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PFC units sizing in steel factory harmonics

environment: a case study


The installation of non linear loads determines the presence of current and voltage harmonics
and interharmonics. Components particularly sensitive to this kind of phenomena are power
factor correction equipments. This paper describes the design process of a centralized PFC
system under harmonic pollution conditions pointing out the key role of measurement
campaigns.
Angelo Baggini
Faculty of Engineering
University of Bergamo
Dalmine (BG), Italy
angelo.baggini@unibg.it
Franco Bua, Francesco Buratti, Alan Ascolari
ECD Engineering Consulting and Design
Pavia, Italy
franco.bua@ecd.it, francesco.buratti@ecd.it,
alan.ascolari@ecd.it
Abstract This paper deals with PFC units design related
problems in case of installation in harmonics rich environments:
in particular the paper contains an overview of sizing approach
used in a real case of PFC units design for installation in a steel
factory where new PFC units installation has been necessary
after a fault with catastrophic consequences for the existing ones.
The document contains a report on stresses calculation on PFC
units due to harmonic currents generated by non linear loads
installed in the above mentioned plant. Plant load, estimated to
be around 80 MVA, is formed by a big amount of small loads fed
by power converters: this is a big disturbance source for the
installation in terms of harmonic content.
In particular, due to the usual lack of real harmonics contents
data availability, main issue has been the process of definition of
a generic harmonic distortion for installed loads, based on power
converters installed and literature available data on power
converters spectra and its on field verification for PFC optimal
design, with three measurement campaigns aiming to verify real
harmonic distortion and series and parallel resonance risk.
This kind of problem is really actual and, most of all, is
constantly growing also in other industries, not only in steel
factories where harmonics content has always been a key
problem. Now, due to the continuous increase of power converter
usage and equipment power consumption, and mostly to the
increase of equipment disturbances sensitiveness, to avoid
potentially tragic faults, a deep measurement campaign is the key
solution at PFC units design stage, also considering the usual lack
of data on installation harmonic distortion.
The experience described in this paper constitutes the first
detailed example of on-field verification of harmonic
disturbances effects on two 8.4 Mvar, 13 kV PFC units in a
harmonics critical environment aiming first of all at a detailed
fault analysis (referred to pre-existent PFC Units) and then to a
correct new unit design.
In the paper the different design stages and related issues are
described, including: installation network analysis, load analysis,
harmonic distortion evaluation, PFC units stresses analysis, PFC
units sizing, on field stresses verification.
This work highlights the strong need for deep measurements
campaigns in harmonics rich industrial environment as the only
way, in addition to a correct distortion pre-analysis aiming to a
careful PFC design strategy to prevent potentially catastrophic
faults.
Keywords- PFC, Harmonics, Case study, Non linear loads,
Measurements
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I. INTRODUCTION
The presence of harmonics in industrial plants nowadays is
constantly increasing and therefore its becoming a key issue
for designers when sizing PFC systems. In particular, a
measurement campaign should be carried out before the design
stage in order to simplify design activity: in this situation,
component sizing is performed on the basis of reliable data and
not on literature available data which usually may not be
corresponding to the real conditions of the system.
In particular, this paper contains an overview of sizing
approach used in a real case of PFC units design for installation
in a steel factory where new PFC units installation has been
necessary after a fault with catastrophic consequences for the
existing ones.
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM
The plant serving a steelworks is fed by an overhead HV
(220kV) line through two HV/MV 220/10.95 kV transformers,
with rated power equal to 30/40 MVA (ONAN/ONAF).The
MV network has a radial scheme and cable connections.
Figure 1. Scheme of the plant
Several non linear loads are installed inside the plant, most of
them being six-pulse and twelve-pulse power converter having
different rated power and feeding the production plant
machineries.
Production line has been designed and realized for processing
products with different dimensions, which means that its
possible to have different process types each one producing a
different harmonic spectrum.
Since this is a semiautomatic production line, the number of
products and their positions are random factors. The direct
consequence is a continuous and unforeseeable variation of the
harmonic spectrum in the plant.
III. DESIGN OF THE POWER FACTOR CORRECTION SYSTEM
On the basis of calculations performed in order to determine
the required reactive power system, the buyer asked for the
installation of two three phase units, each one with rated
power equal to 8400 kvar at 13kV.
