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2010 International Conference on Power System Technology

TCR and TSC thyristor valves for Rowville


SVC replacement project
J. Z. Cao, Member IET, M. Donoghue, Member, IET,
C. Horwill, Member, IEEE, and A. Singh, Member, IEEE

Abstract--This paper presents the design of the thyristor valves


for the Rowville SVC replacement project. The thyristor valves
are based on AREVAs latest developed S500 series valve design
and make use of 8.5kV 5 electrically-triggered thyristor
technology. Details of the valve configuration, the cooling circuit,
as well as the protective strategy are presented. Detailed electrical
ratings such as the steady-state and temporary overload
capabilities, as well as the valve capabilities to cope with the
scenarios like a short circuit fault on the system AC bus and a
firing of the TSC valve at the maximum Safe-to-Firing protection
level are described. The thyristor valve design satisfies the
requirements of the scheme.
Index Terms Distribution, Electricity, FACTS, Power, SVC,
Transmission, Thyristor, Valve

I. INTRODUCTION

tatic Var Compensation (SVC) technology has been


extensively used for improving the power quality of
electricity transmission and distribution networks [1], [2]. The
Rowville SVC project is to replace a set of existing TCR and
TSC thyristor valves that SP AusNet has been using for many
years. The replacement thyristor valves will be supplied by
AREVA using their S500 series SVC valve technology. The
replacement SVC will be installed at the Rowville substation
in the south suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The project
started in July 2007 and the commission date was scheduled
for early 2010.
The S500 series is AREVAs latest range of liquid-cooled
thyristor valves for Static Var Compensation (SVC)
applications. The S500 series valves use 5 8.5kV electricallytrigged thyristors and have been developed by drawing on
AREVAs extensive experience of applying thyristor-based
SVCs since the mid 1980s, for both utility (transmission) and
industrial applications [3], [4], [5]. The S500 series SVC valve
technology provides a very compact, versatile yet standardized
platform for both Thyristor Controlled Reactor (TCR) and
Thyristor Switched Capacitor (TSC) variants.

This work was supported by PES, AREVA T&D UK.


J. Z. Cao, M. Donoghue, and C. Horwill are with the Power Electronics
System (PES), AREVA T&D, UK ST17 4LX (e-mail: junzheng.cao@arevatd.com, Mark.donoghue@areva-td.com, and chris.horwill@areva-td.com).
A. Singh is with SP AusNet, Southbank Victory 3006, Australia (e-mail:
anil.singh@sp-ausnet.com.au)
978-1-4244-5940-7/10/$26.002010 IEEE

II. SCHEME PARAMETER


A. Site environment
The SVC valves for the project will be installed in a fully
enclosed building, served with an air ventilation system. The
altitude of the site is approximately 90m above sea level and
the bulk air temperature inside the valve room ranges from
+5C to +50C. External ambient temperature of the site
ranges from -5C to 40C. The site is categorised as a low
Seismic zone.
B. System parameters and SVC operation
The single line diagram of the proposed SVC is shown in
Fig. 1. The SVC is required to have a continuous capacitive
rating of 100Mvar and a continuous inductive rating of 60Mvar at 220kV. The steady-state system frequency ranges
from 48.5Hz to 50.5Hz, with a nominal frequency of 50Hz.
Under extreme scenarios, the system frequency can drop to
45Hz minimum or rise to 51.5Hz maximum. However, the
duration for the extreme cases should be no more than 5
seconds. The short circuit impedance for the AC system is
estimated at 0.7% to 2.0% of a 100MVA base.
The proposed SVC comprises one TCR, one TSC and a set
of Harmonic Filters (FC). The TCR, TSC and FC are
connected to the 220kV (1pu) system via a 100MVA stepdown transformer. The rated (1pu) operation voltage at the
SVC bus is 10.5kV (1pu). Both the TCR and TSC are
connected in delta configuration. The nominal rating of the
TCR is 85.6Mvar and 70Mvar for the TSC. The Harmonic
filters are rated at 19.5Mvar and tuned to 5th and 7th
harmonics.
TABLE I and Fig. 2 show the operating characteristics of
the SVC. The maximum continuous operating voltage for the
AC system is 225kVrms (1.023pu) for full capacitive output
(E) and 242kVrms (1.1pu) for full inductive output (F). The
minimum continuous system voltage for normal operation is
198kVrms (0.9pu). The 1 second short duration overvoltage
(D) for TCR operation is as high as 286kVrms (1.3pu)
whereas the 0.2 second short duration undervoltage (C) for
TSC deblocking is 0.3pu.
III. TCR AND TSC VALVE DESIGN
A. Per thyristor level design
The basic electrical circuits for both the TCR and TSC

