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Power Factor Correction in presence of harmonics

When Power Factor Correction is necessary we have to bear in mind that nowadays many loads generate harmonic currents that must be taken into account when designing the PFC system. Therefore it’s very important for the reliability, durability and safety of the installation to carefully analyze the load and grid to determine the proper PFC technologies to be applied.

Selecting the proper PFC technologies:

Once determined the KVAR requirements or effective power to take the load to the desired higher PF, it’s time for the mentioned analysis. It should really start by analyzing the load change speed and this will determine the first PFC technology approach. If we know the load changes within minutes, seconds or tenths of a second we should think from the very beginning in a dynamic PFC system (basically a system switched by thyristor switches) while if we determine that the load will change along hours, a standard contactor switched system will be fine. Another criterion would be the expected switchings of the PFC system. A reasonable limit to choose a technology or the other would be 50 switchings per day. For more than this, a dynamic system is really necessary.

Once chosen standard or dynamic switching technology it’s time to analyze the harmonic contents of the load, and this is properly done by taken measurements with a harmonics analyzer, but only once the normal operating conditions of the load have been identified and all existing capacitors have been disconnected because we need to determine the real harmonics contents of the load, without any PFC system connected.

The harmonics analysis has to clearly identify the total voltage distortion THD-V% , the total current distortion THD-I% and the harmonics spectrum. This means that we have to know which harmonics are present and how high they are.

If we determine that THD-V% is higher than 3% or THD-I% is higher than 10% a harmonics filtered PFC system will be necessary.

The effects that the harmonics can cause in an installation is dependant on the transformer that is supplying the energy, the smaller the transformer the more significant the effect will become on the installation, and it’s also dependant on capacitor bank power to be connected for PFC purposes.

Objectives when correcting PF in presence of harmonics:

We must have clear in mind which our objectives are when we face a PFC project in presence of harmonics. These objectives are here below described and set in their proper priority:

1. Correct the low Power Factor: this is the main intention of the project. And we have to do it in a reliable and safe way, even in presence of harmonics.

2. Avoid parallel resonance: this is a very dangerous phenomenon that appears when we put capacitors in parallel with a transformer while we have harmonics currents. So avoiding this is definitely a restriction imposed by the conditions.

3. Partially filtering the dominant harmonic: this maybe a collateral benefit if we apply the proper filtering PFC technology.

When correcting the power factor with the proper technology it is possible to achieve these three objectives, but it must be clear that Power Factor Correction is the main objective and not harmonics elimination, although sometimes, some partial filtering of the dominant harmonics can be obtained with relatively simple Detuned PFC technology.

Non Linear Loads: harmonics generators.

Some electrical loads, when sinusoidal voltage is applied to them, do not generate a sinusoidal current. These are called Non Linear Loads.

V I

L

I 1

I 7

I 5

ππππ

ππππ

The periodical distorted current that they generate is equivalent to having a sinusoidal current of the fundamental frequency plus many other sinusoidal currents of frequencies multiple of the fundamental and of different amplitudes. This can be mathematically demonstrated by the Fourier Series analysis.

Some non linear loads, like a motor drive or a rectifier, generate a discrete and well defined harmonics spectrum while some others like welders generate a changing and random spectrum.

Indeed any of them can have low PF as well and therefore PFC must be applied even under these conditions, but in such cases, only using the proper PFC technology will be possible to do it in a reliable and safe way, otherwise these totally unexpected high frequency currents will overload the system and might cause dangerous effects.

Typical non linear loads harmonics spectrums:

A single-phase full wave rectifier generates the following harmonics spectrum:

Adjustable speed drives produce highly distorted current and notching on the voltage due to pulse rectifiers switching.

Common problems caused by harmonic currents:

• Overheating of transformers and rotating equipment

• Neutral overloading and unacceptable neutral-to-ground voltages

• Failed capacitor banks

• Breakers and fuses tripping

• Unreliable operation of electronic equipment

• Erroneous energy meters

• Wasted energy and higher electricity bills (kW and KWh)

• Wasted power distribution capacity

• Higher maintenance costs of equipment and machinery

Harmonics amplification caused by standard PFC systems:

Capacitors impedance decreases as a function of the frequency and that means high frequency harmonic currents will find a low impedance path thru the capacitors.

Harmonic currents will flow thru the capacitors without any control and will overload them, perhaps beyond their admissible current overload capacity.

