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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

Earth Mat Design for 132/33Kv Substation

in Rivers State Using ETAP
C.S. Esobinenwu, B.O.H. Akinwole, C.O. Omeje,
Department of Electrical/Electronic Engineering
University of Port Harcourt,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Abstract: Earthing is an important aspect of every The accurate design of an earthing system is
substation construction. Earth Mat is preferable to essential to assure the safety of the persons, to
large substations because of space saving on the protect the equipment and to avoid interruptions in
ground level due to substantial reduction of earth the power supply. Thus, the apparent electrical
pits which leads to ease of coordination. Earth Mat resistance of the earthing system must be low enough
minimizes the danger of high step or touch voltages to guarantee that fault currents dissipate mainly
in critical operating areas or places that are through the earthing electrode into the ground, while
frequently used by people. Thus properly designed the values of electrical potentials between close points
earthing system capable of dissipating large currents on the earth surface that can be connected by a
safely to earth is required, regardless of the fault person must be kept under certain maximum safe
type. This paper presents the design of earthing limits [1, 2]. The earthing system in a plant / facility
systems for the 132/33Kv substation in Rivers state is very important for few reasons, all of which are
of Nigeria and the review of substation practices related to either the protection of people and
with special reference to safety and development equipment and/or the optimal operation of the
criteria for safe design. A real time case study has electrical system. These include:
been considered and the design was done using
ETAP (Electrical Transients Analyzer Program). Equipotential bonding of conductive
Simulation using ETAP eradicates the error that is objects (e.g. metallic equipment, buildings, piping
inherent in manual operational method that is mostly etc) to the earthing system that prevents the presence
used in various substations. of dangerous voltages between objects (and earth).
Keywords: Earth Mat, Step potential, touch
potential, Earthing, ground resistance, electrodes, The earthing system provides a low
and simulations. resistance return path for earth faults within the
plant, which protects both personnel and equipment

1.0) Introduction
The earthing system of an electrical substation For earth faults with return paths to offsite

comprises all interconnected earthing facilities of a generation sources, a low resistance earthing grid

specific area with the earthing grid as its main relative to remote earth prevents dangerous ground

element. In general, it consists of a mesh of potential rises (touch and step potentials)

interconnected cylindrical conductors, horizontally The earthing system provides a low

buried and supplemented by ground rods vertically resistance path (relative to remote earth) for voltage

thrusted in specific places of the installation site [1]. transients such as lightning and surges / over

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

Equipotential bonding helps prevent However, where there are decoupled networks (e.g.
electrostatic build up and discharge, which can cause long transmission lines to remote areas of the plant),
sparks with enough energy to ignite flammable then touch and step potential calculations should be
atmospheres performed for the remote area only.
The earthing system provides a reference In [3] it was stated that a good earthing system has a
potential for electronic circuits and helps reduce low resistance to remote earth to minimize the
electrical noise for electronic, instrumentation and ground potential rise (GPR).
communication systems In order for an earthing design to be safe, it needs to
This calculation is based primarily on the guidelines provide a way to carry the electric currents into the
provided by IEEE Std 80 (2000), "Guide for safety ground under both normal and faulted conditions.
in AC substation earthing". Lightning protection is Also, it must provide assurance that a person in the
excluded from the scope of this calculation (refer to vicinity would not be endangered. Because there is
the specific lightning protection calculation for more no simple relation between the resistance of the
details). earthing system and the maximum shock current a
The earthing calculation aids in the proper design of person can experience, a complete analysis must be
the earthing system. Using the results of this done to consider many different aspects such as the
calculation, one can: location of the ground electrodes, soil
Determine the minimum size of the earthing characteristics. According to [4] it was assumed
conductors required for the main earth grid that any earthing object can be safely touched, but
Ensure that the earthing design is appropriate to that is not always the case. A low substation ground

prevent dangerous step and touch potentials (if resistance doesnt guarantee safety. There are no
this is necessary) simple relation between the ground system
This calculation should be performed when the resistance and the maximum shock current that a

earthing system is being designed. It could also be person might be exposed to. In [5] different

done after the preliminary design has been formulae to calculate the earth resistance of several

completed to confirm that the earthing system is configurations of rods; a short horizontal wire, a

adequate, or highlight the need for improvement / buried horizontal plate, a horizontal strip and a ring

redesign. Ideally, soil resistivity test results got from of wire were proposed.

the site will be available for use in touch and step Recently studies of the horizontal earth electrode
potential calculations (if necessary). using the transmission line model were carried out.

