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Harmonic Distortion in Power Stations

Due to F erroresonance
l 2 3 4
Dieter Braun , Maurizio Delfanti , Mirko Palazzo , Riccardo Zich

],3ABB Switzerland Ltd


8050 Zurich, Switzerland
'dieter.braun@ch.abb.com
3mirko.palazzo@ch.abb.com

2,4
Department ofEnergy. Politecnico di Milano
20156 Milan, Italy
2maurizio.delfanti@polimi.it
4riccardo.zich@polimi.it

Abstract-In a three-phase system with isolated neutral stator winding is grounded via a high resistance resistor. The
ferroresonance is a periodic displacement of the neutral low-voltage windings of the step-up transformer and the high
potential. These so called relaxation oscillations are caused by voltage windings of the unit auxiliary transformer are delta
discharging and recharging of the capacitances to the ground via
connected.
magnetising inductances of e.g. single-pole insulated voltage
transformers and the periodic repetition of this process. As a
consequence, high saturation currents flow through the primary
HV-System
windings of the voltage transformers heating up these windings
and often leading to the destruction of the voltage transformer.
The non-linear phase-to-ground inductance of voltage
transformers and the phase-to-ground capacitance form an
oscillatory circuit which may be kicked on by a switching event,
e.g. an earth-fault followed by a self-extinction of the fault
current. The present paper specifically investigates the possible
occurrence of ferroresonance in power stations where a
generator circuit-breaker is employed. The effects of harmonic
Step-Up Transformer
distortion due to ferroresonance are thoroughly investigated and
different mitigation measures are analysed.

I. INTRODUCTION
Unit Auxiliary
Ferroresonance is typically a periodic displacement of the Transformer

neutral potential of a three-phase system with an isolated


neutral. These so called relaxation oscillations are caused by
discharging and recharging of the capacitances to the ground
via magnetising inductances of e.g. single-pole insulated
voltage transformers and the periodic repetition of this process.
As a consequence high saturation currents flow through the
primary windings of the voltage transformers heating up these
windings and often leading to the destruction of the voltage
transformer. The non-linear phase-to-ground inductance of
Generator
voltage transformers and the phase-to-ground capacitance
form an oscillatory circuit which may be kicked on by an
Fig. I Typical electrical layout of a power station with GenCB
earth-fault followed by self-extinction of the fault current.
The present paper specifically investigates the possible The GeneB is designed and tested according to [1] and its
occurrence of ferroresonance in power stations where a amendment [2]. In this Standard the parameters of the
generator circuit-breaker (hereinafter GeneS) is employed. transient recovery voltage (hereinafter TRV) to be applied
A GeneB is a circuit-breaker specifically designed to be during the testing of the interrupting performance of a GeneB
installed in a power station between the generator and the (system-source short-circuit current, generator-source short
associated step-up transformer. The electrical layout of the circuit current, out-of-phase current switching and load
power station considered for this purpose is depicted in Fig. 1. current switching) are defined. On the other side those TRV
It consists of a generator connected to a two-winding step-up requirements are very severe both with respect to the rate-of
transformer via a GeneB. The star point of the generator rise and the time delay and it is therefore necessary to use