Capacitors along with the inductance of the transformer make a parallel resonant circuit, that if not controlled, it may increase the impedance at a frequency of an existing and constant harmonic current therefore generating over voltage at that frequency and increasing the current at this frequency inside the parallel this circuit. A behavior of harmonics amplification.

No PFC

With PFC

Meter: 0001

K-factor: 1.041

Volts : 277

Frequency:60.01 Hz

Meter: 0001

K-factor: 1.829

Volts: 290

Frequency:59.97 Hz

H#

%

φ

H#

%

φ

T.H.D.:

2.8%

max:

2.9%

min:

0.5%

H#

%

φ

H#

%

φ

T.H.D.:

18.8%

max:

21.6%

min:

1.9%

1

100.0

0

2

0.0

69

1

100.0

0

2

0.1

26

3

0.4

116

4

0.1

68

3

0.5

352

4

0.3

31

5

2.1

272

6

0.0

69

5

18.8

203

6

0.0

259

7

1.6

41

8

0.0

70

7

1.2

126

8

0.0

259

9

0.2

133

10

0.0

68

9

0.0

80

10

0.0

200

11

0.4

11

12

0.0

68

11

0.1

312

12

0.0

259

13

0.7

36

14

0.1

68

13

0.0

80

14

0.0

80

15

0.1

68

16

0.0

68

15

0.1

116

16

0.0

200

17

0.2

37

18

0.0

158

17

0.0

320

18

0.0

169

19

0.1

69

20

0.0

158

19

0.0

319

20

0.0

259

21

0.1

327

22

0.0

69

21

0.1

192

22

0.0

259

23

0.0

69

24

0.0

69

23

0.0

169

24

0.0

349

25

0.1

301

26

0.0

8

25

0.1

259

26

0.0

259

27

0.0

158

28

0.0

248

27

0.1

259

28

0.0

349

29

0.1

319

30

0.0

309

29

0.0

259

30

0.0

259

31

0.2

20

32

0.0

68

31

0.1

31

32

0.0

79

Meter: 0001

K-factor: 1.533

Amps : 1716

Frequency:60.01 Hz

Meter: 0001

K-factor: 32.38

Amps: 2033

Frequency: 59.97 Hz

H#

%

φ

H#

%

φ

T.H.D.:

13.6%

max:

18.1%

min:

2.1%

H#

%

φ

H#

%

φ

T.H.D.:

89.5%

max: 152.3%

min:

3.6%

1

100.0

0

2

0.5

100

1

100.0

0

2

2.3

9

3

0.4

29

4

0.1

119

3

1.0

169

4

2.9

79

5

12.3

53

6

0.4

66

5

150.0

263

6

3.8

259

7

5.5

356

8

0.1

91

7

8.7

141

8

1.2

300

9

0.7

299

10

0.2

29

9

1.5

280

10

1.5

259

11

1.3

7

12

0.1

29

11

1.6

259

12

0.8

310

13

0.1

210

14

0.0

29

13

1.7

279

14

0.5

259

15

0.3

29

16

0.0

119

15

1.2

79

16

1.1

294

17

0.3

285

18

0.0

29

17

0.5

260

18

0.3

8

19

0.0

210

20

0.1

90

19

1.0

331

20

0.5

259

21

0.1

90

22

0.0

29

21

1.5

259

22

0.5

312

23

0.0

210

24

0.0

119

23

1.2

339

24

0.1

259

25

0.1

29

26

0.1

29

25

0.5

180

26

0.6

349

27

0.0

29

28

0.1

119

27

0.9

182

28

0.3

307

29

0.1

29

30

0.1

119

29

0.7

349

30

0.2

19

31

0.0

29

32

0.0

209

31

0.6

292

32

0.0

259

Detuned PFC Filters theory:

Let’s pretend we have a simple installation with a transformer supplying energy to one linear load and to one non linear load. The circuit below shows an inductor representing the transformer inductance L _{T} plus the grid short-circuit inductance L _{S}_{C} , although for in practice L _{S}_{C} , is neglectable compared to L _{T} because usually in a LV installation the short circuit power is imposed by that of the transformer as the grid is immensely powerful compared to the transformer.

Let’s say our non linear load generates harmonic currents, from the 5 ^{t}^{h} on, and these currents are constant. Although the transformer is not applying any harmonic voltage,

the load generates from 5

th

harmonic currents on, therefore behaving like a constant

current generator, and so it’s represented in graphics. Let’s say in this example that the 5 ^{t}^{h} is the highest harmonic, the dominant.