The sizing of earthing conductors should always be Their results showed that the voltage drop along the

performed, but touch and step potential calculations horizontal electrode was significant due to

(per IEEE Std 80 for earth faults with a return path inductance, but only a certain length, the effective

through remote earth) are not always necessary. length, contributed to current dissipation. The

For example, when all electricity is generated on-site effective length was shown to increase with
and the HV/MV/LV earthing systems are increasing soil resistivity [6].

interconnected, then there is no need to do a touch In [7], an analytical model of a horizontal earth
and step potential calculation. In such a case, all electrode based on an equivalent transmission line

earth faults would return to the source via the was used and it was demonstrated that no

earthing system (notwithstanding some small significant benefit could be achieved by extending

leakage through earth). the electrode length beyond the effective length.

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A definition of the effective length as the length at 3.0 ) Recommendations for Resistance Values
which the voltage reaches 3% of its value at the from Different Standards:
current injection point was also proposed in [8]. An
The National Electric Code (NEC), Section 250-84,
analytical expression was proposed to calculate the
requires that a single electrode consisting of rod,
effective length of a horizontal earth electrode based
pipe or plate that does not have a resistance to
on a formula from earlier work presented in [9].
ground of 25 ohms or less shall be augmented by
one additional electrode of the type listed in
2.0) Conventional Earthing & Earth Mat Design section 250-81 or 250-83. Multiple electrodes
A. Conventional Earthing should always be installed so that they are more
The conventional system of Earthing calls for than six feet (1.8m) apart. Spacing greater than six
digging of a large pit into which a GI pipe or a feet will increase the rod efficiency. Proper spacing
copper plate is positioned amidst layers of of the electrodes will ensure that the maximum
charcoal and salt. It is cumbersome to install only amount of fault current can be safely discharged
one or two pits in a day. Types of conventional into the earth.
Earthing are shown below: B. CPWD (CENTRAL PUBLIC WORKS
a. Pipe Earthing The earth resistance at each electrode shall be
b. GI Pipe Earthing measured. No earth electrode shall have a greater
c. Cast Iron Plate Earthing ohmic resistance than 5 ohms as measured by an
d. Copper Plate Earthing approved earth testing apparatus. In rocky soil the
resistance may be up to 8 ohms
The conventional system of GI pipe Earthing or Where the above stated earth resistance is not
copper plate Earthing requires maintenance and achieved, necessary improvement shall be made by
pouring of water at regular interval. additional provisions, such as additional
electrodes, different type of electrode or artificial
B. Earth Mat design
chemical treatment of soil etc., as may be directed
Substation earth system will have a combination of
by the Engineer-in-charge
buried horizontal conductors in rows and columns
C. IS 3043
and vertical electrodes. A sold metallic plate or a
The choice of using a common earth or separate
system of closely spaced bare conductors that
earths for the system of different voltages at a
are connected to and often placed in shallow
transforming point effect:
depths above a ground grid or elsewhere at the
The probability of breakdown occurring in a
earths surface, in order to obtain an extra protective
transformer between the higher and lower voltage
measure minimizing the danger of the exposure to
sides due to lighting or other surges and
high step or touch voltages in a critical operating
The safety of consumers or their property supplied
area or places that are frequently used by people.
by any low voltage system distributed from the
Grounded metal gratings placed on or above the soil
station against arises of potential of the earthed
surface, or wire mesh placed directly under the
neutral by a high voltage system earth fault at the
surface material, are common form of a ground mat.
Station. The former risk is reduced by use of a
common earth system and the latter danger only
arises if the resistance of the earth electrode system

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

is not sufficiently low to limit the rise of earth on a normal cable, where the limiting temperature is
potential to a safe value. There is advantage in that which would cause permanent damage to the
using a common earth where the earth electrode cable's insulation, the temperature limit for earthing
resistance, Including the parallel resistance of any grid conductors is the melting point of the conductor.
bonded metalwork, etc, to earth is 1 ohm or less as The minimum conductor size capable of
is usual at power stations large outdoor substations withstanding adiabatic temperature rise associated
or substations supplying a network of cables with earth fault is given by re-arranging IEEE Std 80
whose sheaths have a low impedance to earth . Equation 37 represented by (1)

