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# Power Factor

and
Reactive Power

Ward Jewell
Wichita State University
Power Systems Engineering Research Center
(pserc.org)

PSERC

## Energy to lift a 5 pound weight

2 feet high:
2 ft x 5 lb = 10 ft-lb
= 0.0000038 kWh
= 0.0033 “calories”
(which are actually kcal)

## Value at 10.3 cents per kWh:

(average residential US price, summer 2006)

0.000039 cents
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As dragline bucket lowers, motors
generate, return electricity to source

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## Induction motor with no load

800
735.249

600
energy
to motor
power (watts)

400

200
p ( t)
0
0 energy
200

400
from
− 465.196
600
0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.01 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018
motor
0 t 0.017

time (seconds)

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Induction motor
800
735.249

600
power (watts)

400
average
p ( t)
200
power:
0

200
130 watts
400

− 465.196
600
0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.01 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018

0 t 0.017

time (seconds)

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Incandescent lights
350
306.8

300
power (watts)

250

200
average
p ( t)
150 power:
100
150 watts
50

0
0
0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.01 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018 0
0 t 0.017
time (seconds)

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Incandescent Lights

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Lights and Motor

lights

motor with

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## Why do the Volts and Amps matter?

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Motors and Resistance Heat:
100 MW

## Resistance Heat 12.3 kV 1.0 MW

Motors 11.7 kV 2.3 MW

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Incandescent Lights

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Incandescent lights power:

## Power = 118 V x 1.3 A

= 153 W
= 0.15 kW
= power measured by meter

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Incandescent Lights

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## Induction motor power:

117.7 V x 5.1 A
= 600 W?
= 0.6 kW?
NOT the power measured by meter

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## Apparent power = volts x amps

For the motor:
117.7 V x 5.1 A
= 600 VA
= 0.6 kVA

VA: volt-ampere
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Define some new values:

Power Factor =
Average (“real”) (kW) power
Apparent (kVA) power
For the motor:
pf = 0.13 kW / 0.60 kVA
pf = 0.22

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## Define some new values:

reactive power = 0.58 kVAR
kVA

for the motor:
0.60=

reactive power =
ower

## VI2 – average power2

rent p

2 2
( 0.60kVA) − ( 0.13kW) = 0.59 kVAR
Appa

0.58 kVAR
VAR: volt-ampere reactive
real power = 0.13 kW
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## Lights and Motor

Real Reactive Apparent Power Current Voltage
Power power power factor

## Incan- 0.15 0 kVAR 0.15 kVA 1.0 1.3 A 118.0 V

descent kW
lights
Induction 0.13 0.58 0.60 kVA 0.22 5.1 A 117.7 V
motor with kW kVAR

## Note: the motor’s reactive power will stay near its

power (and thus apparent power and power

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Power factor and reactive power
are indicators of

##  power losses in wires

 voltage drop between supply and load

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## Typical Power Factors

Induction motor 0.7-0.8

## Battery Chargers 0.6-1.0

Computers 0.5-1.0

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Power factor:

## Most loads with lower power factor

are inductive.
Current lags voltage.
Power factor is “lagging.”

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voltage current

3.6 ms

## Current lags voltage by about 3.6 milliseconds

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Another way to calculate power factor

16.7 ms

3.6 ms

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## Another way to calculate power factor:

“displacement” power factor

## (3.6 ms / 16.7 ms) x 360 degrees = 77 degrees

current lags voltage by 77 degrees
cosine (77 degrees) = 0.22
power factor is 0.22 lagging

pf = cos θ
θ = angle between voltage and current

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Incandescent lights

## Current and voltage are “in phase.”

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Incandescent lights:
displacement power factor:
angle between voltage and current
= 0 degrees
pf = cos(0 degrees) = 1.0

## true power factor:

pf = 0.15 kW / 0.15 kVA
pf = 1.0
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If voltage and current are sinusoidal
displacement pf (DPF) = true pf (PF)

motor lights

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Correcting (increasing)
power factor

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Capacitors to improve power factor:
capacitors release energy
when inductors consume
1.2
1

Capacitor 0.5

current iL( t)
0
ic ( t)

Inductor 0.5

current 1
− 1.2
0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.01 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018

0 t 0.017

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## Induction motor with

power factor correction capacitor

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Induction motor with
power factor correction capacitor

## Real Reactive Apparent Power Current Voltage

power power power factor
Induction 0.13 0.58 0.60 0.22 5.1 A 117.7
motor kW kVAR kVA V
Induction 0.13 0.11 0.18 0.96 1.5 A 118.4
motor with kW kVAR kVA V
capacitors

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Wire losses:
motors with capacitors
Customer voltage Power lost in wires

## Motors with power 12.3 kV 1.0 MW

factor correction
capacitor

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Incandescent lights with
power factor correction capacitor

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## Incandescent lights with

power factor correction capacitor

## Real Reactive Apparent Power Current Voltage

power power power factor
Incan- 0.15 0 kVAR 0.15 kVA 1.0 1.3 A 118.0 V
descent kW
lights
Lights with 0.15 0.64 0.66 kVA 0.23 5.5 A 119.9 V

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Wire losses:
lights with capacitors

## Resistance heat 12.3 kV 1.0 MW

Resistance heat 13.0 kV 2.0 MW
with power factor
correction
capacitors

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Current leads voltage in a capacitor.
Too much capacitance causes low leading
power factor.
(just as bad as low lagging power factor)
Leading power factor causes high voltage
and increased wire losses.
Use the correct amount of capacitance.
(more is not better)
Switch capacitors off when motors are off
(just put capacitor on same switch as motor)
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If voltage and current are sinusoidal
displacement pf = true pf

motor lights

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## If waveform is not sinusoidal:

PC voltage and current

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If waveform is not sinusoidal:
PC voltage and current

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Harmonic distortion

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Low power factor caused by
harmonic distortion cannot be
corrected by capacitors

## Harmonic currents are not accompanied by

harmonic voltage, so average (real) power
in harmonics is almost zero.
pf = average power / apparent power
decreases

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 computers
 motor drives
 battery chargers
 rectifiers
 induction heaters
 arc furnaces

## To correct low power factor caused by

distorted current waveforms, the
harmonic currents must be filtered.

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Capacitors can make
harmonic distortion worse:
Lights with power factor correction capacitor

## This is rare, but should be considered

in the presence of harmonic loads
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Summary
 Induction motors and other inductive equipment load the electric
power system differently than incandescent lights and resistive
heaters
 Power Factor and Reactive Power are indicators of power lost in
wires and reduced customer voltage
 Low displacement power factor caused by induction motors (and
other inductive loads) can be corrected with power factor
correction capacitors
 Power factor correction capacitors must be sized properly
 Power factor correction capacitors cost much less than utility
power factor charges and will eliminate those charges
 Power factor correction capacitors should be disconnected when
motors are disconnected
 Low harmonic power factor is corrected with filters, not capacitors.
Capacitors may make it worse.

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Ward Jewell
316.978.6340
ward.jewell@wichita.edu
pserc.org
(slides are posted under “presentations”)

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