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Published online 21 July 2010 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/etep.479

several operating electric arc furnaces utilizing open-loop

controlled TCR/FC compensators

Mohhamad Ataei and Rahmat Allah Hooshmand

Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

SUMMARY

Electric arc furnaces (EAFs) produce voltage fluctuations and flicker because of the reactive power

severe variations. Furthermore, these loads absorb a large amount of reactive power. The static VAr

compensators (SVCs) have been widely used by the industrial customers with arc furnaces to

compensate the reactive power due to the quick response of the power electronic devices. In this

paper, reactive power compensation in the steel industrial plant with several EAFs by utilizing open-loop

controlled thyristor controlled reactor/fixed capacitor (TCR/FC) compensator is performed. The TCR/

FC compensator is usually applied in conventional steel making plants; one is in Mobarakeh/ Isfahan,

Iran which is considered as the case study in this paper. Simulation results show that, although open-loop

controlled TCR/FC is effective for compensating reactive power, it cannot efficiently compensate

the fluctuations of the reactive power and reduce the flicker intensity. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley &

Sons, Ltd.

key words: electric arc furnace; open-loop controlled TCR/FC; flicker intensity

1. INTRODUCTION

The electric arc furnace (EAF) is considered as a nonlinear and erratic load; it creates a series of

adverse effects to the power grid such as three-phase unbalance of the power grid, negative sequence

current, high order harmonics, severe voltage distortion, serious flicker, and low power factor. EAF

compensation is usually performed using static VAr compensators (SVCs). Though, these devices

are effective in mitigating flicker whenever controlled properly, their performance is limited due to

inherent delays and their harmonics generation.

A control method for the thyristor controlled reactor/fixed capacitor (TCR/FC) was presented to

improve the dynamic response using a fast detection method [1]. This method is based on the

substitution of conventional filtering by an efficient, faster, and simpler process with a lower

computational burden and it guarantees that the compensation process will perform within 1=4 cycle of

the fundamental period of the line voltage.

On the other hand, a solution of obtaining an optimum flicker reduction at a comparatively

low compensator power rating by an anti-windup extension of the controller is presented in

Reference [2]. The dimensioning of a SVC for a steel plant grid with several operating EAF,

taking the economic dimensioning of the compensator into account, is also demonstrated in

this paper.

*Correspondence to: Arash Dehestani Kolagar, Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering,

University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

y

E-mail: dehestani@ee.iust.ac.ir

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 825

Some researches proposed a hybrid control and compensation system that allows an

optimal tradeoff in performance and system cost, while providing high efficiency and

reliability [3]. The solution is a thyristor-based series controller coupled with a high performance

shunt compensator.

The voltage fluctuation problem of a large steel plant in Taiwan was investigated in Reference [4]

and the mitigation strategy by applying the SVC and cogenerator was presented. In the mentioned

paper, it is understood that the dynamic load behavior of the EAF in the isolated industrial power

system can well be compensated by the cogenerator with adaptive control of exciter and governor to

generate proper reactive power and real power according to the fluctuation of the bus voltage and the

system frequency, respectively.

In this paper, an industrial steel-making plant with several operating arc furnaces, which

was previously installed in Mobarakeh, Isfahan, Iran, is considered for study. This plant has eight

three-phase EAFs supplied via four three-winding three-phase, core-typed transformers. In this

study, for simplicity and software capability limitations, four single-phase EAFs are considered

at the point of common coupling (PCC). The system characteristics, such as cable impedances,

system layout, the style of compensator connections to the PCC, are modeled similar to that of

existing plant. According to the prescribed plant, open-loop controlled TCR/FC is applied for

reactive power compensation. In order to evaluate its effects, the system was simulated by means

of power system analyzer software. Simulation results indicate that although reactive power of

the EAF is almost compensated, open-loop controlling of the SVC cannot effectively suppress the

flicker phenomenon.

At a detailed glance, Section 2 commences to explain the modeling of the steel-making plant.

Different operating stages of EAFs, such as scrap, melting, and refining, can be considered via this

model in simulations. At a glimpse, the open-loop control of the TCR/FC compensator, which is

connected to the PCC and uses reactive power demand of the whole load, is presented in Section 3. The

design procedure of the parameters of the RLC harmonic filters, by which the fundamental component

of the reactive power demand of the load is produced, is comprehensively illustrated in Section 4.

Section 5 explains the main performance of the TCR/FC as a static compensator. In this section, the

idea of the reactive power compensation using switched inductances is briefly brought. Section 6

introduces the description of the flicker, the flicker-meter and the results of instantaneous flicker

sensation curves, and their corresponding cumulative probability function (CPF) curves for several

time instances. The results of instantaneous flicker level (IFL) and CPF for the open-loop control of the

TCR/FC compensator are compared with the one obtained before compensation at PCC. Based on the

Sections 5 and 6, it can be judged that although reactive power at the PCC is more or less compensated,

the flicker problem still exists and the open-loop compensation cannot completely suppress the flicker

phenomenon. It needs to consider closed-loop control method with predictions. The paper ends in

Section 7 with a few conclusions and several suggestions to commence to the new researches based

on these methods.

