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The Maintenance Managers’ Guide to PFC Capacitor Banks

The Maintenance Managers’ Guide to PFC Capacitor Banks



|Views: 1,793|Likes:
Published by Hans De Keulenaer
This chapter is intented to give a short introduction to PFC capacitor banks and helps answering the following questions :
1. Why are capacitor banks installed?
2. What kind of PQ problems do capacitors experience?
3. How are capacitors problems identified?
4. How to Analyse the measurements and to define corrective actions to mitigate PQ problems ?
This chapter is intented to give a short introduction to PFC capacitor banks and helps answering the following questions :
1. Why are capacitor banks installed?
2. What kind of PQ problems do capacitors experience?
3. How are capacitors problems identified?
4. How to Analyse the measurements and to define corrective actions to mitigate PQ problems ?

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Published by: Hans De Keulenaer on Nov 11, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Power Qualit
The Maintenance Managers’ Guideto PFC Capacitor Banks
CapacitorsCapacitorsCapacitorsHV-LV TransformerMain circuit-breakerPQ analyserat point 1 Three phaseloadPQ analyserat point 1Capacitors bankscircuit-breaker
Maintenance Managers’ Guide
Power Quality 
Leonardo Energy wish to thank Eduwatt and the Copper Development Association UK or their valuabletechnical contribution to this guide.While this Guide has been prepared with care, ECI and other contributors provide no warranty with regardto the content and shall not be liable or any direct, incidental or consequential damages that may resultrom the use o the inormation or the data contained.
Why are capacitor banks installed?
 The primary unction o a capacitor bank is to control the displacement power actor (DPF), because in an ideal systemthe voltage and current should be in phase. This is only true o a purely resistive load and most industrial loads havean inductive component that causes the current waveorm to lag the voltage waveorm, which is where capacitorsplay their primary role.DPF is expressed as the cosine o the angle between the system voltage and the load current; ideally it should be unity[the cosine o zero] but it is not that straightorward as a leading DPF, where the current is ahead o the voltage, mustbe avoided; consequently the DPF correction systems are designed to keep the DPF close to unity, but always lagging– typically, the target is around 0.95 lagging. The ollowing text box describes the diference between „Power Factor” and „Displacement Power Factor”.
What is the diference between ‘Power actor’ and ‘Displacement power actor’?‘Power actor’ is the ratio o useul power delivered to the load to the apparent power consumed rom the supply. Useulpower, measured in kW, is the product o the supply voltage and the real current (i.e the component that is in phase withthe voltage) consumed by the load, while apparent power, measured in kVA, is simply the product o supply voltage andcurrent magnitude.‘Displacement power actor’ is the same, but only the undamental requency is considered in calculating the currentmagnitude.PQ analysers diferentiate between DPF (or Cos
) and PF and, beore there were so many non-linear loads producingharmonic currents, the two were efectively the same so it was unnecessary to diferentiate between them unlike today,when harmonic currents are universally present.Capacitors can correct the DPF – the undamental component – compensating the reactive component. Harmonic lterscan reduce the non-undamental components.
DPF is important because the reactive component o the current – the part that is responsible or the lag – althoughit does no useul work, still has to be transported through the electricity network. The reactive current does notcontribute to delivered energy, but it does contribute to losses, thus reducing the capacity o the increasinglyexpensive electricity supply network resource. I nothing is done then the end customer has to pay or the cost o thisadditional use o capacity in the orm o a reactive power additional charge. Consequently, installing DPF correctionmeasures oten makes economic sense.Usually, DPF correction takes the orm o a central bank o capacitors and a controller that monitors the load poweractor, adjusting the total capacitance as the load changes.
The Maintenance Managers’ Guide to PFC Capacitor Banks
 The efect is illustrated in these two diagrams. On the let there is no DPF correction and the green current curveclearly lags the red voltage curve; on the right a degree o DPF correction has been added, reducing the displacement. The DPF has been improved rom 0.59 to 0.81 and the magnitude o the load current has been reduced by 40%. The user will see a reduction in reactive demand charge. Since reactive current does not provide energy, there is nochange in the charge or energy.So capacitor banks are worthwhile in simple terms by saving the end-user unnecessary additional costs.
What kind o PQ problems do capacitors experience?
Capacitors are vulnerable to high voltages and currents in an electrical power system.As electronic equipment presence increases most modern loads are non-linear (i.e. they contain some sort o switchingcontrol in their power supplies) and produce harmonic currents. Usually, most odd harmonics are present up to at leastthe 15
harmonic. Problems arise when the requency o the stray inductance in the installation orms a resonant circuitwith the DPF capacitance at or near one o the harmonic requencies. I this happens, the capacitor will experience highvoltages and currents that will inevitably destroy it unless it is disconnected by a protective circuit breaker – leaving theDPF uncorrected. [LPQI Application Note 3.1.2 http://www.leonardo-energy.org/drupal/apguide.]
How are capacitors problems identifed?
I resonance is occurring, the harmonic current at some requencies will be much higher when the capacitors areconnected than when they are not. By taking measurements o the harmonic spectrum with the capacitors in and outo circuit, together with a measurement o the capacitor current when connected, the presence o resonance will beclearly seen. Taking the measurements is not di cult, however, as it requires working in an area o the installation where the shortcircuit current capacity is very high, it can be very dangerous. Staf working in areas such as this must be adequatelytrained, take proper precautions and ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with a procedure determinedby a specic risk assessment.
Choice o the instrument
Power quality analysers easily measure harmonic currents and voltages and typically display the spectrum o thevoltage and current waveorms up to the 50
harmonic. Many diferent models o harmonic analyser are available,ranging rom small ‘handheld’ instruments (ideal or quick diagnostic tests) through portable loggers (ideal orcollecting data over a period o a ew days or weeks) to permanently installed monitoring systems which are ideal orimplementing preventative maintenance programmes. Some ‘handheld’ instruments measure only a single phase butmost allow measurement o voltage and current on three phases together with neutral current. Current measurementis made using current clamps.

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