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Improvement of Power Quality and Reliability in the

Distribution System of Petrochemical Plants using Active

Power Filters
In industrial petrochemical plants, variable speed drives (VSDs) are used extensively for
pumping, compressors and process control applications because of their efficient and smooth
speed control, higher energy savings and reliable operation. Approximately 80% of the load at
the petrochemical plant are induction motors [1]. The VSDs draw the harmonic currents from
the mains causes extra losses in the system components like transformers, generators,
conductors which will reduce the lifetime of the equipment and also affects the other sensitive
loads connected to point of common coupling (PCC). In a bigger picture, the additional power
drawn from the source increases the energy production from the power plant operating with
fossil fuel like coal or natural gas resulting in more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In order
to minimize the harmonic content in the petrochemical plant, generally passive harmonic
mitigation techniques 12-pulse/24-pulse rectifier circuits are being used [4]. However, the
components are bulky at lower frequency, the filters resonate with system, and equipment has
to be designed to carry full rated current and also causes high inrush currents. In general, the
harmonic order in a multi-pulse rectifier is a function of pulse number of the rectifier is given
by the following,
h ( n p ) 1; n 1,2,3........ (1)
where, h is the harmonic order and p is the pulse number. The supply current waveforms
feeding 6-pulse and 12-pulse converters are shown in Fig. 1. The estimated % THD of supply
currents feeding 12-pulse converter with a resistive inductive (RL) loads is approximately

Fig. 1. Source current waveforms feeding 6-pulse/12-pulse converter

Significant improvements in power electronics had spurred interest in active power filters
(APFs) for harmonic mitigation problem [5]. The basic principle of APF is to inject specific
current components that cancel the harmonic current components caused by the VSDs. Unlike
passive filters, they do not cause harmful resonances with the distribution system. Therefore,
the APF performance is independent of the distribution system properties. However, they are
less reliable because of the higher failure rate of switches [6]. So, reliability is an important
parameter that should be addressed while using APFs to mitigate current harmonics. The
present work mainly focus on the two harmonic mitigation methodologies using the 6-pulse
rectifier plus SAF and with the AFE in place of conventional 12-pulse rectifier-drive system.
Later, the reliability assessment of the harmonic mitigation methodologies are compared with
conventional drive system. The paper has been organised as follows: Section-II gives the power
system schematic of industrial petrochemical plant with VSDs in operation. The operation and
control algorithm of the SAF and the AFE to mitigate harmonics are explained in Section-III
and Section-IV respectively. Simulation results of the proposed methodologies are given in
Section-V. The reliability assessment of mitigation methodologies using DIgSILENT Power
Factory are given in Section-VI. The experimental results are explained in detail in Section-
VII. Conclusions are given in Section-VII followed by references.


The schematic of the power system architecture of the petrochemical plant for the pumping
operations is shown in Fig1. The load is supplied from the three phase AC supply system with
415V, 50Hz through a 12-pulse rectifier to the motor drive system as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2. Schematic of power system architecture for pumping operations in a typical

petrochemical plant
The main focus of this paper is to study the performance of the APFs to mitigate the harmonics
in place of conventional 12-pulse rectifier motor drive system. The control methodologies for
the APFs are discussed in the following sections.
The fundamental building block of the SAF for three-phase, three-wire AC system with motor
drive load is shown in Fig. 3. An insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) based current
controlled voltage source inverter (CCVSI) with a dc bus capacitor is used as the SAF.
Fig. 3. Schematic of pumping system in petrochemical plant with SAF
The control scheme implemented to control the SAF using the Synchronous reference frame
theory [7] is depicted in Fig. 4. The SRF isolator extracts the fundamental positive sequence
component of the load current by transforming into the d-q rotating reference frame. Then, the
dc transformed fundamental load currents are extracted from low pass filters (LPF) and then
transformed to three phase quantities. These three phase quantities are equivalent to three phase
fundamental positive sequence load currents, which meets the fundamental real and reactive
power requirements of the load. These currents are the fundamental positive sequence reference
supply currents, which meets the fundamental positive sequence load real, reactive power and
real power required to maintain constant dc bus voltage. The compensation of reactive power
component is achieved by extracting reference currents by equating q-component of the current
to ‘0’, which ensures compensation of harmonics and reactive power.

Fig. 4. Control schematic of the SAF to mitigate harmonics and reactive power compensation


The schematic of the distribution system architecture of the petrochemical plant for the
pumping operations with the AFE-drive system is shown in Fig. 5. The load is supplied from
the three phase AC supply with 415V, 50Hz to the motor drive system through the AFE
Fig. 5. Schematic of pumping system in petrochemical plant with AFE

The AFE rectifier system is made up of three legs with two IGBTs in each leg with anti-
parallel diodes. Both active and reactive power can be controlled by controlling the phase and
magnitude of the converter voltage fundamental component with respect to the PCC voltage.
In the present study, the AFE is used to maintain the DC bus voltage and to keep the source
power factor at unity. The AFE controller has two control loops. The inner loop controls the
grid currents flowing into the AFE and the outer loop regulates the DC link voltage and the
reactive power from grid.
Sensed DC link voltage is compared with the reference DC voltage and error is fed to the PI
controller to generate current reference for the inner current control loop. Three phase sensed
AC current components (stationary abc frame) are converted into two phase (synchronously
rotating dq frame) components. In inner current control loop, the converted DQ current
components are compared with the reference current generated by the outer voltage loop PI
controller. Output of this current controller is compared with the reference triangular wave to
generate fixed frequency PWM signals to the AFE switches.


The simulation results with the SAF and the motor speed variations, voltage and current
waveforms of source and load, active and reactive power of source and load and the SAF
injected currents are depicted in Fig.6. The motor starts at t=0 seconds as shown in Fig. 5, and
the speed reference is given as 350 rpm. The SAF is connected to the drive system at t=1.0
seconds and reactive power drawn from source is drops to zero. Subsequently, the THD
analysis is performed for the source current IS, with and without the SAF and results are as
shown in Fig.7 (a) and (b) respectively. The source current THD reduced from 52.65% to
0.43% with the addition of the SAF and maintains the THD level within 5%. The simulation
results with the AFE, speed variation, voltage and current waveforms of source and load, active
and reactive power of source and load are shown in in Fig.6. The motor starts at t=0 seconds
as shown in Fig. 6, and the speed reference is given as 300 rpm. It can be observed from the
Fig.6 that, the reactive power drawn from the source is zero and the AFE maintains unity power
factor at source. Subsequently, the THD analysis is performed for the source current IS, with
AFE at two different load variations, and results are as shown in Fig.8
The reliability study of distributed power system with the proposed harmonic mitigation schemes is crucial
because the maintenance issues will lead to more downtime of the equipment’s like the pumps/compressors and
transformers consequently result in significant financial losses.
In the current scenario, the SAF and the AFE converter based solutions are proposed in place of the conventional
12-pulse transformer drive system. So, it is important that the reliability of the system should not impact negatively
with the proposed schemes. DIgSILENT Power Factory [8] has been used to estimate the reliability of three
configurations of the system under study. The failure rate of the component is characterized by homogeneous markov
model wherein, the component is defined by two states: constant failure rate (λ) and a constant repair rate (μ). The
performance indices to evaluate the reliability of the system are system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI),
customer average interruption frequency index (CAIFI), system average interruption duration index (SAIDI), customer
average interruption duration index (CAIDI) [9]. The reliability indices are evaluated as following,