valves are essentially identical. As shown in Fig. 3, each


thyristor level comprises a pair of anti-parallel connected
thyristors, a gate electronics unit, associated damping, DC
grading and fast grading circuits. The damping, DC grading,
and fast grading components are used for proper internal
distribution of the valve voltage from DC to impulse including
the transient at voltage recovery. The gate electronic unit
provides electrical gating of the thyristors under both normal
and abnormal operating conditions.
Fig. 4 shows the typical cooling arrangement for a TCR and
TSC thyristor level. Both anti-parallel thyristors of a thyristor
level are sandwiched respectively between two water-cooled
heatsinks. The cooling circuit is arranged to ensure even

cooling of the anti-parallel thyristor strings and to take full


potential of the thyristor thermal and electrical capabilities.
The coolant path for the TCR damping or TSC damping and
DC grading resistors is in series with the coolant outlet from
the thyristor heatsinks.
For a TCR valve under phase control, the damping resistors
will dissipate large amounts of heat which necessitates a direct
cooled resistor (the coolant passes through the body of the
resistor) design. The DC grading resistors for a TCR valve
however dissipate relatively little heat and therefore only
require indirect cooling as provided by extended sections of
the aluminium thyristor heatsinks.

TABLE I
SVC OUTPUT ON 220KV BUS WITH NOMINAL COMPONENTS
Case
E
A
H
D
F
B
J
C2
C

220kV Bus
voltage (pu)
1.023
1.00
0.90
1.30
1.10
1.00
0.90
0.80
0.30

10.5kV Bus
voltage (pu)
1.14
1.12
1.01
1.20
1.03
0.93
0.83
0.90
0.28

Current (A) @
220kV bus
266.9
261.0
234.9
-208.9
-157.4
-160.7
-144.6
208.8
-48.2

Mvar @
220kV bus
104.0
99.5
80.6
-103.5
-66.0
-61.2
-49.6
63.7
-5.5

Operating
Mode
Capacitive
Capacitive
Capacitive
Inductive
Inductive
Inductive
Inductive
Minimum Limit of phase control
Minimum operating voltage

HV bus
voltage, kV

Time
Duration
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
Temporary
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
1s
0.2s

300
D
250

F
5% slope

1.023pu
H

0.9pu

C2

1pu

Normal operating range

200

J
Min limit of
phase control

0.8pu
150

100
C
Min operating voltage

0.3pu
50

300

Fig. 1. Static Var Compensator Single Line Diagram

Unlike the TCR valve, the TSC DC grading resistor


requires a more efficient heatsink arrangement while the TSC
damping resistor power dissipation requirement is
considerably lower than that of the TCR. Both the TSC DC
grading and damping resistors are mounted on a common
aluminium heatsink as illustrated (as a stand-alone unit) in Fig.
4.
The communication between the Valve Base Electronics
(VBE) and each thyristor level is carried out using two optical
fibres, one firing fibre which carries the start and stop pulses
and one data-back fibre which feeds information on the status
of each thyristor level back to the VBE. If a thyristor ceases to

Fig. 2.