A

Lsc

+

In

L T

O loads

IZI

Impedance

without

capacitors

f

f 1

f 5

Existing hamonic

currents spectrum

These undesirable harmonic currents flow thru whatever is connected in parallel closing the circuit until they return to the generator and on their way overloading everything that comes across.

Let’s say this simple installation has low power factor so we have to install a capacitor in parallel to correct it. In order to understand what would happen, let’s analyze the impedance as a function of the frequency between points AO towards the transformer. We have the impedance of the transformer represented by a positive slope straight line meaning that its impedance grows as the frequency grows. On the frequency axis we mark some particular points, first the fundamental frequency f1 and then f5, the 5 ^{t}^{h} harmonics, where the existing harmonic currents spectrum starts. Between f1 and f5 we have a frequency range with no existing harmonic currents.

Now when we install a capacitor for PFC, a parallel resonant circuit is formed between the transformer inductance and the capacitor’s capacitance. This parallel circuit has a resonance frequency for which its impedance becomes very high, and this parallel resonance frequency is determined by the values of the inductance and capacitance according to this formulae:

^{f} ^{p} ^{=}

1

2 _{π}_{π}_{π}_{π}

( L _{S}_{C} +L _{T} ) C

^{=}

1

2 ππππ

L T

C

In the following graphics we now also see represented the new impedance curve of this resonant circuit, showing the parallel resonance frequency fp of high impedance falling close to the 5 ^{t}^{h} harmonics. So the 5 ^{t}^{h} harmonic current which was constant now finds high impedance at that frequency and therefore generates a considerable additional voltage at that frequency. V _{5} = Z _{A}_{O}_{5} . I _{5}

A

Lsc

+

In

C

L T

O loads

IZI

Impedance

without

capacitors

Impedance

with

capacitors

f

f 1

f 5 f p

Existing hamonic

currents spectrum

V 5 = Z AO5 . I 5

If I _{5} is constant and Z _{A}_{O}_{5} has a considerable value, V _{5} is significant. This is a voltage that will be overlapped to the fundamental voltage creating a higher total peak voltage that stresses all isolations in the installation.

This parallel resonance phenomenon can be exited even by small currents of a frequency close to that of the parallel resonant frequency determined by the values of L and C. If this happens, a small harmonic current generated by the load may cause a high current flow between the transformer and the capacitors overloading both of them and generating over voltage for everything connected in parallel.

So far we have corrected the power factor at the fundamental by connecting but we have created a very dangerous parallel resonant risk.

To avoid this we have top modify this parallel circuit in such a way that its parallel resonance frequency falls somewhere between the fundamental and the first existing

harmonic current, in this example, between f1 and f5, a frequency range where we know that there are no currents.

The circuit is modified by adding a reactor in series with the capacitor with an inductance value selected in such a way to get the desired effect.

New _{}_{}_{}_{}

f _{p} =

1

_{2} _{π}_{π}_{π}_{π}

_{(} _{L} T _{+}_{L} R _{)} _{C}

The now more complex circuit shifts the parallel resonance frequency to a safe place where there’s no harmonic current while the reactor-capacitor set, at the fundamental frequency, still behaves almost as if the reactor doesn’t exist.

L

A

L

R

T

In

C

O loads

IZI

Impedance

Impedance

Impedance

with

with

without

Detuned Filter

capacitors

capacitors

f

f 1

f p

f s

f 5

Existing hamonic

currents spectrum

But this new reactor-capacitor set makes another new resonant circuit, now series, which creates another new series resonance frequency, fs, which falls just below the

first existing harmonic current (in this example the 5

set is almost zero, creating short-circuit path for a current of that frequency. This is what’s called a Tuned Filter, exactly tuned at the frequency which has to be bypassed

from the rest the installation. But tuned filters, as they have zero impedance, have no theoretical limit to the current at fs frequency except for the practical limitation imposed by their components’ current transportation capability.

So if our non linear load sends 100 Amps of 5

components resist it) and it will filtered out of the rest of the installation, but it would be dangerous if there’s no control of the incoming harmonics because the filter is already heavily loaded with the fundamental current.

th

). At fs the impedance of this LC

th

harmonics it will flow across it (if

By selecting the components values in such a way that fs falls a little below the frequency of first dominant harmonics, the impedance of the filter is not zero but has a certain low value at the first dominant harmonic current and therefore this impedance limits the amount of this harmonics that flows into the filter. The impedance at this first harmonic is controlled by detuning the filter, the closer it gets to the harmonic frequency the more current if filters. Detuned filters are detuned in such a way that the harmonic currents that flow into the filter do no exceed the maximum permissible current of the capacitor and of the reactor that make up the filter, considering the fundamental current used for PFC purposes.

