Interaction of DC-DC converters and submarine power cables in offshore wind farm DC networks
Wood, Thomas Benedict
Offshore wind power is attracting increasing levels of research and investment. The use of HVDC transmission and the development of DC grids are topics with similar high levels of interest that go hand in hand with the development of large scale, far from shore wind farms. Despite increased capital cost of some components, DC power transmission can have significant advantages over AC transmission, in particular in the offshore environment. These advantages are well established for large scale, long distance point to point transmission. This thesis assesses the suitability of a multi-terminal DC power collection network, with short cables and relatively small amounts of power, addresses a number of the technical challenges in realising such a network and shows methods for overall system cost reduction. Technical and modelling challenges result from the interaction between power electronic DC-DC converters and the cables in a DC transmission network. In particular, the propagation of the ripple current in bipole DC transmission cables constructed with a metallic sheath and armour is examined in detail. The finite element method is used to predict the response of the cable to the ripple current produced by the converters. These results are used along with wave propagation theory to demonstrate that cable design plays a crucial role in the behaviour of the DC system. The frequency dependent cable models are then integrated with time domain DC-DC converter models. The work in the thesis is, broadly, in two parts. First, it is demonstrated that care and accuracy are required in modelling the cables in the DC transmission system and appropriate models are implemented and validated. Second, these models are combined with DC-DC converter models and used to demonstrate the practicality of the DC grid, make design recommendations and assess its suitability when compared with alternative approaches (e.g. AC collection and/or transmission).