A Method for Fault Location in Single-Phase Microgrids


Microgrids are small scale versions of large-scale electrical utilities with the capability of servicing smaller areas such as residential communities, industrial zones, military bases and other self-contained enterprises. Automatic and quick identification of fault location in microgrids is required in many situations for maintenance efficiency and operation cost saving, such as in military and missioncritical scenarios. Automatic fault detection is also important in situations in which power lines are buried underground or implanted in a structure due to the visual inspection of lines in these situations being cost-prohibitive or impossible.

Lehigh University has developed an automated method capable of locating faults that could disrupt microgrid operation. The novel method incorporates an algorithm that uses data such as approximated linear relationships between the signal, the sensor and the distance between the sensor and fault location to pinpoint the fault location. The method could be integrated into a software module for existing control centers, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, or energy management systems.

Competitive Advantages

1. Provides quick and cost-effective automated fault detection

2. Locates the fault with an average localization error of less than 10 percent

4. Can be integrated into existing infrastructure and does not require additional investment for new equipment

5. Effective even when the single-phase microgrid suffers load fluctuation


Electric utilities are integrating smart grid technology into their infrastructure to enable independent and dedicated power supply to customers. Smart grid technology implementation also helps in enabling faster recovery from outages caused by storms, hurricanes and other natural disasters. As the deployment of smart grid technology increases, the ability to deliver reliable power distribution to the consumers becomes critical.

Smart grid technology, and more specifically microgrid technology is an attractive market opportunity. The revenue generated from the installation of microgrids is expected to increase to approximately $40 billion in 2020 with microgrids generating more than four gigawatts of power by 2020. Improvements in power outage detection and repairs, specifically as it relates microgrids, are beneficial to both the utility companies and the consumers.

Lehigh Tech ID # 103014-01

Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license. The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies.

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 62/199,465 7/31/2015   7/31/2016
For Information, Contact:
Alan Snyder
VP, Research & Grad Programs
Lehigh University
Liang Cheng
Jiajun Duan
Kaifeng Zhang