PurposeDistribution network protection is a complicated problem and mal-operation of the protective relays due to false settings make the operation of the network unreliable. Besides, obtaining proper settings could be very complicated. This paper aims to discuss an innovative evolutionary Lightning Flash Algorithm (LFA) which is developed for solving the relay coordination problems in distribution networks. The proposed method is inspired from the movements of cloud to ground lightning strikes in a thunderstorm phenomenon. LFA is applied on three case study systems including ring, interconnected and radial distribution networks. The power flow analysis is performed in Digsilent Power Factory software; then the collected data are sent to MATLAB software for optimization process. The proposed algorithm provides optimum time multiplier setting and plug setting of all digital overcurrent relays in each system. The results are compared with other methods such as particle swarm optimization and genetic algorithm. The result comparisons demonstrate that the proposed LFA can successfully obtain proper relay settings in distribution networks with faster speed of convergence and lower total operation time of relays. Also, it shows the superiority and effectiveness of this method against other algorithms.Design/methodology/approachA novel LFA is designed based on the movements of cloud to ground lightning strikes in a thunderstorm. This method is used to optimally adjust the time multiplier setting and plug setting of the relays in distribution system to provide a proper coordination scheme.FindingsThe proposed algorithm was tested on three case study systems, and the results were compared with other methods. The results confirmed that the proposed method could optimally adjust the relay settings in the electric distribution system to provide a proper protection scheme.Practical implicationsThe practical implications can be conducted on distribution networks. The studies provided in this paper approve the practical application of the proposed method in providing proper relay protection in real power system.Originality/valueThis paper proposes a new evolutionary method derived from the movements of cloud to ground lightning strikes in thunderstorm. The proposed method can be used as an optimization toolbox to solve complex optimization problems in practical engineering systems.
Engineering Computations – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 8, 2018
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