Thèse de doctorat
Résumé : This work takes place in the context of distribution power system protection and tries to improve the detection and location of earth faults. The protection problem is vast and many ideas emerge every year to enhance the reliability of the grid. The author has focused his energy into the compensated and isolated network protection in the specific case of single phase earth fault. This PhD thesis is divided in two main parts that might be considered as independent. The first part studies the detection of single phase earth fault and the second analyzes the fault location of such fault.

Pragmatism was asked during these three years because a product development was necessary especially regarding the fault detection problem. The first part of the thesis took 18 months of research and development to obtain a prototype of transient protection able to detect single phase earth fault in compensated and isolated network. The sensitivity of the algorithm has been emphasized regarding the fault impedance and to detect earth fault up to 5 kOhm depending on the network characteristic. The fault location problem has been much more theoretical although the problem links to the accuracy of the algorithm and its robustness regarding wrong fault location indication has been strongly considered.

Compensated networks and in some conditions isolated networks are distribution from 12 kV up to 110 kV mostly used in East and North Europe but also in China. Others areas also work with such networks but they also have others systems and they do not use them on all the territory. These networks have the particularity to obtain very small fault current in case of single phase earth fault. Low current means the difference between a faulty and a sound feeder is not significant. Therefore classic overcurrent protection is completely useless to protect the network, forcing the development of more complex algorithm. A possibility to overcome the problem of the small fault current is to develop a transient protection. The transient occurring at the beginning of the fault has strong information to distinguish a faulty from a sound feeder. In this work I have chosen to use not only the transient but also the steady state to get the best sensitivity.

Then the fault location has been investigated but the small information coming from the faulty feeder is not sufficient to have a precise enough position of the fault. Therefore, active system has been suggested to be implemented in the grid to increase the faulty current and have enough power for a precise location. Different existing algorithms based on the steady state at the nominal frequency are compared using a tool developed during this work. Recommendations are then made depending on the topology, the network parameters, the measurements precision, etc. Due to the complexities of the problem, a simulator has been coded in Matlab . The user of a possible fault location must then use this tool to understand and see the future fault location precision that he could obtain from different algorithm on his network.