4.0) Calculation Methodology
A = i t TCAP (1)
This calculation is based on IEEE Std 80 (2000), T T
ln 1 +
"Guide for safety in AC substation earthing". There K + T
are two main parts to this calculation:
Where is the minimum cross-sectional area of
Earthing grid conductor sizing
the earthing grid conductor (mm2)
Touch and step potential
is the energy of the maximum earth
fault (A2s)
IEEE Std 80 is quite descriptive, detailed and easy to
is the maximum allowable (fusing)
follow, so only an overview will be presented here
temperature (C)
and IEEE Std 80 is consulted for further details
is the ambient temperature (C)
is the thermal coefficient of resistivity
A. Prerequisites.
(C - 1)
The following information is required / desirable
is the resistivity of the earthing
before starting the calculation:
conductor (.cm)
A layout of the site
Maximum earth fault current into is a constant denoted by 20 C

the earthing grid is the thermal capacity of the

Maximum fault clearing time conductor per unit volume(Jcm - 3C - 1)
Ambient (or soil) temperature at The material constants Tm, r, r and TCAP for
the site common conductor materials can be found in IEEE
Soil resistivity measurements at Std 80 Table 1. For example. commercial hard-
the site (for touch and step only) drawn copper has material constants:
Resistivity of any surface layers Tm = 1084 C
intended to be laid (for touch and r = 0.00381 C - 1
step only) r = 1.78 .cm
B. Earthing Grid Conductor Sizing TCAP = 3.42 Jcm - 3C - 1.
Determining the minimum size of the earthing grid As described in IEEE Std 80 Section, there
conductors is necessary to ensure that the earthing are alternative methods to formulate this equation,
grid will be able to withstand the maximum earth all of which can also be derived from first principles.
fault current. Like a normal power cable under fault, There are also additional factors that should be
the earthing grid conductors experience an adiabatic considered (e.g. taking into account future growth in
short circuit temperature rise. However unlike a fault

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

fault levels), as discussed in IEEE Std 80 Section on range of soil resistivities based on the general
11.3.3. characteristics of the soil (i.e. wet organic soil = 10
5) Touch and Step Potential Calculations. .m, moist soil = 100 .m, dry soil = 1,000 .m
When electricity is generated remotely and there are and bedrock = 10,000 .m).
no return paths for earth faults other than the earth Step 2: Surface Layer Materials
itself, then there is a risk that earth faults can cause Applying a thin layer (0.08m - 0.15m) of high
dangerous voltage gradients in the earth around the resistivity material (such as gravel, blue metal,
site of the fault (called ground potential rises). This crushed rock, etc) over the surface of the ground is
means that someone standing near the fault can commonly used to help protect against dangerous
receive a dangerous electrical shock due to: touch and step voltages. This is because the surface
Touch voltages - there is a dangerous layer material increases the contact resistance
potential difference between the earth and a between the soil (i.e. earth) and the feet of a person
metallic object that a person is touching standing on it, thereby lowering the current flowing
Step voltages - there is a dangerous voltage through the person in the event of a fault.
gradient between the feet of a person IEEE Std 80 Table 7 gives typical values for surface
standing on earth layer material resistivity in dry and wet conditions
The earthing grid can be used to dissipate fault (e.g. 40mm crushed granite = 4,000 .m (dry) and
currents to remote earth and reduce the voltage 1,200 .m (wet)).
gradients in the earth. The touch and step potential The effective resistance of a person's feet (with
calculations are performed in order to assess whether respect to earth) when standing on a surface layer is
the earthing grid can dissipate the fault currents so not the same as the surface layer resistance because
that dangerous touch and step voltages cannot exist. the layer is not thick enough to have uniform
Step 1: Soil Resistivity resistivity in all directions. A surface layer derating
The resistivity properties of the soil where the factor needs to be applied in order to compute the
earthing grid will be laid is an important factor in effective foot resistance (with respect to earth) in the
determining the earthing grid's resistance with presence of a finite thickness of surface layer
respect to remote earth. Soils with lower resistivity material. This derating factor can be approximated
lead to lower overall grid resistances and potentially by an empirical formula as per IEEE Std 80
smaller earthing grid configurations can be designed Equation 27 represented in (2):
(i.e. that comply with safe step and touch potentials).
0.09 1

