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 resultrom the use o the inormation 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 waveorm to lag the voltage waveorm, 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 straightorward 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 useul power delivered to the load to the apparent power consumed rom the supply. Useulpower, 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, beore 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 useul 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 oten makes economic sense.Usually, DPF correction takes the orm o a central bank o capacitors and a controller that monitors the load poweractor, adjusting the total capacitance as the load changes.