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Grid reliability

Ironing out
resonance
Ferroresonance prevention in MV voltage transformers
Wojciech Piasecki, Marek Florkowski, Marek Fulczyk,
Pentti Mahonen, Mariusz Luto, Wieslaw Nowak, Otto Preiss

Every engineer knows the phenomenon of resonance. Without it, there would
be no musical instruments, no radio-based communication and many natural
phenomena, ranging from the astronomical to the sub-atomic would not occur.
The occurrence is not always benign: Oscillations can reach amplitudes for
which the system was not designed, leading to damage and failure. In 1940 the
Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the USA collapsed spectacularly as the result of
undamped resonance. Resonance is also a frequent cause of malfunction in
electronic systems.

Fortunately, the frequencies at which resonance occurs can be influenced by


design. The calculation of resonance gets trickier for non-linear effects: When
the magnetic flux in a core (of for example, a transformer) exceeds a certain
value, resonance becomes much more difficult to predict. Such occurrences
are frequent in the voltage transformers (VT) that transform high and medium
voltage levels into low voltage for instrumentation or protection purposes.

42 ABB Review 4/2005


Ironig out resonace

Grid reliability

T he rated power of voltage trans-


formers (VTs) is usually very low
due to their metrological, rather than
1 Series and parallel linear resonant circuits.

Series resonant circuit Parellel resonant circuit


power supply function. Nominal
primary currents in the transformer RS L C I IL IC
winding are typically of the order of
single milliamps (at several up to tens RP
of kilovolts). I
Y (ω) U
Z (ω) U
L C
The so-called ferroresonance phenom- UL UC
enon can occur when VTs are con-
nected phase to ground in an un-
grounded network. Currents can occur
that exceed nominal values by orders
of magnitude, risking damage to the In the so-called ferroresonance phe-
2 Non-linear characteristic of an inductive
VTs. nomenon, however, resonance fre-
component with a saturable magnetic core.
quencies are more difficult to predict.
The ferroresonance phenomenon The phenomenon occurs when the
The resonance of a circuit containing magnetic core of an inductive device Ln
an inductance and a capacitance is a is saturated, making its current-flux saturation
well known physical phenomenon. characteristic non-linear 2 . Because Ls
The simplest forms of this are the par- of this non-linearity, resonance can
allel and the series resonant circuits 1 . occur at various frequencies.

flux ψ

ng
operati
ns
In the series circuit, the equivalent im- In practice, ferroresonant oscillations

conditio
pedance is the sum of the impedances are initiated by momentary saturation

normal
of the individual components: of the core of the inductive element
as a a result of switching operations,
Ζ(ω) = jωL – j __
1 +R
s
for example. The effects of such reso- current i
ωC nance are further aggravated if damp-
ing is insufficient.
In the parallel resonant circuit the
3 Ungrounded MV network with three
equivalent admittance is the sum of
single-phase voltage transformers
the admittances of the individual com-
ponents:
Currents can occur that connected phase-to-ground.
exceed nominal values
Y(ω) = jωC – j __
1 + __
1 by orders of magnitude, R
ωL RP risking damage to the S
T
The resonance pulsation is VTs.
UN
C C C
ωr = 1
√LC In many cases of non-transient reso- VT1 VT2 VT3
nance involving a saturated inductive
in both cases. At and near to this fre- element, some nodes in the equiva-
quency in the series circuit, voltages lent network circuit are electrically
4 The result of the ferroresonance in
across the capacitor and the induc- floating (or connected to the fixed
unprotected VT.
tance can reach values that exceed potential points through very high
the source voltage significantly. In the impedances). Such a situation is illus-
parallel circuit, it is the currents trated in the network of 3 .
through these components that are
similarly amplified. Such extreme val- Although ferroresonance can also be
ues can damage the equipment if no initiated in other situations (eg, capac-
remedial action is taken. itive coupling between parallel lines,
ferroresonance between the VT and
For known values of L and C, the the power transformer’s internal ca-
resonant frequency can be predicted. pacitance or single-phase disconnec-
Resonance-related hazards can be tion in grounded networks) the con-
avoided by maintaining an appropri- figuration shown in 3 reflects a typi-
ate safety margin from the power- cal unearthed distribution system with
supply frequency. single-pole VTs.

ABB Review 4/2005 43


Ironig out resonace

Grid reliability

Despite first publications on the fer- this day. No universally applicable thermal damage to the primary wind-
roresonance phenomenon appearing mitigation methods exist other than a ing if not appropriately damped 4 .
at the beginning of the 20th century, damping resistor connected to the
open-delta auxiliary windings of the The compact design of modern volt-
three individual VTs. age transformers and the high quality
The compact design of of the magnetic material (low losses)
modern voltage trans- Risk to equipment makes damping difficult. The resistive
Under normal operating conditions, load must have a low value to dissi-
formers and the high the primary currents in the MV volt- pate sufficient oscillation energy. Too
quality of the magnetic age transformers are typically well be- small a value, however, draws too
material (low losses) low 10mA. In ferroresonance, the core much power from the VT when a sus-
of the VT operates in the deep satura- tained zero-sequence voltage occurs
makes damping difficult. tion region and primary currents can (eg, due to a ground fault that is not
reach amp values. The two order of cleared), and so overloads the VT
no reliable criteria on the risk of fer- magnitude difference between normal thermally. Selecting the right resist-
roresonance have been formulated to and ferroresonant conditions leads to ance is therefore crucial.

5 Simulated and experimentally obtained primary VT current and neutral voltage for capacitance C within the hazardous range.

