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Power Quality and Generators, Part 8: Basic Calculation


and the Impacts of Certain Loads
By Keith Lane, P.E., RCDD/NTS Specialist, LC, LEED AP, Vice President - Engineering, SASCO, Seattle

06/16/2005

This is the eighth article in a series covering basic engineering and code issues for sta
used in commercial building. This months column covers the basic calculations for

Once the starting kVA (sKVA), starting kW (sKW) and the alternator kW requirements a
sizing, these values are fed into sizing software to determine a particular manufacturer
Although many generator simulation software programs are available, knowing the bas
help the system designer understand the impact that certain loads and starting method
standby generator.

It is common for a systems sKVAor its sKW and maximum allowable transient voltag
generator. Motors can draw six times the full-load amps during startup. The motor
starting kVA/hp, is a representation of the starting inrush current. The example below u
letter code, the motor will draw approximately 5.3 kVA/hp. Using the following calculati
efficiency and 0.91 power factor, the motor will draw approximately 5.9 times the full

Calculation #1: 150 hp x 5.3 kVA/hp = 7


phase (amps during startup)

(150 hp x 0.746 kW/hp) / 0.91 (efficiency

123.0 kW / 0.91 (power factor) = 135.1 k


amps)

956.6 amps (during startup) / 162.5 A (fu


current)

High-efficiency motors can draw ten or m


comparison, for a motor with a NEMA
would have been significantly higher (9.4
calculation uses a 150-hp motor with 91%

Calculation #2: 150 hp x 8.5 kVA/hp = 1,275 kVA = 1,534 amps @ 480 volt/3 phase (amps during startup)
(150 hp x 0.746 kW/hp) / 0.91 (Efficiency) = 123.0 kW (running kW)
123.0 kW / 0.91 (power factor) = 135.1 kVA = 162.5 amps (represent full-load amps)
1,534 amps (amps during starting) / 162.5 amps (full-load amps) = 9.4 (times full-load current)

This illustrates that the starting of motors can dramatically affect the inrush current and associated sKVA and th
and may exceed the maximum sKVA or the sKW of a generator set that would otherwise be large enough to se
state load. This could require an oversized generator set based solely on the motor starting requirements of the
system.

To clarify this issue, I will use an example with the same load profile but with two different methods of motor sta
simple examples will include lighting and miscellaneous loads as well as motor starting with an across the
example and a solid-state starter in another example.
Example #1: Motor with an across the line starter:
Motor Load: 150-hp motor, NEMA F with a 0.28 starting power factor
Running power factor of 0.91 and an efficiency of 0.91.
NEMA Code Letter F = 5.3 kVA/hp
sKVA = 150 hp x 5.3 kVA/hp = 795 kVA
sKW = 795 kVA x 0.28 (starting power factor) = 222.6 kW
Running kVA = 123.0 kW / 0.91 (power factor) = 135.1 kVA
Running kW = (150 hp x 0.746 kW/hp) / 0.91 (Efficiency) = 123.0 kW
Lighting Load : 75 kVA at 0.9 power factor
sKVA = 75 kVA
sKW = 75 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 67.5 kW
Running kVA = 75 kVA
Running kW = 75 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 67.5 kW
Miscellaneous Load : 50 kVA at 0.9 power factor
sKVA = 50 kVA
sKW = 50 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 45 kW
Running kVA = 50 kVA
Running kW = 50 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 45 kW
System Totals:
sKVA = 795 + 75 + 50 = 920 kVA
sKW = 222.6 + 67.5 + 45 = 335.1 kW

Running kVA = 135.1 + 75 + 50 = 260.1 kW


Running kW = 123 + 67.5 + 45 = 235.5 kW
Alternator kW = 123 + 67.5 + 45 = 235.5 kW

Using one manufacturers sizing software, the recommended generator set size is 350 kW. This is based on ab
transient voltage dip followed by a sustained recovery of 90% of rated voltage during starting. The generator w
67% of capacity (Running kW = 236, Generator Capacity = 350 kW, 236 / 350 = 67.4%).

Large motors that are started with across-the-line starters fed by generators to allow for very low transient volta
starting can require a greatly oversized generator set. In these cases the running capacity of the generator
lower than the rating of the generator set. It is critical to ensure that the running load represents at least 30% o
of the generator set or wet stacking or carboning can occur. See Part 7 for definitions and a discussion of these
Example #2: Motor with a solid-state starter with bypass contactor:
Motor Load : 150-hp, NEMA F motor with a 0.28 starting power factor
Running power factor of 0.91 and an efficiency of 0.91.