It is good practice to perform soil resistivity tests on C = 1 (2)
2h + 0.09
the site. There are a few standard methods for
Where is the surface layer derating factor
measuring soil resistivity (e.g. Wenner four-pin
is the soil resistivity (.m)
method). A good discussion on the interpretation of
is the resistivity of the surface layer
soil resistivity test measurements is found in IEEE
material (.m)
Std 80 Section 13.4.
h is the thickness of the surface layer
Sometimes it isn't possible to conduct soil resistivity
tests and an estimate must suffice. When estimating
This derating factor will be used later in Step 5 when
soil resistivity, it goes without saying that one should
calculating the maximum allowable touch and step
err on the side of caution and select a higher
resistivity. IEEE Std 80 Table 8 gives some guidance

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Step 3: Earthing Grid Resistance B. Schwarz Equations.

A good earthing grid has low resistance (with The Schwarz equations are a series of equations that
respect to remote earth) to minimise ground potential are more accurate in modelling the effect of earthing
rise (GPR) and consequently avoid dangerous touch rods / electrodes. The equations are found in IEEE
and step voltages. Calculating the earthing grid Std 80 Equations 53, 54, 55 and 56, as presented in
resistance usually goes hand in hand with earthing (4):
grid design - that is, you design the earthing grid to R R R
minimise grid resistance. The earthing grid R = (4)
R + R 2R
resistance mainly depends on the area taken up by
the earthing grid, the total length of buried earthing
Where R is the earthing grid resistance with respect
conductors and the number of earthing rods /
to remote earth ()
R is the earth resistance of the grid
IEEE Std 80 offers two alternative options for
conductors ()
calculating the earthing grid resistance (with respect
R is the earth resistance of the earthing
to remote earth) - 1) the simplified method (Section
electrodes ()
14.2) and 2) the Schwarz equations (Section 14.3),
R is the mutual earth resistance between
both of which are outlined briefly below. IEEE Std
the grid conductors and earthing electrodes
80 also includes methods for reducing soil resistivity
(in Section 14.5) and a treatment for concrete-
The values for the grid, earthing electrode and
encased earthing electrodes (in Section 14.6).
mutual earth resistances are got from (5)-(7):
A. Simplified Method.
IEEE Std 80 Equation 52 gives the simplified
2L K L
R = ln + K (5)
method as modified by Sverak to include the effect
L a A
of earthing grid depth as presented in (3): 4L
R = ln 1
2n L b

1 1 2K L
R = + 1 + n 1 (6)
L 20A A

2L K L
R ln + K + 1 (7)
+ (3)
Where is the soil resistivity (.m)
1 + h A L is the total length of buried grid conductors (m)

Where R is the earthing grid resistance with respect a is given by r. 2h for conductors buried at depth

to remote earth () metres and with cross-sectional radius r

is the soil resistivity (.m) metres, or simply r for grid conductors on the
L is the total length of buried conductors surface
(m) A is the total area covered by the grid conductors
A is the total area occupied by the earthing (m2)
grid (m2) L is the length of each earthing electrode (m)
h is the depth of the earthing grid (m) n is number of earthing electrodes in area

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b is the cross-sectional radius of an earthing current may have local return paths (e.g. local
electrode (m) generation) or there could be alternative return paths
K and K are constant coefficients depending on other than remote earth (e.g. overhead earth return
the geometry of the grid cables, buried pipes and cables, etc). Therefore a
The coefficient K can be approximated by the current division factor S must be applied to account
following relations given by (8)-(10): for the proportion of the fault current flowing back
. through remote earth.
For depth h = 0, K = + 1.41 (8)
Computing the current division factor is a task that is
For depth h = A, K = + specific to each project and the fault location and it
may incorporate some subjectivity (i.e. "engineering
1.20 (9)
judgement"). In any case, IEEE Std 80 Section 15.9
For depth h = A, K = + has a good discussion on calculating the current

1.13 (10) division factor. In the most conservative case, a

Similarly, current division factor of S = 1 can be applied,

The coefficient K can be approximated by the meaning that 100% of earth fault current flows back

following relations given by (11)-(13): through remote earth [10].

