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**THE IMPACT OF ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE OPERATION ON QUALITY OF ELECTRIC SUPPLY
**

Parviz Doulai University of Wollongong Wollongong, Australia

Abstract

This paper briefly deals with the impact of electric arc furnace operation on quality of supply. The application of active compensation devices to assist in reduction of flicker and to increase furnace efficiency is highlighted. The electromagnetic transient program (EMTP) was used to develop a dynamic model of the furnace operation under different loading conditions. The results obtained from simulation are compared with the actual site measurements. A good correlation is shown between harmonics generated from the operation of a medium size electric arc furnace and harmonics obtained from the EMTP simulation. Keywords: Electric Arc Furnace, power quality, modeling, Electromagnetic Transient Program

momentary interruptions on their electronic equipment. Among other things, the vulnerability of sensitive equipment to the quality of power has been the major force behind recently initiated and mainly power utility funded research and development work on quality of electricity supply. From power quality engineers viewpoint, an electric arc furnace represents one of the most challenging candidate among industrial loads. When the arc is striking through the scraps it appears like a short circuit on the secondary side of the furnace transformer. The short circuit current keeps changing in response to the melting conditions of the furnace content (scraps). Identifying characteristics of the arc furnace load reveals that: 1. active and reactive loading are different in each phase, 2. widely varying range of active and reactive loadings with an irregular frequency of 2 to 10Hz, and 3. harmonic currents generation by the nonlinear characteristic of arc. Figure 1 shows a typical steel plant arc furnace supply and a typical arc furnace reactive power requirement. The mean reactive power demand of an arc furnace can be easily supplied by means of mechanically switched shunt capacitors. This means the voltage fluctuations, even somewhat magnified by the shunt capacitors, will remain at the arc furnace bus and the “point of common coupling (PCC)” bus, which supplies the other consumers. The latter is critically important since the voltage fluctuation at PCC bus should normally stay below 0.3% of the nominal voltage.

1

INTRODUCTION

When nonlinear or distorting loads are connected to the power system the fundamental sinusoidal character of the current flowing through the system will be changed. This will rise to nonsinusoidal voltage drops across various network elements, resulting in distorted waveform propagation throughout the system to buses remote from the original source. Under this condition, the power system includes harmonic distortion components. This is commonly referred to as “electrical pollution” or “polluted power system”. Power quality is a growing concern for a wide range of customers. Industrial customers experience interruptions in important processes during momentary voltage sags associated with remote faults on the utility system. Commercial customers are applying high efficiency lighting and electronic office equipment, resulting in higher harmonic levels in the buildings. Even residential customers are concerned about surge protection for sensitive electronics in the home and the impact of

movement of scraps inside the furnace shell and the application of different methods in melting processes. • may be supplied with harmonic filters large enough to absorb harmonic generated by the furnace as well as by the static var compensator (SVC) itself. Contributing factors towards the electric arc furnace large power fluctuations include control action of the electrodes. about 40% of steel production worldwide use the electric arc furnace process [8].2 AC ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE AC arc furnaces are large in size and dynamic in nature during the process of melting down loads of scrap metal. Then. A significant cost to a steel manufacturing facility is the electric energy consumed by the arc furnace during the melting and refining processes. This lead to fewer harmonic and flicker problems compared to problems occurred in older furnaces that have low impedance and shorter arc units. interharmonics also are generated during the melt down process. electrode arms and cable. Currently. amongst other things. which significantly reduces the electrode consumption and lowering the operating costs.5% can cause annoying flicker in incandescent lamps when the frequency lies in the range of 6-10Hz [1]. It has been shown that a fast and accurate compensation of reactive power requirements of an arc furnace operation reduces the cost of steel production and delivers a higher quality steel output [2]. and thus increasing the furnace active power and reducing the meltdown time for a given scrap. The phenomenon of voltage flicker is attributed to the operation of arc furnace loads [11]. This is because of. even harmonics exist in similar proportions to the main odd harmonics. By utilizing this technology an effective reduction in unbalanced voltage fluctuations can be obtained. Current electric arc furnace technology offers a lower short circuit current and thus low mechanical forces on electrodes. It also offers lower electric current. • may be sized to compensate for full range of furnace vars. synchronous condensers have been utilized to reduce the effect of resulted voltage flicker. 2. The static var compensators are good candidates for this purpose since they: • exercise unbalance compensation. the fast power semiconductor switching devices provided a significant boost to the development of thyristor controlled reactive power components for arc furnace compensation. • act every half cycle of mains frequency to compensate the reactive load swing. 2. Most modern ac electric arc furnaces today are of high impedance and long arc design. This has the side benefit of making the furnace to operate at a higher voltage level. Steel making using electric arc furnaces have been increasing over the last 25 years. and due to a random modulation of the furnace current.2 Operating Costs 1: Typical electric arc furnace supply and its reactive power consumption It is also reported that low level frequency modulation of the supply voltage of less than 0. In the early 1970's. The furnace operation results in unsymmetrical current waveform with transients. They represent a randomly changing demand in their required power during the melt down phase.1 Reactive Power Compensation Traditional solution to the flicker cause by arc furnace operation was stiffening the host ac system by increasing its short circuit capacity. Hence. . erratic arcing on uneven surfaces and electrodes movement.