Soft Start set at a 300% full load ampere current limit. The current limiting range is typically between 150% and
current limit reduces the starting kVA and starting kW by almost 50%.
sKVA, = (150 hp x 0.746 kW/hp) / 0.91 (efficiency) = 123.0 kW
123.0 kW / 0.91 (power factor) = 135.1 kVA = 162 amps @ 480-volt/
3 phase.
300 % current limit = 162 amps x 3 (3 x FLA) = 487 amps = 405 kVA
sKW = 405 kVA x 0.28 (starting power factor) = 113.4 kW
Running kVA = 123.0 kW / 0.91 (power factor) = 135.1 kVA
Running kW = (150 hp x 0.746 kW/hp) / 0.91 (Efficiency) = 123.0 kW
Lighting Load: 75 kVA at 0.9 power factor
Starting kVA = 75 kVA
Starting kW = 75 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 67.5 kW
Running kVA = 75 kVA
Running kW = 75 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 67.5 kW
Miscellaneous Load: 50 kVA at 0.9 power factor
Starting kVA = 50 kVA
Starting kW = 50 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 45 kW
Running kVA = 50 kVA
Running kW = 50 kVA x 0.9 power factor = 45 kW

System Totals:
sKVA = 405+ 75 + 50 = 530 kVA
sKW = 113.4 + 67.5 + 45 = 225.9 kW
Running kVA = 135.1 + 75 + 50 = 260.1 kW
Running kW = 123 + 67.5 + 45 = 235.5 kW
Alternator kW = 123 + 67.5 + 45 = 235.5 kW

Using one manufacturers sizing software, the recommended generator set size for this example is 275 kW. Th
about a 20% transient voltage dip followed by a sustained recovery of 90% of rated voltage during starting.The
run at about 86% of capacity (Running kW = 236, Generator Capacity = 275 kW, 236 / 275 = 85.8%).

At this threshold, the engineer may want to specify the next larger generator set to allow for some future additio
clear from this example that reducing the sKW requirements of the motor with the use of current limiting starter
size of the required generator set.

The solid-state starter will cause voltage distortion across the alternator of the generator. This distortion is caus
nonlinear way the silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCRs) in the solid-state starter draw current. The generators alte
to be oversized to compensate for this voltage distortion. This issue can be avoided, as in the example above,
bypass contactor with the sold state starter. The bypass contactor closes after startup and the SCRs are only o
the starting of the motor. If the solid-state starter does not have a bypass contactor, a rule of thumb is to add ag
running kW to the running kW of the system. This calculation will estimate the total alternator kW. See calculati
Alternator kW with a bypass contactor: 235 kW
Alternator kW without a bypass contactor: 235 kW + 123 kW = 358 kW

If the soft starter does not have a bypass contactor, the engineer must determine if a larger alternator is require
example above, the same 275-kW generator can handle either case (with and without a bypass contactor), but
alternator is required to handle the additional alternator kW if no bypass contactor is specified.

In our example above, in the across-the-line starter situation, the sKW drove the requirement for the larger
Below is a breakdown of some of the critical parameters for the different starting methods as well as the two ge
sizes noted above. Three total generator set configurations have been noted below, one for 350 kW and two fo
275-kW generator set has been split into a smaller and a larger alternator. The parameters (sKVA, sKW and a
noted under the three generator set configurations are the maximum the generator set can provide. The param
under the form of motor starting are the requirements for the different system examples noted above with their
of motor starting configuration.

Chart 1:

Small Alternator Larger Alternator

350 kW Genset

1896

Solid-State Start
Start
with no Bypass
with Bypass

291

300

293

335*

358**

** : The solid state starter without a bypass contactor exceeded the alternator kW of the
smaller alternator. Therefore, a 275-kW generator set with a larger alternator is required for
this starting configuration.

Several factors should be evaluated prior to determining the type of starting for motors within an electrical distr
These factors include, but are not limited to the following:
%%POINT%%Electrical system effects from not providing some form of reduced voltage starting. How will the
current affect the components in the electrical distribution system?

%%POINT%%A cost analysis of providing alternative forms of starting should be performed. It may be more co
provide a solid state starter, or other form of reduced voltage starter, with a smaller generator set than to provid
line starter with a larger generator set.

All applicable utility or jurisdictional requirements have to be evaluated during the design process of the genera
system.

In addition, the system designer must be familiar with local codes and the serving electrical utility requirements
utilities specify the largest system voltage drop during motor starting or specify the largest motor size that can b
an across the line start.

For example, one of our local electrical utilities, Seattle City Light, indicates that reduced starting current shall
all motors exceeding 15 hp nameplate rating, unless otherwise agreed to by the utility. Another serving utility i
Puget Sound Energy, indicates, If the voltage dip exceeds 2%, the transformer size must be increased to redu
2%. The customer is responsible for the difference in cost of the larger transformer. When only the maximum a
voltage dip is indicated as a requirement, the largest allowed motor without some form of reduced voltage start
on the size and impedance of the serving utility transformer.

Another form of reduced-voltage starting is the variable-frequency drive. VFDs can reduce both sKVA and sKW
load in a nonlinear fashion, similar to the solid-state starter, and will continue to draw loads in a nonlinear mann
frequency of the motor can be altered by control devices through the entire operation of the motor. The size of
feeding a system with a VFD may have to be increased or may have to be fitted with an oversized alternator si
system feeding a soft start without a bypass contactor. The use of 12-pulse IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Tran
pulse width modulated drives and harmonic filtering can make the VFD more generator-friendly.

In addition, stepping the sequence of the loads within the requirements of the National Electric Code, Section 7
reduce the sizing of the generator set. Since larger generators are often required because of the peak kW or kV
system, stepping the loads long enough for the inrush of motors not to be simultaneous can reduce the ultimate
generator set required to feed the critical loads.

<- Back to: Industry Trends

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