. The symmetrical grid currentI is calculated by (14):
For depth h = 0, K = + 5.50 (11)
I = I , S (14)
For depth
The symmetrical grid current is not the maximum
h= A, K = + 4.68 (12)
grid current because of asymmetry in short circuits,
For depth namely a dc current offset. This is captured by the
h = A, K = + 4.40 (13) decrement factor, which can be calculated from

Where in both cases, is the length-to-width ratio IEEE Std 80 Equation 79 that is presented in (15):

of the earthing grid. T

D = 1 + 1e (15)
Step 4: Maximum Grid Current t
The maximum grid current is the worst case earth
Where D is the decrement factor
fault current that would flow via the earthing grid
t is the duration of the fault (s)
back to remote earth. To calculate the maximum grid
T is the dc time offset constant (see below)
current, you firstly need to calculate the worst case
The dc time offset constant is derived from IEEE Std
symmetrical earth fault current at the facility that
80 Equation 74 which is also presented in (16):
would have a return path through remote earth (call
X 1
this I , ). This can be found from the power systems T = . (16)
R 2f
studies or from manual calculation. Generally
speaking, the highest relevant earth fault level will
be on the primary side of the largest distribution Where is the ratio at the fault location

transformer (i.e. either the terminals or the delta f is the system frequency (Hz)
windings). The maximum grid current I is lastly calculated by
C. Current Division Factor . (17):
Not all of the earth fault current will flow back I = I D (17)
through remote earth. A portion of the earth fault

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

Step 5: Touch and Step Potential Criteria C is the surface layer derating factor (as
One of the goals of a safe earthing grid is to protect calculated in Step 2)
people against lethal electric shocks in the event of is the soil resistivity (.m)
an earth fault. The magnitude of ac electric current t is the maximum fault clearing time (s)
(at 50Hz or 60Hz) that a human body can withstand The choice of body weight (50kg or 70kg) depends
is typically in the range of 60 to 100mA, when on the expected weight of the personnel at the site.
ventricular fibrillation and heart stoppage can occur. Typically, where women are expected to be on site,
The duration of an electric shock also contributes to the conservative option is to choose 50kg.
the risk of mortality, so the speed at which faults are
cleared is also vital. Given this, we need to prescribe Step 6: Ground Potential Rise (GPR)
maximum tolerable limits for touch and step Normally, the potential difference between the local
voltages that do not lead to lethal shocks. earth around the site and remote earth is considered
The maximum tolerable voltages for step and touch to be zero (i.e. they are at the same potential).
scenarios can be calculated empirically from IEEE However, an earth fault (where the fault current
Std Section 8.3 for body weights of 50kg and 70kg: flows back through remote earth), the flow of current
Touch voltage limit - the maximum potential through the earth causes local potential gradients in
difference between the surface potential and the and around the site. The maximum potential
potential of an earthed conducting structure during a difference between the site and remote earth is
fault (due to ground potential rise): known as the ground potential rise (GPR). It is
50kg person: E = important to note that this is a maximum potential
difference and that earth potentials around the site
(1000 + 1.5C )
will vary relative to the point of fault.
(18) The maximum GPR is calculated by (22):

70kg person: E = GPR = I R (22)

(1000 + 1.5C ) Where GPR is the maximum ground potential rise

. (V)
I is the maximum grid current found
Step voltage limit - is the maximum difference in earlier in Step 4 (A)
surface potential experienced by a person bridging a R is the earthing grid resistance found
distance of 1m with the feet without contact to any earlier in Step 3 ()
earthed object it is given by (20) (21) respectively. Step 7: Earthing Grid Design Verification
50kg person: E = Now we just need to verify that the earthing grid
. design is safe for touch and step potential. If the
(1000 + 6C ) (20)
maximum GPR calculated above does not exceed
70kg person: E = either of the touch and step voltage limits (from Step

. 5), then the grid design is safe.

(1000 + 6C ) (21)
However if it does exceed the touch and step voltage
Where E is the touch voltage limit (V) limits, then some further analysis is required to
E is the step voltage limit (V) verify the design, namely the calculation of the
maximum mesh and step voltages as per IEEE Std
80 Section 16.5.

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

D. Mesh Voltage Calculation. The geometric factor n is calculated from IEEE Std
The mesh voltage is the maximum touch voltage 80 Equation 85 as given in (25):
within a mesh of an earthing grid and is derived n = n n n n (25)
from IEEE Std 80 Equation 80 as given by (23): 2L
K KI n = (26)
E = (23)
L Where: n = 1for square grids otherwise, n =
Where : is the soil resistivity (.m)

I is the maximum grid current found
n = 1 for square and rectangular grids otherwise,
earlier in Step 4 (A) .