and was defined in the TACS (Transient Analysis of Control Systems) module of the EMTP. Another method that involves the application of nonlinear and time varying resistor models was implemented by Montanari etal in 1994 [6]. Recent published research and development work has shown the suitability of the electromagnetic transient program for modeling electric arc .1 Static Model In a static model the varying arc resistance was presented as a square wave voltage source. and The electromagnetic transient program has been widely used to investigate the operation of nonlinear power electronics loads in general [8] and to model the operation of AC arc furnaces in particular. In this paper a dynamic model of an actual medium size arc furnace is introduced. and the voltage and current are not symmetrical with respect to the positive and negative half cycles. Varc=((VOLTA * 12) + 40) * SING (A6) (1) Where: VOLTA: the random arc length generated. The random number represents the arc length which is constantly changing. E. the cathode drop approximately 10 volts. This means that the arc resistance in the EMTP model was replaced with a switch and a voltage source. 3. a number of complex models were reported in the literature. furnaces. The arc voltage then is calculated in accordance with Equation 1. the arc voltage and the arc current [3]. In a broad term. The random number generator represents the arc length. Published work on the modeling of electric arc furnaces shows both time and frequency domain implementations. the anode that drops typically about 30 volts. One of the recent contributions in modeling the arc furnace using the EMTP reported by Varadan etal [7] where a time domain controlled voltage source model was proposed. The results indicated in [7] shows the arc voltage with noise variation for arc resistance. Acha etal proposed the use of empirical formulas that relates the arc length. which would be constantly changing. leading to arc voltage calculation which is relatively independent of the current magnitude.2. Equation 1 was implemented for the arc voltage calculation in the TACS part of the dynamic model. The usage of actual recorded terminal quantities in the development of current injection models [4] and the use of stochastic processes [5] also were reported. and 3. The static model of the arc furnace required manual change in square wave voltage to represent different tap settings of the furnace transformer. The change in the arc resistance from one step to the next is random. A complete set of simulation results for the static model is shown in [9]. and scaled to provide the appropriate peak value. an arc column component which is around 12 volts/cm of the arc length.2 Dynamic Model 3 EMTP-BASED ARC FURNACE MODEL The major difference between the design of the static model and the dynamic model is the way the arc voltage is represented. 3. an electric arc furnace can be modeled either by varying the arc resistances and treating the arc as a resistive load. The voltage across an electric arc that is relatively independent of the current magnitude. SIGN: the sign of the current in phase A. 2. This model is based on a piece-wise linear approximation of the v-i characteristics of the arc furnace load. The results obtained from the proposed arc furnace model in this paper are compared against results shown in [7]. 1. Considering the complexity of electric arc furnace and rapidly changing nature of the arc characteristics. It uses a random number generator in the electromagnetic transient program (EMTP) simulation environment. Variation of the arc resistance from each half cycle to the next ensures the non-symmetry of the arc voltage and current. For a dynamic model a random number generator was designed. capable of operating under different loading conditions. or considering the arc as an active circuit element such a voltage source. consists of three components [1]. The random number generator was then scaled to provide the appropriate peak values of the given furnace current.3 Modeling Techniques An effective harmonic control and distortion compensation in the light of increased furnace efficiency and decreased power quality problems for other loads requires an accurate model for the electric arc furnace.

4 SITE MEASUREMENTS Site measurements were taken. Typical values of arc voltages are in the range of 100 to 500 volts. The dynamic model now generates a random number. voltage and current as well as real power on each phase. As the arc length rapidly changes due to the movement of the scrap material.A6: the node that the current is measured As mentioned previously. bore down stage). Site measurements were taken from an electric arc furnace operation during both melting and refining processes in steps (snapshots) shown in Table 1: Minutes 1 37 46 58 70 137 143 173 Snapshots First charge initial bore down stage First charge semi melted scrap First charge approaching flat bath stage First charge flat bath stage with Lime added Second charge initial bore down Second charge semi melted scrap Second charge approaching flat bath Stage with oxygen injection Second charge flat bath Table 1: Power analyzer snapshots Figure 2: Dynamic EMTP model output representing the arc voltage Figure 4 shows a sample snapshot taken during the site measurement (first charge. It shows the phase between an unstable and stable arc. It indicates large fluctuations as well as unsymmetrical wave shape. so does the arc voltage that is proportional to the arc length. which represents the arc voltage. and basic post processing tasks were carried out using a Power Analyzer (Voltech PM3000A). current and power for each channel is calculated and analyzed. the static model required arc voltages to be manually entered each time when the tap setting is changed. The data is checked for over/under range. It can be seen that the arc voltage tries to represent a square wave and its fluctuation ranges between zero to 375 volts that is the transformer secondary top tap setting.5 second • Simulation Output Time = 625 micro seconds Figure 2 shows the arc voltage output of the furnace dynamic EMTP model. Detailed harmonic analysis of currents and voltages are shown in [9]. The harmonic profile of the electric arc furnace during the initial bore down stage is shown in Figure 5. Figures 3a and 3b show the secondary current and voltage of the arc furnace transformer. Simulation parameters assumed in running the electromagnetic transient program are as follows. and then voltage. PM3000A has 6 isolated input channels. The resulting data is stored in memory until 400 samples for each channel are made. The Power Analyzer measures the harmonic content of the . each having its own analogue to digital converter. • Simulation Time Step (dt) = 25 micro seconds • Simulation Period = 0. Each phase of the electric arc furnace has an independently varied voltage to model the three-phase electric arc.

