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Possible solutions for power-system harmonics

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General rules of electrical installation design
Connection to the MV utility distribution network
Connection to the LV utility distribution network
MV and LV architecture selection guide for buildings
LV Distribution
Protection against electric shocks and electrical fires
Sizing and protection of conductors
LV switchgear: functions and selection
Overvoltage protection
Energy Efficiency in electrical distribution
Power Factor Correction
Power harmonics management
Characteristics of particular sources and loads
PhotoVoltaic (PV) installation
Residential premises and other special locations
ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
Measurement

Contents


Standard capacitors

The presence of harmonics in the supply voltage results in abnormally high current levels through the capacitors. An allowance is made for this by designing capacitors for an r.m.s. value of current equal to 1.3 times the nominal rated current. All series elements, such as connections, fuses, switches, etc., associated with the capacitors are similarly oversized, between 1.3 to 1.5 times the nominal ratings.

Standard capacitors can be used if the percentage of non-linear loads is lower than 10% (NLL ≤ 10%).

Capacitors with increased current rating

Capacitors with improved current capability ("heavy duty") can be used in order to increase the safety margin. The technology of these capacitors allows a higher overcurrent compared to what is strictly requested by the standards.

Another possibility is to use capacitors with increased rated current and voltage.

As the same reactive power must be generated, the capacitors must have the same capacitance.

With a rated voltage UN (higher than the system voltage U), the rated current IN and the rated power

QN will be given by the formulas:

\frac{I_N}{I}=\frac{U_N}{U} and \frac{Q_N}{Q}= \left ( \frac{U_N}{U} \right )^2

Capacitors with improved current rating can be used if the percentage of non-linear loads is lower than 20% (NLL ≤ 20%).

Connection of Power Factor Correction capacitors with detuned reactors

In order to attenuate the effects of harmonics (significant increase of capacitor current as well as high current and voltage distortion ), reactors should be associated to capacitors. Reactors and capacitors are configured in a series resonant circuit, tuned so that the series resonant frequency is below the lowest harmonic frequency present in the system (See Figure L31).

The use of detuned reactors thus prevents harmonic resonance problems, avoids the risk of overloading the capacitors and helps reduce voltage harmonic distortion in the network.

Fig. L31Simplified circuit diagram

The tuning frequency can be expressed by the relative impedance of the reactor (in %, relative to the capacitor impedance), or by the tuning order, or directly in Hz.

The most common values of relative impedance are 5.7, 7 and 14 (14% is used with high level of 3rd harmonic voltages).

Relative impedance(%) Tuning order Tuning frequency @50Hz (Hz) Tuning frequency @60Hz (Hz)
5.7 4.2 210 250
7 3.8 190 230
14 2.7 135 160

Fig. L32Correspondance between relative impedance, tuning order and tuning frequency

In this arrangement, the presence of the reactor increases the fundamental frequency voltage (50 or 60Hz) across the capacitor.

This feature is taken into account by using capacitors which are designed with a rated voltage UN higher than the network service voltage US, as shown on the following table.

Capacitor Rated Voltage UN (V) Network Service Voltage US (V)
50 Hz 60 Hz
400 690 400 480 600
Relative Impedance (%) 5.7 480 830 480 575 690
7 480 830 480 575 690
14 480 480

Fig. L33Typical values of capacitor rated voltage

Summary

Practical rules are suggested in Fig. L34, for selection of the suitable configuration, depending on the system parameters:

  • SSC = 3-phase short-circuit power in kVA at the busbar level
  • Sn = sum of the kVA ratings of all transformers supplying (i.e. directly connected to)the busbar
  • Gh = sum of the kVA ratings of all harmonic-generating devices (static converters,inverters, variable speed drives, etc.) connected to the busbar.
If the ratings of some of these devices are quoted in kW only, assume an average power factor of 0.7 to obtain the kVA ratings
General rule (for any size of transformer):
\definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}G_h\le \frac{S_{sc} }{120} \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}\frac{S_{sc} }{120} < G_h\le \frac{S_{sc} }{70} \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}\frac{S_{sc} }{70} < G_h\le \frac{S_{sc} }{30} \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}G_h > \frac{S_{sc} }{30}
Standard capacitors Heavy Duty capacitors or capacitors with voltage rating increased by 10% Heavy Duty capacitors or capacitors with voltage rating increased by 20% + detuned reactor Harmonic filtering necessary See chapter Power harmonics management
Simplified rule (if transformer rating ≤ 2MVA):
\definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}G_h \le 0.1 \times S_n \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}0.1 \times S_n < G_h \le 0.2 \times S_n \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}0.2 \times S_n < G_h \le 0.5 \times S_n \definecolor{bggrey}{RGB}{234,234,234}\pagecolor{bggrey}G_h > 0.5 \times S_n
Standard capacitors Heavy Duty capacitors or capacitors with voltage rating increased by 10% Heavy Duty capacitors or capacitors with voltage rating increased by 20% + detuned reactor Harmonic filtering necessary
See chapter Power harmonics management

Fig. L34Simplified rules