K is the geometric spacing factor (see n =

below) n = 1 for square, rectangular and L-shaped grids

K is the irregularity factor (see below) otherwise, n =

L is the effective buried length of the grid
(see below) Where L is the total length of horizontal grid
The geometric spacing factor K is calculated from conductors (m)
IEEE Std 80 Equation 81 given in (24): L is the length of grid conductors on the

K perimeter (m)
A is the total area of the grid (m2)
1 D (D + 2h) h
= ln + L and L are the maximum length of the
2 16h d 8D d 4d
grids in the x and y directions (m)
K 8
+ ln (24) D is the maximum distance between any
K (2n 1)
two points on the grid (m)
Where D is the spacing between parallel grid
The irregularity factor K is calculated from IEEE
conductors (m)
Std 80 Equation 89 and presented in (27):
h is the depth of buried grid conductors
K = 0.644 + 0.148n (27)
Where n is the geometric factor derived in (25)
d is the cross-sectional diameter of a grid
The effective buried length L is found as follows:
conductor (m)
For grids with few or no earthing electrodes
K is a weighting factor for depth of burial
(and none on corners or along the
K = 1 + h
K is a weighting factor for earth electrodes
L = L + L (28)
/rods on the corner mesh
Where L is the total length of horizontal grid
K = 1for grids with earth
conductors (m)
electrodes along the grid perimeter
L is the total length of earthing electrodes
or corners
/ rods (m)
K = /
for grids with no earth
For grids with earthing electrodes on the
electrodes on the corners or on the
corners and along the perimeter:
n is a geometric factor (see below)

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L The effective buried length L for all cases can be

calculated by IEEE Std 80 Equation 93:
L = 0.75 L + 0.85L (32)

L Where L is the total length of horizontal grid

+ 1.55 + 1.22 L (29)
L +L
conductors (m)
L is the total length of earthing electrodes /
Where L is the total length of horizontal grid rods (m)
conductors (m) Now that the mesh and step voltages are calculated,
L is the total length of earthing electrodes / compare them to the maximum tolerable touch and
rods (m) step voltages respectively. If: E < E , and
L is the length of each earthing electrode / E < E
rod (m) then the earthing grid design is safe. If not, however,
L and L are the maximum length of the then further work needs to be done. Some of the
grids in the x and y directions (m) things that can be done to make the earthing grid
E. Step Voltage Calculation. design safe:
The maximum allowable step voltage is calculated Redesign the earthing grid to lower the grid
from IEEE Std 80 Equation 92 and given by (30): resistance (e.g. more grid conductors, more
earthing electrodes, increasing cross-sectional
E = (30)
area of conductors, etc). Once this is done, re-
Where : is the soil resistivity (.m) compute the earthing grid resistance (see Step 3)
I is the maximum grid current found and re-do the touch and step potential
earlier in Step 4 (A) calculations.
K is the geometric spacing factor (see Limit the total earth fault current or create
below) alternative earth fault return paths
K is the irregularity factor (as derived Consider soil treatments to lower the resistivity
above in the mesh voltage calculation) of the soil
L is the effective buried length of the grid Greater use of high resistivity surface layer
(see below) materials
The geometric spacing factor K based on IEEE Std
80 Equation 81 is applicable for burial depths In this example, the touch and step potential
between 0.25m and 2.5m: calculations for an earthing grid design will be
1 1 1 performed. The proposed site is at Port Harcourt
K = +
2h D+h main of 132/33KV substation with a network
1 connection via a transmission line and a delta-wye
+ (1 0.5 ) (31)
D connected transformer.
Where D is the spacing between parallel grid
conductors (m) Step 1: Soil Resistivity
h is the depth of buried grid conductors The soil resistivity around the site was measured
(m) with a Wenner four-pin probe and found to be
n is a geometric factor (as derived above in approximately 300 .m.
the mesh voltage calculation)