The choice of a double unit is related to the fact that the plant
usually foresee one day per week programmed stops, thus
varying the absorption of reactive power in comparison with
working days.
Among the project data the buyer supplied for PFC system
design only the plant single-wire scheme and a list of main
transformers feeding the existing loads in the steel factory.
A. Calculation of thermal and dielectric stresses
Since no data related to harmonic pollution was available,
the waveform to be used for calculations has been assumed on
the basis of:
type of converter;
literature data for installed converters typical spectra [2].
Since the load is formed by several small power VSDs and
since it was not possible to know phase angles, the overall
current calculation has been made through the sum of the
RMS values of the components with the same frequency
according to two methodologies:
arithmetical sum, as if the harmonics had identical phase
angle (limit and worst situation);
as a square root of the sum of square values, assuming that
some components were compensated by others because of
the phase angles. It is important to remember that this
method, though without any theoretical basis, is used in
common practice and largely adopted in technical
literature [8].
Considering the nature of plant loads it has been decided to
adopt a detuned PFC system with three single phase series
reactors. The choice of the unit characteristics has been made
by comparing stresses resulting on the capacitors due to
voltage harmonics coming from non linear loads, calculated
considering three different tunings which are commonly used
for this type of installations.
189 Hz (Case A);
204 Hz (Case B);
210 Hz (Case C).
Calculation of thermal and dielectric stresses on the PFC
unit has been performed with a mathematical model (based on
circuit in Figure 2. ) of the whole system for each one of the
tuning frequencies.
Authorized licensed use limited to: UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL DE CAMPINAS. Downloaded on November 27, 2008 at 13:41 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.
Figure 2. Circuit model.
Parameters shown in Figure 2. are:
- I
hL
is h
th
load harmonic current;
- L
N
; R
N
are network parameters at PCC;
- I
hN
is h
th
harmonic current;
- L, C are PFC unit parameters;
- I
hf
is h
th
harmonic in PFC unit.
B. Calculation of the resonance frequency
When designing a PFC system a preliminary verification of
the absence of potential resonance phenomena is always
necessary. In this case short circuit power of the network has
been calculated on the basis of the available information,
assuming that transformer short circuit voltage is referred to the
rated power highest value among the ones stated for the
different refrigeration systems, as specified by the standard EN
60076-1 [3].
The value of short circuit power equal to 273.25 MVA has
been calculated through the equation (1) on the basis of data
shown in TABLE V.
l cc
T
l cc
T
cc
Z
V
V
S
Z
V
V
S
S
2
2
+

= (1)
where:
S
T
is transformer rated power;
V
cc
is transformer short circuit voltage (in p.u.);
V is system rated voltage;
Z
l
: line impedance between transformer and PFC units.
The resonance frequencies calculated for the different
configurations assumed are shown in TABLE I.
TABLE I. RESONANCE FREQUENCY
Data Case A Case B Case C
Units
connected
1 2 1 2 1 2
Resonance
frequency
(Hz)
169.5 155.0 179.9 162.7 183.9 165.6
The resonance frequencies calculated have values
comprised between the 3
rd
and the 4
th
harmonic order. On the
basis of the harmonic spectrum of six pulse and twelve
pulse converters found in literature [2] it has been possible to
verify the absence of resonance phenomena, because the
harmonics generated by these converters have usually only
frequency components higher than 250 Hz.
C. Choice of the parameters of the PFC system
On the basis of simulation results reported in TABLE I. and
after evaluation of related stresses on the units, as shown in
TABLE II. TABLE IV. for one unit energized, case C,
referring to the previous considered scenarios, the decision
adopted has been the realization of the PFC system tuned on
210 Hz. This choice gives a higher safety margin to avoid
resonance phenomena, even if its consequence is a slight
increase in the sizing of the components. This solution anyway
allows the adoption of smaller reactors, with a benefit in terms
of reduced losses.
Also for reactor thermal sizing, considering the uncertainty
on the real harmonic contents of the system, oversizing
approach has been adopted in order to obtain a higher safety
margin.
TABLE II. PFCUNIT TOTAL CURRENTS (2 UNITS) RESULTS REFER TO 1
UNIT.
Case C Current components
PFC Network
Fundamental (A) 317.6 IN
5th (A) 33.5 32.4
7th (A) 15.7 33.0
11th (A) 9.3 26.1
13th (A) 6.8 20.1
Total (A)* 320 57 + IN
* Calculated as quadratic sum of all contributions for each frequency.
