breakers are a critical technology to directly manage faults in multi-terminal DC (MTDC) networks. However, DC current breaking is much more challenging than in AC systems because there is no natural zero-crossing of the current waveform to aid fault isolation. This paper reviews existing MVDC circuit breaker technologies and also discusses their advantages and disadvantages. This paper also introduces new topologies that can be applied in MVDC applications. The operation of several hybrid DC circuit breaker topologies with aided commutation is included. The paper illustrates that a hybrid DC circuit breaker with aided commutation can clear a fault within 2-5 msecs with low losses, this shows great potential for future MVDC applications. The implications for the practical design of commercial MVDC circuit breakers are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IECON 2016 - 42nd Annual Conference of the Industrial Electronics Society
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781509034741
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016
Event42nd Conference of the Industrial Electronics Society, IECON 2016 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 24 Oct 201627 Oct 2016


Conference42nd Conference of the Industrial Electronics Society, IECON 2016


  • DC circuit breaker
  • Hybrid circuit breaker
  • Mechanical circuit breaker
  • MVDC
  • Solid state circuit breaker
  • Superconducting


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