and N.4. Montanari. pp 422-428. “Electrical arc furnace technology and productivity”. Acha. This shows a good correlation between the measurement and results obtained from the dynamic model. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. “Recent experience of connection of big arc furnaces with reference to flicker level”. Semlyen. September 1994. Incorporation of active compensating devices into the arc furnace model offers solutions for power quality problems and higher furnace efficiency. A. Gosbell. especially during the initial bore down period. “Implementation of a dynamic EMTP model for electric arc furnaces”. Mc-Graw-Edison Power System Div. No. In the proceedings of the Australiasian Universities Power Engineering Conference. 3. [5] H. “A harmonic domain computational package for non linear problems and its application to electric arcs”. Couvreur. “The Harmonic Verdict.. Measured current and voltage quantities for different furnace operational status (Table 1) and their corresponding harmonic profiles are shown and examined in [9] and [10]. “Power Quality issues on electric arc furnace operation. [8] P. University of Wollongong. PSpice and PES for power electronic circuit simulation”. Schau. “Comparative evaluation of EMTP. [11] A. Lozenkovski. September 1998. A. pp 1685-1691.The arc between the electrode and the scrap metal generates a strong third harmonic component. Robert and M. of Cooper Industries. July 1996. Table 2 shows the average measured harmonic and the EMTP model results as a percentage of the fundamental. An ATP-EMTP analysis”. 3. [3] E. It is worthwhile to note that measured results were taken over different tap settings and different current set points whereas the dynamic model was run at the highest tap voltage and transformer power rating. July 1990. Loggini. “Mathematical modeling of three-phase arc furnaces”. 5. Vol. etal. In Proceedings of the Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference. Acknowledgment The author gratefully acknowledges hardware and software facilities provided by the BHP Integrated Steel Division and Tech Rentals. Jan. 7. Varadan. Measured Values (Average) 19% 8% 4% Dynamic Model Output 22% 7% 4% REFERENCES [1] G. pp 81-85. School of Electrical. Power Systems Harmonics and Simulation Program”. and compared with actual site measurements. “Development of a model for predicting flicker from electric arc furnace''. Erven. 1994. In Proceedings of the IEEE-ICHPS II.C. C. CIGRE paper. “A new time domain voltage source model for an arc furnace using EMTP”. pages 300-305. In Proceedings of the IEEE-PES Winter Meeting. Thesis Project. The arc can be considered a white noise generator. [9] C. Vol. Doulai and V. superimposing a band of higher frequencies on the system. AISE Steelmaking Seminar. “Arc furnace model for the study of flicker compensation in electrical networks”. USA 1994. [7] S. 11. Wollongong. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. Ver 3.B. Manchur. Hobart. Computer and Telecommunications Eng. pp 416-426. No. Fine-tuning of the model will be carried out using recorded data and available simulation results. . 36-305. Mowman. October 1997. E. PA. The simulation results using the dynamic model were shown. Bologna. Stade. 1992. 94 WM 086-9 PWRD. Michigan. etal. 1994 Third Harmonic Fifth Harmonic Seventh Harmonic Table 2: Harmonic Results Comparison 5 CONCLUSION The electromagnetic transient program was used to model the operation of an arc furnace under different loading conditions. [10] P. Vol. [6] G.. Rajakovic. Makram. on Power Delivery. July 1987. Contributions of Mr Lozenkovski in this project are also acknowledged. A dynamic model of a medium size arc furnace was developed and tested. pp 13901395 [4] VHARM. October 1993. M. The results showed a good correlation between measured values and dynamic model output. Lozenkovski. User Manual.C. Australia. D. No. [2] B. 1. Doulai and C. IEEE Trans.

bore down stage Figure 5: Site measurement: Harmonic profile. first charge . a) secondary current and b) secondary voltage Figure 4: Site measurement: Voltage waveform. first charge .(a) (b) Figure 3: Simulation results. arc furnace transformer.bore down stage .

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