200

100

0
0
SVC Current, A

-100

-200

-300

SVC Voltage / Current Characteristic for nominal Components

conduct between a start and a stop pulse (e.g. during


discontinuous current operation), detection of positive voltage
will cause additional gate pulses to be generated as required.
B. Valve mechanical
The 3-phase TCR valve is assembled in a single valve stack
of three modules high. Each module contains the thyristor
levels and associated circuits for a single phase of the AC
voltage. Each phase of the TCR valve comprises five series
connected thyristor levels including one redundancy. Since
each module can accommodate a maximum of eight thyristor
levels, the un-used thyristor-level positions of the module

assemblies are replaced with copper blocks. Thyristors of a


valve module are protected against inrush current at turn-on
using two series connected di/dt limiting reactors. Schematic

drawings for the proposed TCR valve and module structures


are shown in Fig. 5 (a) and Fig. 5 (b) respectively.
Thyristor
heatsink

TCR DC
grading
resistor

TSC damping &


DC grading resistor
assembly

Thyristor
XLPE (PEX)
coolant
pipework
Coolant feed
& return

Fig. 3. Basic electrical circuit of a thyristor level

All the thyristors within a valve module are clamped


between high-efficiency liquid cooled heatsinks. GlassReinforced Plastic (GRP) tension bands are used to secure the
assembly and to provide the high clamping load necessary for
good electrical and thermal contacts between thyristors and
heatsinks. The clamping system facilitates replacement of
individual thyristors without the need for opening any power
or coolant connections [6].
All the coolant paths within a module are effectively
connected in parallel to coolant distribution manifolds. The

TCR
damping
resistor

Fig. 4. Typical cooling arrangement for a single thyristor level of TCR


and TSC valves

TCR saturable reactors are cooled in series with the outmost


thyristor heatsinks of the thyristor clamping assemblies. The
coolant is distributed up the valve stack using additional largediameter PEX pipes, connected to manifolds blocks at the
sides of each valve stack.
The mechanical structure for the TSC valve is identical to
that for the TCR except that each individual TSC valve
module is fully populated with a total of eight thyristor levels
including one redundancy. No di/dt limiting reactors are
implemented for the TSC valve.
IV. TCR & TSC VALVE RATING

(a) Typical TCR valve structure


Gate electronics

Thyristor Clamped
Assemblies
Damping
Resistors
Damping
Capacitors

di/dt Reactor

(b) Typical TCR module structure


Fig. 5. Typical TCR valve and module structures

Auxiliary
Supply CT
stick

The thyristor valves for SVC applications are typically


designed for a lifetime of up to 30 years with minimum
inspection and cleaning requirements between intervals of a
few years. The thyristor valves need to withstand not only the
thermal and voltage stresses under various continuous and
temporary operations, but also the voltage and thermal stresses
as the results of the switching, lightning, and steep-front
impulse voltages. The thyristor valves are further required to
withstand the stresses resulting from a fault either due to
disturbances originating from the ac system or due to a major
insulation failure on the system bus. The probability for an
insulation failure on the SVC bus is minimized by allowing for
significant clearances between busbars of different potentials
and installing the valves in an in-door environment. This
section discusses the most important aspects of the TCR and
TSC valve designs, in connection with their reliable operation
for the application.
A. TCR valve thyristor levels
As with any other power device [7], recovery overshoot
occurs at thyristor turn-off. Recovery overshoot is a natural
phenomenon due to the interaction between the stored charge
of the thyristor and the TCR reactance of the SVC system. In
accordance with IEC standard [8], a sufficient number of
series connected thyristor levels has to be deployed in the TCR
design to limit this recovery overshoot voltage (ROV)
experienced by individual thyristor levels, the maximum of
which occurs during the type test condition.

Studies were performed by analysis of the recovery


overshoot voltage across a single thyristor level at different
firing angles, occurring at the type test condition and with the
most unfavourable component tolerance combination. As
shown in Fig. 6, for a minimum of four thyristor levels, the
maximum recovery overshoot voltage across the worst
thyristor level is 7.8kV, which is less than the minimum VBO
protection level of 8kV for individual thyristor levels. The
maximum recovery overshoot voltage occurs at a TCR firing
angle of approximate 98 electrical.
9000
The worst level ROV, V

8000
7000
6000
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
90

110

130

150

170

Firing angle, deg

Fig. 6. TCR thyristor level recovery overshoot voltage (ROV) vs. thyristor
firing angles at the type test condition (with redundancy shorted)