Figure 1 shows the considered system which is the same as the actual plant in Mobarakeh. Static

compensator is connected to the third winding of one transformer and arc furnaces are linked to the

PCC busbar.

In this research, we try to propose a method to model EAFs that contains random behavior of the

arc and has minimum error compared with actual arc model. This means that for a special EAF, by

sampling arc current in each stage of EAF operation such as the scrap stage, melting and refining,

we obtain the arc model. Thus, after sampling AC current in each stage of furnace operation,

applying a program, arc is modeled as a current controlled voltage source. Corresponding to the

input current that is the arc current, arc voltage is obtained by interpolating based on previous

samples.

According to random behavior of the arc and the fact that in this paper we want to lay stress on this

property in order to model arc random nature, a band-limited white noise, which is based on existing

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

826 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

400 Kv Busbar

Static VAr

Compensator 63 Kv Busbar

Furnace (1) Furnace (2) Furnace (3) Furnace (4)

300

200

100

Arc Voltage (Volt)

-100

-200

-300

Arc Current (kA)

frequency band in flicker, is generated and obtained voltage is modulated by the white noise [5]. The

preference of this model to the others is that this model is based on actual samples obtained from EAF.

Therefore, this model has a behavior close to the actual arc. Simulation results for arc model, including

flicker noise, are shown in Figure 2.

In reactive power measurement process, a signal, which introduces the newest value of the reactive

power, is required. This signal, which stands on an average-based method, is given in the following

equation [6]:

Z t

1 T

qð t Þ ¼ vðtÞi t dt (1)

T tT 4

where q(t) represents the reactive power at the period that ends at instant t. This equation has been

implemented utilizing a designed accounting circuit in the software. Utilizing the mentioned

accounting circuit, the average reactive power is calculated during each cycle and resulted value is

used for the next cycle. It should be noted that above equation is applied for single-phase systems.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 827

960

955

Qpcc (MVAr)

950

945

0 1 2 3 4 5

Time (Sec)

For three-phase systems, the related equation is more complicated. Figure 3 shows the simulated

reactive power at 400 kV busbar. This curve is obtained from simulation and represents the whole

reactive power consumption by furnaces, transformer windings, and cables. Harmonic filters, which

provide required reactive power in addition to absorbing harmonic components, are designed based on

the fundamental reactive power that is some percentage more than the measured reactive power.

Excessive reactive power is then absorbed by TCR.

The main aim of the passive filter design is to eliminate or attenuate of some harmonic components.

In fact, these filters provide low impedance paths for the harmonic components to pass through

them, and avoid their penetration into the other areas in local network. Regarding the literatures and

existing statistical information, the amounts of created harmonics are determined and then

compared with the allowed quantity of such harmonics. Consequently, the harmonic order, which

should be filtered, and the power of the filters are determined. In this case study, according to the

existing conditions, harmonic filters were again designed for 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 7th harmonics. Each

filter has two tasks: the first one is to suppress the corresponding harmonic component and another

one is to act as a capacitive impedance in order to provide the expected reactive power at

fundamental frequency.

(a) Determining the required reactive power to compensate the load

(b) Distributing the determined reactive power between filters properly, i.e., proportional to the each

harmonic power

(c) Determining the capacitance value of each filter (Cf) according to the following equation [7]:

n2 1 Qcf

Cf ¼ ðF Þ (2Þ

n2 vV 2

where n is the considered harmonic order, V is the line-to-line voltage, v is the fundamental

angular frequency, and Qcf is the fundamental reactive power allocating to the filter that

corresponds to the nth order harmonic.

(d) Calculating the effective current of each capacitance and comparing it with the whole

nth harmonic current, which is obtained by adding nth harmonic current of the load, and ones

of the compensator. If the nth harmonic current is greater than the current of the capacitance, the

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

828 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

whole fundamental reactive power should be distributed between the filters again and more

reactive power should be allocated to this filter

(e) Calculating the value of the series inductance of each filter (Lf) using the following equation [7]:

1

Lf ¼ (3Þ

n2 v 2 C f

(f) Evaluating the impedance of the filters (Zf) and feeding system as a function of

frequency Zf ¼ F(v) and ZN ¼ F(v), respectively, to determine whether the filters

impedance and the feeding system impedance causing a resonance at harmonic frequency,

which was not filtered, or not. If resonance occurs, the following remedies can be

considered:

Again distributing the whole fundamental reactive power between the filters or design a new

filter at this resonance frequency in addition to the previous filters.

