This paper examines existing and future direct current (DC) distribution systems with a wide range of applications in data centers, telecommunication systems, commercial buildings, residential homes, electric vehicles, spacecraft, and aircrafts. DC distribution systems have many advantages and disadvantages over their alternating current (AC) counterparts. There are a few surviving examples of DC distribution systems; among them are the telecommunication systems and data centers that use the low-voltage 48 Vdc systems. However, recently, there has been a move towards higher DC bus voltages. In this paper, a comparative study of different DC distribution architectures and bus structures is presented and voltage level selection is discussed for maximizing system efficiency and reliability, reducing system costs, and increasing the flexibility of the system for future expansion. Furthermore, DC distribution systems are investigated from a safety standpoint and the current global market for these distribution systems is also discussed.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Keywords and Phrases

Bus Structure; Cost; DC Distribution System; Power Architectures; Protection; Reliability; Safety; Voltage Level

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1996-1073; 1996-1073

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2018 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2018