978-1-4577-1559-4/12/$26.00 20121EEE 101


devices which help to mitigate the effects of the TRV on the the total system capacitance to ground (per phase);
interrupting performance of a GenCs. In conjunction with the the rated voltage factor of voltage transformers;
circuit-breaker capacitors are used to reduce the rate-of-rise of the resistance of the primary winding of voltage
the TRV from the very high prospective values (and at the transformers.
same time to increase the time delay from the very low
prospective values) to values the GenCB can cope with. The The saturation inductance and the capacitance to ground
capacitors are therefore to be considered as an integral part of determine whether relaxation oscillations occur and, if
the GenCB and may not be omitted. In the given case the occurring, at which harmonic.
GenCB is equipped with capacitors installed phase to ground The rated voltage factor of a voltage transformer is the
at the GenCB terminals and having a capacitance value of 130 multiplying factor to be applied to the rated primary voltage to
nF per phase on each side of the GenCs. determine the maximum voltage at which a voltage
The frequency of relaxation oscillations depends largely on transformer must comply with the relevant thermal
the phase-to-ground capacitance of the relevant circuit; in the requirements for a specified time and with the relevant
considered case the capacitors with a capacitance of 130 nF accuracy requirements [3]. Decreasing the rated voltage factor
each are the key elements. the saturation occurs at a lower voltage. This means that the
system more easily falls into the oscillatory state; on the other
II. CONDITIONS FOR THE OCCURRENCE OF FERRORESONANCE
hand the discharge peak currents in the primary windings of
IN POWER STATIONS
the voltage transformers are slightly smaller than at a higher
The conditions to be fulfilled for the occurrence of rated voItage factor.
ferroresonance in power stations, in particular in the generator Finally the resistance of the primary winding of a voltage
main bus, are: transformer has a damping effect, and in some cases it is high
system with isolated neutral; enough to prevent the occurrence of relaxation oscillations.
inductive voltage transformers connected phase to
ground; IV. SIMULATIONS
capacitance to ground within certain limits; The simulations have been carried out with the software
low ohmic losses; EMTP [4].
kick-on event; normally a switching operation (e.g. a A particular attention has to be paid to the model used for
transient earth-fault). voltage transformers. The non-linear magnetising
characteristic of those components has to be modelled with a
To remain stationary the oscillation of the neutral potential high degree of accuracy, and the most important quantity to
further needs a periodic excitation by the three-phase system. take into account with care is the air-core inductance.
In power stations with GenCBs a distinction has to be made In the simulations it has been assumed that an earth-fault
between the case when the GenCB is closed and the case followed by self-extinction of the fault current occurs between
when the GenCB is open. With the GenCB closed, no the GenCB and the step-up transformer when the GenCB is in
ferroresonance can occur because the system composed by the the open position.
generator, the low-voltage windings of the step-up transformer The results depicted in Fig. 2 clearly show the presence of
and the high-voltage windings of the unit auxiliary ferroresonance. The second subharmonic oscillations are
transformer is a resistively grounded system. One of the stationary. Those subharmonics cause overvoltages of2 p.u.
prerequisites for ferroresonance to occur, the presence of an Immediately after self-extinction high saturation currents
isolated neutral, is therefore not present. develop in the primary winding of the voltage transformers
With the GenCB open, ferroresonance can occur on the with a correspondingly high energy absorption. The voltage
transformer-side of the open GenCB when the part of the across the open delta formed by the residual voltage windings
system comprising the low-voltage windings of the step-up of a set of voltage transformers corresponds to the zero
transformer and the high-voltage windings of the unit sequence voltage; it exhibits stable amplitude and a frequency
auxiliary transformer is energised from the high-voltage grid which is 0.5 times the power frequency. The periodic
as this system becomes a system with an isolated neutral displacement of the potential of the system neutral is depicted
under these circumstances. On the other side no in Fig. 3. The energy absorbed by the voltage transformer is
ferroresonance can occur on the generator-side of the open constantly increasing.
GenCB as that part of the system remains grounded via the The problem with subharmonic oscillations is the high
grounding resistor connected to the generator star point. currents in the primary winding of the voltage transformers
and the danger of their thermal destruction. The current
III. PARAMETERS INFLUENCING THE OCCURRENCE OF flowing through the primary winding of the voltage
FERRORESONANCE transformers shows high harmonic distortion due to the non
The main parameters influencing the occurrence of linear magnetising characteristics as depicted in Fig. 4.
ferroresonance are:
the air core inductance (saturation inductance) of
voltage transformers;

102
50,0
the introduction of a suitable resistor inserted in the
[kVJ
37.5 open delta of residual voltage windings of voltage
transformers;
25.0
a suitable ferroresonance damping device inserted in
12.5 the open delta of residual voltage windings of voltage
transformers.
0.0

,2.5 A burden connected to the secondary winding of a voltage


transformer might have a mitigating effect in certain cases for
,25.0
relaxation oscillations at the first harmonic or higher. On the
37.5 other side a burden even if it is equal to the rated burden of the
voltage transformer has practically no damping effect on
-50.0
0.0 0,' 0,2 0,3 0.4 lei 0.5
second subharmonic relaxation oscillations. Except for rather
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special cases this measure is therefore not suitable to prevent
Fig, 2 Phase-to-ground voltage at the primary side of a set of voltage the occurrence of ferroresonance and therefore it will not be
transformers (case without damping device) investigated further for the present work.
500 ,-------, A resistor inserted in the open delta of the residual voltage
M windings of a set of voltage transformers damps exclusively
375
the zero sequence system and hence is a very efficient
250 countermeasure against ferroresonance. The smaller the
resistance the more efficient damping is achieved. It must
'25
however be emphasised that in case of a persistent earth-fault
a stationary current of flows in the resistor. This current may
attain considerable values and the corresponding power can be
" 25
absorbed by the resistor only for a limited time. The thermal

250
limit rating of the voltage transformer may be exceeded, too.
Therefore earth-faults must be cleared quickly in this case.
375 The mitigating effects brought about by the use of a damping
resistor of 35 [2 (typical value used to mitigate ferroresonance
.500 +----,---,-----.--.--4
0,0 0,' 0,2 0.3 0.4 (5) 0.5 oscillations in power stations) installed in the open delta
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formed by the residual voltage windings of the voltage
Fig, 3 Voltage across the open delta formed by the residual voltage windings transformers is depicted in Fig. 5.
of a set of voltage transformers (case without damping device)

5,00,------, 5.00 ,-------,

(A) (A)
3.75 3.75

2.50 2.50

2.50

3,75 -3.75

.s.oo +----,----r---r---,--i 5.00+-----.--r--.--,---,--I


0.0 0.' 0.2 0,3 0,4 (sl 0.5 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.' [5) 0.5
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Fig, 4 Current flowing through the primary winding of a set of voltage Fig, 5 Current flowing through the primary winding of a set of voltage
transformers (case without damping device) transformers (case with a 35 [2 resistor)

