Designing shipboard electrical distribution systems for optimal reliability

Stevens, McKay Benjamin
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Analysis was performed to quantify and compare the reliability of several different notional shipboard DC distribution system topologies in serving their equipment loads. Further, the relationship between the relative placement of loads and generators within a distribution system and the system’s reliability was investigated, resulting in an algorithmically-derived optimal placement configuration in the system topology found to be the most reliable in the initial analysis. Using Markov models and fault-tree analysis, system reliability indices were derived from distribution system component reliability indices, and these values were compared between competing topologies and equipment configurations. A distribution system based on the breaker-and-a-half topology often used in terrestrial utility substations was found to be superior in terms of reliability to the currently-standard ring bus topology. Expected rates of service interruptions to equipment systems served by the breaker-and-a-half system were reduced overall, in some cases dropping dramatically to less than one expected interruption per 10,000 years. This improvement, however, came at the expense of requiring more circuit breakers in the distribution system’s construction. Within this breaker-and-a-half distribution system, an optimal placement of loads and generators was algorithmically derived, which further improved the reliability of the system. This improvement over the base case was marginal, but the optimized placement configuration was able to reduce the expected interruption rate of the ship’s radar system by over 40%.