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Step 2: Surface Layer Materials and that the current division factor is 1 (all the fault
A thin 100mm layer of blue metal (3,000 .m) is current flows back to remote earth).
proposed to be installed on the site. The surface The X/R ratio at the fault is approximately 15, the
layer derating factor is: maximum fault duration 150ms and the system
nominal frequency is 50Hz. The DC time offset is
0.09 1
therefore given by (34):
C = 1 (33)
2h + 0.09 X 1
T = . (34)
By direct substitution of the above values of and R 2f
into (33) gives 0.7207. T = 0.04774s
Step 3: Earthing Grid Resistance The decrement factor is then given by (35):

D = 1 + 1e (35)

Substituting the respective values of
T and t into (35)gives 1.1479.
Finally, the maximum grid current is got by
substituting the values of I and D into (17)
90m I = 3.559 KA
Figure 1. Proposed rectangular earthing grid Step 5: Touch and Step Potential Criteria

A rectangular earthing grid (see the figure right) Based on the average weight of the workers on the

with the following parameters is proposed: site, a body weight of 70kg is assumed for the

Length of 90m and a width of 50m maximum touch and step potential. A maximum
fault clearing time of 150ms is also assumed.
Grid conductors will be 120 mm2
and buried at a depth of 600mm The maximum allowable touch potential is:

22 earthing rods will be installed 0.157

E = (1000 + 1.5C )
on the corners and perimeter of the t
= (1000 + 1.5 0.7207
Each earthing rod will be 3m long
Using the simplified equation, the resistance of the 3000)
earthing grid with respect to remote earth is:
= 1,720.04V

1 1 1 The maximum allowable step potential is
R = + 1 +
L 20A 20 .
1+h E = (1000 + 6C ) =

1 1
1 +
(1000 + 6 0.7207 3000) =
= 300 + .
956 20 4500 20
1 + 0.6 5,664.03V
= 2.2753 Step 6: Ground Potential Rise (GPR)
Step 4: Maximum Grid Current The maximum ground potential rise is:
Suppose that the maximum single phase to earth GPR = I R = 3559 2.2753 = 8,097V
fault at the HV winding of the transformer is 3.1kA

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

The GPR far exceeds the maximum allowable touch The irregularity factor K is: K = 0.644 +
and step potentials, and further analysis of mesh and 0.148n = K = 0.644 + 0.148
step voltages need to be performed. 6.4939 = 1.605
The effective buried length L is: L = L +
Step 7: Earthing Grid Design Verification
Mesh Voltage Calculation
The components of the geometric factor n , n , n
1.55 + 1.22 L = 890 +
and n for the rectangular grid are:
2L 2 890 1.55 + 1.22 66 =
n = = = 6.357
L 280
L 280 Finally, the maximum mesh voltage is:
n = = = 1.022. . .
4A 44500 E = = =
Therefore the geometric factor is: n = n n
n n = 6.357 1.022 1 1 = 6.4939. The
average spacing between parallel grid conductors is: The maximum allowable touch potential is 1,720V,
which exceeds the mesh voltage calculated above
1 W L
D = + and the earthing system passes the touch potential
2 n 1 n 1
criteria (although it is quite marginal).
1 50 90
= + F. Step Voltage Calculation.
2 61 71
= 12.5 The geometric spacing factor K is:

where W and L are the width and length of the grid K = + + (1 0.5 ) =
respectively (e.g. 50m and 90m) n and n is the
+ + (1
number of parallel rows and columns respectively . . . .

(e.g. 6 and 7) . ) = 0.314

The geometric spacing factor K is:
The effective buried length L is: L = 0.75 L +
1 D (D + 2h) h
= ln + 0.85L = 0.75 890 + 0.85 66 =
2 16h d 8D d 4d
K 8
+ ln Finally, the maximum allowable step voltage is:
K (2n 1)
. .
1 12.5 (12.5 + 2 0.6) E = = .
= ln +
2 16h d 8 12.5 0.01236 728V.
h The maximum allowable step potential is 5,664V,

4 0.01236 which exceeds the step voltage calculated above and

1 8 the earthing system passes the step potential criteria.

+ ln = 0.964 Having passed both touch and step potential criteria,
1.26 (2 6.4939 1)
we can conclude that the earthing system is safe.

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

6) Computer Based Tools

Table 1. Earth Mat Simulation Result
Calculat Tolera Optimal Number Of
ed ble Conductors
(Volts) (Volts)
Tou 1588.8 1641.5 X- Y-
Step 1771.9 5667.4 7 14


GPR = 14919.7 VOLTS.