V. MEASURES TO PREVENT THE OCCURRENCE OF The relaxation oscillations are damped and the saturation
FERRORESONANCE currents stop flowing through the voltage transformers after
several milliseconds.
The following measures to prevent the occurrence of
A more efficient damping is achieved with a damping
ferroresonance can be considered:
resistor of 25 [2 as shown in Fig. 6. Special attention should
the presence of a burden connected to the secondary
be paid to the fact that the power to be absorbed during a
winding of the voltage transformers;
persistent earth-fault would require a high thermal capacity of

103
the resistor. Hence a higher resistance value would be the generator main bus of power stations ferroresonance can
advantageous but it might not be able to damp the relaxation occur only on the transformer-side of a GenCB when this
oscillations. circuit-breaker is open and when the system comprising the
low-voltage windings of the step-up transformer and the high
5.001-.-------
voltage windings of the unit auxiliary transformer is energised
[A)
3.75 from the high-voltage grid.
The analysis shows the presence of a ferroresonance
2.50
characterised by stationary second subharmonic oscillations
1.25
causing overvoltages of2 p.u.
The problem dealing with subharmonic oscillations is the
o.o0t--nrr""'--rrr".L..n-r-"'--------------- high currents in the primary winding of the voltage

-1.25
transformers and the danger of their thermal destruction.
With the employment of a damping resistor of 35 n in the
open delta formed by the residual voltage windings of the
-3.75 voltage transformers the subharmonic oscillations are damped
and the saturation currents stop flowing through the voltage
. 5 00+:--
. - --.- - --,- -- r- - ,.---- --.-- --,- -- r-- ,.---
- --.-- transformers after several milliseconds. A more efficient
0 .0 0.1 0,2 0,3 0.4 [.) 0.5
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damping is achieved with a damping resistor of 25 n, thus
Fig, 6 Current flowing through the primary winding of a set of voltage confirming that the smaller the resistance the more efficient
transformers (case with a 25 [2 resistor) damping is obtained. On the other hand special attention

A more effective solution for the damping of subharmonic should be paid to the fact that the power to be absorbed during
a persistent earth-fault would require a high thermal capacity
relaxation oscillations is a damping device. It consists of a
of the resistor.
saturable coil (damping coil) with a resistive component
A more effective solution for the damping of subharmonic
shunted by a 90 (2 resistor [5]. Fig. 7 shows very impressively
relaxation oscillations is a damping device consisting of a
the effect of such a damping device. For second subharmonic
saturable coil with a resistive component paralleled by a 90 (2
voltages the inductance saturates and absorbs active power
sufficient to damp out the relaxation oscillations. This power resistor. For second subharmonic voltages the inductance

is dissipated in the resistance associated with the damping coil. saturates and absorbs active power sufficient to damp out the
relaxation oscillations. This power is dissipated in the
The saturation currents associated to relaxation oscillations
resistance associated with the damping coil. The saturation
disappear immediately. An additional advantage of such a
currents associated to relaxation oscillations disappear
solution compared to a simple resistor is that for power
immediately. An additional advantage of such a solution
frequency voltages, i.e. in case of persistent earth-faults, the
compared to a simple resistor is that for power frequency
saturable inductance works in the linear range of the
voltages, i.e. in case of persistent earth-faults, the saturable
magnetising characteristic and carries only a small current
inductance works in the linear range of the magnetising
thus avoiding any thermal overloading of the voltage
characteristic and carries only a small current thus avoiding
transformer as well as of the inductance itself.
any thermal overloading of the voltage transformer as well as
5.00,------, of the inductance itself.
[AI No ferroresonance can occur on the generator-side of the
3,75
open GenCB as that part of the system remains grounded via
2.50 the grounding resistor connected to the generator star point.
Also, no ferroresonance can occur when the GenCB is
1.25
closed as the system comprising the generator, the low
0,00 hA 'i' voltage windings of the step-up transformer and the high
voltage windings of the unit auxiliary transformer is a
1.25 I resistively grounded system.
-2,50
REFERENCES
-3,75
[I] IEEE Standard for AC High-Voltage Generator Circuit Breakers Rated
on a Symmetrical Current Basis, IEEE Standard C37,013-1997
.5,001-----,----,--,---.------,------,---,-----.----,------j (R2008),
0.0 0.1 0.2 0,3 0.4 lsi 0.5
(file rerror8s0n.once.pl4; x-var 1) c:XOO04AXOOO5A c;XOOO4BXOOO5B c;XOOO4CXOOOSC [2 ] IEEE Standard for AC High-Voltage Generator Circuit Breakers Rated
on a Symmetrical Current Basis - Amendment I: Supplement for Use
Fig, 7 Current flowing through the primary winding of a set of voltage with Generators rated 10-100 MVA, IEEE Standard C37,013a-2007,
transformers (case with damping device)
[3] Instrument transformers - Part 3: Additional requirements for
inductive voltage transformers, IEC 61869-3, Edition 1.0,
VI. CONCLUSIONS [4] Canadian/American EMTP User Group: ATP Rule Book, 1987-1992,
[5] "Damping Inductance Device DE6 data sheet", Ritz Messwandler
The possible occurrence of ferroresonance in power
GmbH, Germany,
stations where a GenCB is employed has been investigated. In

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