30

SVC bus voltage, kV

25
20
15
10
5
0
-5
-10
-15
-20
0

100

200

300
400
Time, ms

500

600

700

100

200

300
400
Time, ms

500

600

700

500

600

700

12

Valve current, kA

10
8
6
4
2
0
-2
-4

Thyristor junction temperature, 0C

-6

120
C

115
110

105
100
95
90

85
80
0

100

200

300
400
Time, ms

Fig. 7. The worst-case TCR thyristor temperature for a true short circuit
fault on the HV bus

B. TCR valve thermal rating


Among all the possible fault scenarios, it is the line-line
short circuit fault occurring on the AC system voltage that is
typically the worst in terms of imposing high thermal stress in
the thyristors.
Studies were performed assuming a symmetrical close-in
fault on the AC system voltage at the peak of the maximum
continuous valve current. The thyristor junction temperature
prior to the fault was determined by the maximum continuous
operating condition at 1.03pu SVC bus voltage in conjunction
with the worst case cooling condition corresponding to the
maximum ambient temperature of 40C. The associated worstcase thyristor junction temperature prior to the fault was
determined to be approximately 91C (Point A in Fig. 7).
During the fault period, although the TCR current decays
the thyristor junction temperature continues to rise for a period
of time. The rate of decay of the TCR current depends on the
L/R time constant of the fault circuit. The studies show that the
worst-case occurs if the fault is cleared when thyristor junction
temperature reaches its maximum peak, which is found to be
approximately 98C (Point B in Fig. 7) for this project.
The worst-case thyristor junction temperature post fault
clearance is dependent upon the amplitude of the recovery
voltage. A number of studies have been performed and the
results show that the worst-case thyristor junction temperature
occurs when the SVC bus is recovering to 1.20 pu. The
corresponding peak thyristor junction temperature is 117C
(Point C in Fig. 7), which is less than the 120C protection
limit imposed for TCR phase control.
C. TSC valve thyristor levels
The minimum number of series connected thyristor levels
for a TSC valve is determined by considering three scenarios:
the valve needs not only to withstand the impulse voltages
applied at both the type test and service conditions but also to
withstand the recovery overshoot voltage across individual
thyristor levels at turn-off. It is a requirement that the worstcase thyristor voltage stresses in the three scenarios shall not
exceed the non-repetitive off-state voltage rating of the
thyristor.
Although the impulse voltages applied during the type test
condition are 10% higher than in services [8], the voltage
stresses experienced by the valve thyristors at type tests may
not necessarily be the worst condition. This is because during
type test the TSC valve is in the blocked state and the voltage
distribution is only determined by the tolerances of the
damping and grading circuits. In operation however the
voltage stresses experienced by individual thyristor levels are
determined by a combination of component tolerances (of
damping and grading circuits) and the additional influence of
thyristor stored charge spread.
Although the TSC valve does not experience any recovery
overshoot voltage during continuous operation, the valve does
see a high recovery voltage at blocking (turn-off). The
amplitude of the recovery overshoot is dependent of the

40

-1

35

-2

30

110

25

105

20

100

-3
-4
-5
-6
-7

120

Current peak
=35kA

Tj peak
=115C

15

95

Valve current

10

90
Thyristor junction
temperature

-8

115

85

-9
15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

Time, s

Fig. 8. TSC valve worst-level recovery overshoot voltage (ROV) at turn-off


from the maximum tolerance Safe-To-Fire interlock threshold

D. TSC valve thermal rating


Unlike for a TCR valve, the TSC is protected against
impulse voltages using parallel-connected valve surge
arresters. However in terms of thermal rating it is the
amplitude of the inrush current into the TSC valve that is the
determining factor. In order to limit the inrush current at deblocking the valve is provided with a Safe-To-Fire interlock
protection system to prevent de-blocking from too high a valve
voltage.
The TSC valve surge arresters are rated for operation at the
maximum voltage appearing across the thyristor valve. The
Safe-To-Fire interlock protection level for a complete valve
is determined by the characteristics of the valve surge arresters
and the minimum SVC voltage at which the TSC is allowed to
deblock. The TSC valve is allowed to deblock only if the
voltage across the TSC valve is less than the valve Safe-ToFire interlock level.
For the proposed TSC configuration, the maximum voltage
appearing across the valve forms shortly after the TSC valve
changes from a de-blocked state to a blocked state. At this
time the valve voltage is a combination of an AC component in
relationship to the AC system voltage and a decaying DC
voltage that is trapped on the TSC capacitors. This 'trapped
voltage' could remain on the capacitors for several minutes
until the capacitors have naturally discharged.
System study shows that the highest steady-state SVC bus
voltage for capacitive output is 11.1kVrms or 15.7kVpk. Due