System voltage 20 kV/ √3, C=70nF/phase


Simulation Measurement
primary current (A)

primary current (A)

2.0 2.0

0 0

-2.0 -2.0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

time ( seconds) time ( seconds)


neutral voltage (kV)

neutral voltage (kV)

20 20

0 0

-20 -20
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

time ( seconds) time ( seconds)

6 Simulated and experimentally obtained primary VT current and neutral voltage for capacitance C above the hazardous range.

System voltage 20 kV/ √3, C=240nF/phase


Simulation Measurement
primary current (mA)

primary current (mA)

500 500

0 0

-500 -500
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

time ( seconds) time ( seconds)


neutral voltage (kV)

neutral voltage (kV)

2.0 2.0

0 0

-2.0 -2.0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

time ( seconds) time ( seconds)

44 ABB Review 4/2005


Ironig out resonace

Grid reliability

7 FerroTool for potential ferroresonance risk identification for particular network VT configuration.

VT type selection

Substation view

Link to cable manager

Link to VT manager

Analysis of potential ferroresonance models were inserted into an equiva- maximum damping resistance for dif-
To analyze the network conditions for lent network model with ungrounded ferent VT types and voltage levels.
which ferroresonance is initiated in voltage sources and line-to-ground To make full use of these results in
particular VT types, simulations were capacitances. A worst-case analysis of practical applications, software tools
performed using dedicated transient the unloaded network was performed were implemented for the fast identifi-
to determine the capacitance range in cation of potential ferroresonance.
FerroTool contains a data- which hazardous ferroresonance oc- FerroTool 7 contains a database map-
curs. Including the auxiliary windings ping VTs to their parameters, includ-
base mapping VTs to their and damping resistors in the models ing hazardous capacitance ranges and
parameters, including helped identify the optimal resistor suggested damping resistances. The
hazardous capacitance values. tool calculates equivalent capacitance
values for substations based on the
ranges and suggested Simulation results were verified exper- line characteristics to permit fast
damping resistances. imentally. 5 shows a switching re- analysis of the risk of ferroresonance.
sponse with ferroresonant oscillation
simulation software (PSpice, and 6 shows a response without.
ATP/EMTP). Simulating transient re-
Computer simulations and
sponses to switching events involved FerroTool and FerroSim experiments show that in
making models of various VT types, The simulations identified the haz- many cases the resistance
based on magnetic parameters. These ardous capacitance range and the
needed to damp ferrores-
onant oscillations is very
8 Predefined circuit model and stimulus. small. Such a resistor
eA
would, however, draw too
RS LS iA ipA
t=0
Um much current from the VT
Rp
uA C
k:1 in the case of a network
i(ψA) Overvoltage factor
kov=Um/Em asymmetry.
eB
FerroTool is supported by the FerroSim
RS LS iB ipB
Em dedicated software for simulating a
t=0 Rp network response to switching tran-
Voltage

k:1
uB C t0 sients 8 . As the topology of the circuit
i(ψB) Rt is predefined, the user interface is kept
0
Time very simple 9 .
eC RS LS iC ipC
SmartLoad: New ferroresonance
t=0 Rp
k:1 prevention concept
uC C phase A Computer simulations and experi-
i(ψC)
phase B ments show that in many cases the
phase C resistance needed to damp ferroreso-
nant oscillations is very small (< 20 W).

ABB Review 4/2005 45


Ironig out resonace

Grid reliability

9 User interface of the FerroSim and exemplary results showing the primary VT currents and the neutral voltage.

Such a resistor would, however, draw DIN-rail in the secondary equipment both worlds. As it practically elimi-
too much current from the VT in the cabinet 10 . nates the risk of thermally overloading
case of a network asymmetry. A new the VT in case of non-transient faults
and unique protection approach has Conclusions in the system, the SmartLoad can be
been developed by ABB: A two-termi- Inductive voltage transformers operat- used for protecting practically any
nal element named SmartLoad takes ing in ungrounded networks must type of IEC-standard inductive MV
the place of the conventional linear always be protected against ferroreso- voltage transformer.
resistor. nance. Ferroresonant oscillations ex-
ceeding the nominal values by orders
of magnitude pose a serious risk to
The SmartLoad protects VTs. Resistive damping is not always
viable because the low ohmic value
against thermal overload this requires overloads the VT. ABB’s
and can be used for novel solution is a self-adjusting load
(SmartLoad) that combines the best of
practically any type W. Piasecki
of IEC-standard in- M. Florkowski

ductive MV voltage Pilot installation of the SmartLoad.


10
M. Fulczyk
ABB Corporate Research
transformer. Krakow, Poland
wojciech.piasecki@pl.abb.com
When zero-sequence volt- marek.florkowski@pl.abb.com
age occurs due to a natural marek.fulczyk@pl.abb.com
system unbalance under
normal operating condi- Mariusz. Luto
tions, the device acts as a ABB Medium Voltage
very high resistance and so Przasnysz, Poland
does not drain power from mariusz.luto@pl.abb.com
the VTs. When the zero-
sequence voltage exceeds Pentti Mahonen
a predefined threshold lev- ABB Medium Voltage
el, however, the device’s Vaasa, Finland
ohmic value drops suffi- pentti.mahonen@fi.abb.com
ciently to dampen oscilla-
tions within a small num- O. Preiss
ber of cycles. A device has ABB Corporate Research
been created that efficient- Baden, Switzerland
ly dampens ferroresonant otto.preiss@ch.abb.com
oscillations without over-
loading VTs. The device is Wieslaw Nowak
very compact and can be University of Science and Technology
mounted on a standard Krakow, Poland

46 ABB Review 4/2005