Using Detuned PFC Filters, the three objectives for reliable and safe PFC in presence of harmonics are achieved. At the fundamental frequency, it corrects the PF, the parallel resonance is avoiding by shifting the resonance frequency to a value where there’s no current of that frequency and the first dominant harmonic current can be partially filtered out from the rest of the installation without overloading the capacitor bank.

Parallel resonance risk analysis:

For a given transformer and capacitor bank combination, the parallel resonance order can be determined based on more know parameters like the short-circuit power of the transformer and the capacitor bank power, according to the following formula:

^{n} ^{p} ^{=}

Ssc

Qc

Once identified the existing harmonic currents thru the harmonic analysis it’s easy to check for those existing harmonic orders which capacitor bank powers might cause resonance.

For example:

Let’s suppose we have an installation with low PF and we are going to connect a PFC

bank, so after taking measurements, we identify the 5 ^{t}^{h} , 7 ^{t}^{h} and 11 The transformer has a rated power of 1000kVAR and uk%=4%

th

harmonic currents.

We should check for every existing harmonic order which capacitor bank output power would generate resonance. If the planned system to be installed might have a step combination that could provide any of such power ratings, detuned technology would be

mandatory to avoid parallel resonance, even if the harmonic current at that resonance frequency were not relevant in the measurements.

Example: Xmer S = 1000 kVA

uk%= 4% _{}_{}_{}_{}

Ssc=25000

Q

Q

Q

Ssc

25000

=

c

2 =

5 2

5 n

Ssc

25000

= 2

=

c

7 2

7 n

Ssc

25000

=

=

c

n 2

11 2

11

_{=} 1000 kVAr

_{=} 510 kVAr

_{=} 207 kVAr

Selecting the proper detuning:

As explained, the proper detuned PFC Filter must be selected based on effective power required at the fundamental and on the first dominant harmonic current found in the harmonics analysis to be partially filtered.

Detuned filters are identified for the detune factor, a parameter that identifies the series resonance frequency the filter is closely tuned below. Most common detune factors are 7% for systems with dominant 5 ^{t}^{h} harmonic or higher, and 14% for systems with

dominant 3 ^{r}^{d} harmonics.

Usually in industrial installations where control of high power 3-phase loads, the 5 ^{t}^{h} harmonic is the dominant while in commercial installations like office buildings where lighting is the main load, the dominant harmonic is the 3 ^{r}^{d} and therefore 14% systems are the most suitable.

Selecting the components:

The reactors are selected according to the effective power to get at rated voltage and fundamental frequency, and according to the required detune factor.

Capacitors are selected taken into account the over voltage generated by the detuning and according to matching reactor to get the effective power when in series connected.

EPCOS provides tables included in its main PFC catalogue for selecting all the necessary components: reactors, capacitors, contactors, fuses and cables.

Example to get:

Q _{e} = 50 kVAr - 400V - 50Hz - 7 %

The reactor must be selected according to the effective power required at 400V and for p=7% , therefore it will be a 50kVAr-400V-50Hz-7% Although the grid has 480V, due to the detunig the voltage on the capacitor will be:

U _{C} = U _{N} .

100

100-p

= 400 V .

100

100-7 = 430 V

_{}_{}_{}_{}

a 440 V capacitor must be used.

Calculation of the capacitor rated power Qc especified at U _{C} = 440V, to get an effective power of 50 kVAr at 400V along with a 7% reactor

Q _{c} =

1 -

.

U C

100 U N

2

2

1 -

. 440

. Q e =

. 50 kVAr = 56 kVAr

100 400

Panel assembly recommendations:

(440V-50Hz)

Detuned PFC filters use power reactors, these are components which dissipate quite heat and therefore operate at high temperature, about 100°C.

Capacitors and contactors are components that should operate at much lower temperature, so components placement inside the cabinet and forced ventilation are a must for reliable, durable and safe operation of the system.

Mount capacitors on profiles or on separate mounting plate without thermal conduction from the reactor and in different vertical lines to avoid heat transmission.

Mount reactors on profiles to allow cooling air flow over the reactor core.

Use abundant forced ventilation.

Connect reactor‘s thermal-switch in series with the contactors‘ coil circuit.

For more information on EPCOS PFC products and technologies visit:

www.epcos.com/pfc

Author:

Ricardo Garrido EPCOS AG – Munich, Germany. PFC Capacitors Marketing Manager

August 2006

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