TABLE III. PFCUNITS TOTAL CURRENTS (1 UNIT).
Case C Current components
PFC Network
Fundamental (A) 317.6 IN
5th (A) 50.6 48.9
7th (A) 20.7 43.6
11th (A) 11.7 33.0
13th (A) 8.6 25.2
Total (A)* 322.6 77.5 + IN
* Calculated as quadratic sum of all contributions for each frequency.
TABLE IV. PFCUNIT VOLTAGE STRESSES (IN CASE OF 2 UNITS, RESULTS
REFER TO 1 UNIT).
Capacitor voltage
components
Case C
Number of units 1 2
Fundamental (kV) 11,66 11,66
5th (kV) 0,214 0,142
7th (kV) 0,063 0,048
11th (kV) 0,022 0,018
13th (kV) 0,014 0,011
Total Algebric Sum (kV) 12,20 12,04
Total Quadr. Sum (kV) 11,67 11,67
On the basis of calculations made, it has been proposed to
install a PFC system divided into two units, each one as double
unbalanced star (3+2) with the possibility to easily modify the
tuning frequency to approximately 225 Hz, through the
adoption of a further capacitor per phase and per section and
the addition of a second couple of units tuned on a frequency
between the 11th and the 13th harmonic. The main data are
shown on TABLE V.
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TABLE V. MAIN UNIT DATA
Units 2
Rated voltage (kV) 13
Rated frequency (Hz) 50
Rated power (kvar) 8400
Capacity (F) 150.21
Inductance (mH) 3.83
Inductance thermal current (A) 600
Unit type Double Y
Tuning frequency (Hz) 210
It should be pointed out that the choice of this PFC system
brings several advantages. Besides advantages coming from the
detuning inductance being a filter for the harmonics present in
the network, it limits remarkably the inrush current avoiding
then component stresses.
The problem of inrush current should always be considered
when sizing PFC units mainly in situations where frequent
switching are foreseen (in this plant it has been estimated to
have at least 52 switches per year).
IV. MEASUREMENT CAMPAIGNS
Because of the uncertainty of the harmonic spectrum due to
continuous load variations, and then on the related stresses of
the PFC system, some measurement campaigns have been
carried out on the installation in order to verify the most
important system parameters, i.e.:
voltage on the units (RMS and peak values);
currents on the units (RMS and peak values);
voltage and current harmonics (odd and even ones, up to
the 15th component);
active, reactive and apparent power.
Before system energization, visual controls have been made
aiming to monitor system installation activities and to avoid
unbalance generated by improper installation of cables. During
the installation of PFC units, measurements of inrush transients
have been carried out in order to verify the effectiveness, in
terms of current limitation, of the inductance installed in series
with the PFC unit. All parameters have been monitored
continuously through the use of a three phase network analyzer,
for the whole duration of the measurement campaigns.
Therefore it has been possible to monitor and record the
harmonic spectrum absorbed by the PFC units, both with
process plant idle and with plant working on different products.
Measurements have been carried out either with a single group
and with both groups connected.
A. Analysis of the results
The duration and the peak values of the inrush currents
measured during the first switch-on resulted to be lower than
the values estimated at design stage. However it has to be
pointed out that calculations made for inrush current pick value
evaluation have been performed with reference to the worst
case in terms of switching time, because it is not possible to
know supply voltage phase angle at the switching time when
the measurement is performed.
As expected, monitoring has shown a continuous variation
of the electrical parameters observed, not only for what
concerns harmonics, but also in terms of supply voltage (Figure
3. ). A variation of the total harmonic distortion (Figure 4. ) and
of the various harmonic components has been observed (Figure
5. and Figure 6. ), either in case of different products or during
manufacturing of identical items but with different positions in
the production line.
It is important to point out that a not negligible third
harmonic component has been found: this component had not
been foreseen at design stage because the harmonic spectrum
of this type of loads usually contains only components from the
fifth order upwards.
Figure 3. Typical phase to earth voltage shape measured on the three phases
Figure 4. Typical THDi measured on the three phases
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Figure 5. Typical 7th current harmonic component on the three phases
Figure 6. Typical 11
th
current harmonic component on the three phases
B. Stresses verification
On the basis of measurement campaign results obtained,
stresses on capacitors have been evaluated in the following
scenarios:
spectrum corresponding to the highest THD value
measured for each process type;
spectrum obtained by considering each harmonic
component highest value.