80
19

20

21

22

Thyristor junction temperature, 0C

to the tuning reactors (shown in Fig. 1), the maximum voltage


trapped on the TSC capacitors is 18.1kVdc, more than the
peak of the corresponding SVC bus voltage. The minimum
voltage capability for the TSC valve surge arresters is
therefore required to be 15.7kV+18.1kV=33.8kVpk. For a
surge arrester with known voltage rating, the SIPL of the surge
arrester will depend on the surge arrester characteristics and
the number of surge arrester columns used. The SIPL for the
valve surge arrester for this project is rated at 48.5kV at a
coordination current of 2kA.
Considering the combined effects of the 0.3pu minimum
AC system for TSC deblocking given in Section II and the
valve surge arrester protection level derived above, the
maximum Safe-To-Fire interlock threshold for a complete
TSC valve is designed at 40.1kV.

Valve current, kA

Worst-level ROV, kV

damping circuit, thyristor stored charge, and the re-applied


voltage at thyristor turn-off. The thyristor stored charge in turn
is a function of the thyristor junction temperature and the rate
of thyristor current at turn-off.
Detailed study confirmed that for a TSC valve with a
minimum of 7 thyristor levels, the valve is capable of
withstanding the impulse voltage stresses at both the type test
and service conditions, as well as the recovery overshoot
voltage at thyristor turn-off.
Fig. 8 shows the worst-level thyristor recovery overshoot
voltage assuming that the TSC valve is de-blocked from the
maximum Safe-To-Firing protection voltage discussed in the
next section. The worst-level recovery overshoot voltage is
within the rated non-repetitive off-state voltage (of 8.5kV) of
the thyristor. The actual magnitude of the worst-level recovery
overshoot voltage obtained is 8.44kV.

23

Time, ms

Fig. 9. TSC valve transient current and thyristor junction temperature when
de-blocking from the maximum Safe-To-Fire interlock threshold

Fig. 9 shows the maximum possible thyristor current and


junction temperature when the TSC valve is de-blocked from
the maximum Safe-To-Fire interlock protection level. The
associated peak inrush current is 35kA and the corresponding
peak thyristor junction temperature is 115C, which is less
than the rated thyristor junction temperature for continuous
operation. Prior to deblocking, the TSC valve is assumed to
have been blocked for one period of the nominal system
frequency, following its worst-case continuous operation at
type test condition.
V. CONCLUSION
The design of the electrically-triggered thyristor valves for
the Rowville SVC replacement project satisfies the
requirements of the scheme. The valve design uses the
combination of the thyristors high voltage and high current
capabilities to provide the best compromise between the
schemes low cost and high efficiency requirements. Use of an
efficient cooling system in combination of de-ionized pure
water allows the thyristor valves to operate at the maximum
ambient temperature in conjunction with the worst-case
operating conditions. Individual thyristor levels of both TCR
and TSC valves are safe guarded using intelligent gate
electronics units. The TSC valve is further protected against
external impulse voltage using valve surge arresters. By using
an independent power supply arrangement for the gate
electronics units, the valves are allowed to operate at zero

system voltage between valve terminals.


VI. ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Appreciation is expressed to AREVA T&D and SP AusNet
for permitting the publication of the contents quoted in this
paper.
VII. REFERENCE
[1]
[2]
[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

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compensation for ac power transmission ten years experience, GEC
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M. H. Baker, H. L. Thanawala, D. J. Young, and I. A. Erinmez, Static
var compensators enhance a meshed transmission system, CIGRE
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M. Granger, A. Dutil, A. Dery, C. Horwill, and C. Davidson, Using
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Standard 61954 Ed. 1.0:1999.