Rg = 1.35 ohms

Figure 2. ETAP GroundMat software output 7) Conclusion.

Substation earthing is a crucial part of substation

As can be seen from above, touch and step potential
design. The design has to be both safe and reliable.
calculations can be quite a tedious and laborious
There are many steps to design a safe and effective
task, and one that could conceivably be done much
grid. Manual calculations may be very tedious and
quicker by a computer. Even IEEE Std 80
difficult thus leading to incorrect results.
recommends the use of computer software to
Performing calculations and modifications to the
calculate grid resistances, and mesh and step
design can be a long process. Computer programs
voltages, and also to create potential gradient
have been developed to make the substation
visualisations of the site.
earthing design easier, and more accurate.
Computer software packages can be used to assist in
This project provides an overview of substation
earthing grid design by modeling and simulation of
earthing and the most essential elements of a
different earthing grid configurations. The tools
substation earthing grid design based on the IEEE
either come as standalone packages or plug-in
Std. 80-2000. This project provides equations that
modules to power system analysis software (such as
are involved with a grid design. Finally an equation
ETAP's Ground Grid Design Assessment).
is provided using real world data. This example
The minimum size for the earthing grid conductors was designed to meet the design criteria for a safe
can be used to specify the earthing grid conductor ground grid
sizes in the material take-offs and earthing drawings. In this project, we have focused on earth mat
The touch and step potential calculations (where design for large Substation. In the design
necessary) verify that the earthing grid design is safe optimization process, especially for complex
for the worst earth faults to remote earth. The systems, software simulation is essential. The step
earthing drawings can therefore be approved for the by step procedure for designing earth mat has
next stage of reviews. been presented for which design parameters were
obtained by ETAP Software. For earthing
G. Etap Simulation of Earth Mat Results. conductor and vertical earth electrode, Stainless-
The proposed data for the simulation are inputted in clad Steel rod type are used. LT side fault
the Etap environment and results displayed. current is considered for earth mat design.

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International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology (IJETT) Volume 15 Number 8 Sep 2014

Resistance value for all substations has been

tested at site and achieved as less than 1ohm.It
was found that the computer simulation method
using Etap gives a satisfactory result in a quicker
time than the manually operated method as shown
in TABLE 1. Since the maximum GPR exceeded
the touch and step potential, the earthing grid
design is safe which conforms to the general
acceptable IEEE design .

[1] (2000) ANSI/IEEE Std.80, IEEE Guide for safety in AC
Substation Earthing, New York,
[2] J.G. Sverak et al., Safe substation earthing, Part I: IEEE T. on
Power Apparatus and Systems,100, 4281-4290, (1981);
Part II: IEEE T. on Power Apparatus and Systems, 101,
4006-4023, (1982)
[3] F. Navarrina, I. Colominas, M. Casteleiro, Analytical
Integration Techniques for Earthing Grid Computation by
BEM, Num. Met. in Eng. and Appl. Sci., 11971206,
CIMNE, Barcelona, (1992).
[4] I. Colominas, F. Navarrina, M. Casteleiro, A boundary
element numerical approach for earthing grid computation,
Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg., 174, 73-90, (1999).
[5] R.J. Heppe, Computation of potential at surface above an
energized grid or other electrode, allowing for non-
uniform current distribution, IEEE T. Power Apparatus and
Systems, 98, 1978-1988, (1979).
[6] D.L. Garrett and J.G. Pruitt, Problems encountered with the
Average Potential Method of analyzing substation earthing
systems, IEEE T. on Power Apparatus and Systems, 104,
3586-3596, (1985).
[7] C. Mazett and G. M. Veca. Impulse Behaviour of Earthing
Electrodes, IEEE Trans. Power App. Syst., Vol 102,
no.6, PAS-9, 3148-3154, 1983.
[8] H.B. Dwight Calculation of resistance to ground.
Electrical Engineering, pp 1319- 1328, December 1936.
[9] S. Ghosh, S. Munshi, and J.R. Biswas. Computer aided
analysis of surge behaviour of an earthing counterpoise
discharging impulse current to ground, Journal of the
Institution of Engineers India, vol. 77, pp. 128-132,
[10] A.S. Farag, T.C. Cheng, and D. Penn.Earthing
terminations of lightning protective systems, IEEE Trans.
Dielectics Elect. Insul. V o l . 5 p p . 869877. 1998.

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