It is however necessary to specify that the combinations of
harmonic components used in scenario 2 have never been
observed contemporaneously.
Values related to scenario 1 are shown in TABLE VI.
Through the values of the harmonic currents measured, the
voltages on the capacitors for three different products
monitored have been then calculated.
TABLE VI. HIGHEST VALUES OF VOLTAGE HARMONICS MEASURED WITH
ONE OR TWO PFC GROUPS ENERGIZED
Harmonic component (%)
1
PFC
unit
THD 3
a
5
a
7
a
9
a
11
a
13
a
15
a
P1 26.36 6.6 25.3 6.6 0.9 5.5 3.4 0.7
P2 26.51 13.1 23.2 7.0 0.7 5.0 3.5 0.5
P3 27.06 7.5 25.7 7.4 0.7 5.0 3.7 0.4
Max 27.06 13.1 25.7 7.4 0.9 5.5 3.7 0.7
Harmonic component (%)
2
PFC
units THD 3
a
5
a
7
a
9
a
11
a
13
a
15
a
P1 21.87 16.3 18.5 5.3 0.8 5.3 3.7 0.5
P2 42.6 41.5 16.6 5.3 0.6 5.2 3.9 0.4
P3 32.4 31.4 18.6 6.1 0.8 4.9 4.1 0.3
Max 42.6 41.5 18.6 6.1 0.8 5.3 4.1 0.5
Var.
(%)
58 217 -28 -18 -10 -5 10 -22
The highest dielectric stresses calculated on the basis of
measurements results proved to be aligned with the capacitor
sizing calculations performed under the statistical assumption
of phase angle random differences among the harmonic
components (modelled by algebraic sum). The spectrum with
the highest values of each harmonic component measured on
the different product manufacturing processes monitored is
shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7. Current harmonic spectrum related to the highest values measured
In terms of thermal stresses it has been possible to observe
that the highest current (RMS value) measured showed to be
aligned with the value defined for thermal sizing of capacitors.
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V. CONCLUSIONS
The presence of harmonics in industrial plants nowadays
must be taken for granted, therefore it is necessary to take it
into consideration especially when sizing PFC systems. In
particular, mainly in existing installations as in the case
described in this paper, a measurement campaign carried out
before the design stage should simplify considerably the design
activity because the component sizing is performed on the basis
of reliable data and not on literature data which, as valid as
they can be, however may not be corresponding to the real
conditions of the system. On this issue its important to recall
that in the system described here, a third harmonic component
that had not been foreseen at design stage, has been found: its
possible the to assume that it is not produced by facility loads,
but by the network. Through an adequate preliminary
measurement campaign this not negligible issue would have
been taken into consideration. However it is important to
highlight that by having tuned the filter on a rather low
frequency it has been possible to obtain a relevant mitigation of
this third harmonic component in the system.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This article has been prepared with the support of LPQI
project (www.lpqi.org.). LPQI project has been funded by the
European Commission and ICA (International Copper
Association Ltd.). The authors point out does not necessarily
reflect the position of the European Community, nor does it
involve any responsibility on the part of the European
Community.
REFERENCES
[1] J. Arillaga, N. R. Watson: Power System Harmonics. Wiley, 2004.
[2] IEEE 519-1992 - Recommended Practices and Requirements for
Harmonic Control in Electrical Power Systems. Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers, 01-May-1992.
[3] IEC 60076-1 - Power transformers Part. 1 General.
[4] S. Fassbinder: Capacitors in Harmonic-Rich Environments. LPQI
Application Guide #3.1.2, http://www.lpqi.org.
[5] S. Fassbinder: Passive filters. LPQI Application Guide #3.3.1,
http://www.lpqi.org.
[6] D. Chapman: Harmonics - Causes and effects. LPQI Application Guide
#3.1, http://www.lpqi.org.
[7] F. Bua, G. Tacchi: Criteri di dimensionamento di batterie di rifasamento
in impianti caratterizzati dalla presenza di armoniche. Article available
on http://www.lpqi.org.
[8] R. C. Dugan, M. F. McGranaghan, S. Santoso, H. Wayne Beaty:
Electrical Power Systems Quality. McGraw Hill, 2002.
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