Bringing partial changes in the resonance frequency of the filters.

The voltage across the capacitors in the filters is greater than the nominal phase voltage of the busbar

that joins to the filter. The amount of this overvoltage is proportional to the harmonic order

corresponding to the filter tuned frequency. The per cent of this overvoltage at steady state condition

(Vrise) is obtained from the following equation [8]:

n2

Vrise ¼ 100 (4)

n2 1

The overvoltage due to the inductors is only concerned with the fundamental frequency. If

harmonics exist in the system, the overvoltage resulting from harmonics is added to the noted value.

Harmonic filter C (f) L (h)

2nd 0.043270 0.000058540

3rd 0.060125 0.000018724

5th 0.036287 0.000011169

7th 0.027284 0.000007579

0.05

0.045

0.035

0.03

abs(Z)

0.025

0.02

0.015

0.01

0.005

0

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000

w(Rad/Sec)

Figure 4. Frequency characteristic of the filters impedance as well as the ones of the system impedance.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 829

5

Reactive Power at PCC, with FC but not TCR

Qpcc (MVAr)

-5

-10

-15

0 1 2 3 4 5

Time (Sec)

Figure 5. Simulated reactive power at 400 kV busbar after applying the harmonic filters.

L/2

SW1 SW2

L/2

If the system impedance at a special harmonic is low, the corresponding filter to that harmonic does

not operate well and vice versa, i.e., if both the system and filter impedance have large values, it causes

very high harmonic voltages in the system. Ordinarily, a series resistor is inserted at each phase of the

harmonic filter whose value is obtained from the following equation [9]:

Xn

R¼ (5)

Q

10

Reactive Power at PCC, with TCR/FC

5

Qpcc (MVAr)

-5

0 1 2 3 4 5

Time (Sec)

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

830 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

300

TCR Current (kA)

200 TCR Voltage(V)*30

100

-100

-200

-300

0.2 0.21 0.22 0.23 0.24 0.25

Time (Sec)

Figure 8. TCR voltage and current from t ¼ 0.2 second to t ¼ 0.25 second.

4

Before Compensation After Applying TCR/FC

3

2

Voltages at PCC (kV)

-1

-2

-3

-4

0.2 0.21 0.22 0.23 0.24 0.25 0.26 0.27 0.28

Time (Sec)

2.3

2.2

RMS Voltages at PCC (kV)

2.1

1.9

1.8

1.7

Before Compensation

After Applying TCR/FC

1.6

1.5

0.2 0.21 0.22 0.23 0.24 0.25 0.26 0.27 0.28

Time (Sec)

Figure 10. RMS voltages at PCC from t ¼ 0.2 second to t ¼ 0.28 second.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 831

where

rﬃﬃﬃﬃ

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ L

Xn ¼ X L XC ¼ (6)

C

It is important to note that in order to prevent of resonance, if a filter is designed for eliminating

a special harmonic, lower order harmonic filters should be designed and installed at connection

point. Filters installing should also be accomplished according to the harmonic order from low

to high.

Figure 12. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 1st second before open-loop

compensation.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

832 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

By considering the fundamental reactive power, which is some percentage more than the

measured one, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th harmonic filters have been designed. Table I shows the

values of the filters elements, that are obtained through the explained process in previous

section.

Figure 4 shows the frequency characteristic of the filters’ impedance as well as the ones of the system

impedance.

Figure 5 shows the measured reactive power at 400 kV busbar (QPCC) after applying the

harmonic filters. As seen in this figure, the injected reactive power by harmonic filters provides the

required reactive power for load compensation. The remnant reactive power should be absorbed

by TCR. By comparing Figures 3 and 5, it can be seen that the total measured reactive power at

PCC busbar before and after applying harmonic filters are approximately 951 and 8 MVAr,

respectively.

Figure 6 shows the scheme of a static compensator of the thyristor controlled reactor (TCR) type.

By increasing the thyristor firing angle, the magnitude of the component of the current reactor

is reduced. This is equivalent to the increase in the effective inductance, or reduction in the

reactive power absorbed by the reactor. However, it should be pointed out that the change in the

reactor current may take place only at discrete points of time. It means that adjustments cannot

be made more frequently than once per half-cycle. Static compensators of the TCR type are

Figure 13. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 1st second after open-loop

compensation.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 833

characterized by the ability to perform continuous control, maximum delay of one half cycle and

practically no transients. The principal disadvantages of this configuration are the generation of

low frequency harmonic current components, and higher losses when working in the inductive

region [10].

By installing the TCR at PCC busbar, remnant reactive power is absorbed by TCR. The TCR

operation causes harmonic creation. In fact, when the furnaces are in their operating stage, i.e., special

scraping and melting stages, different harmonics are generated and the thyristors of the TCR are turned

off because of the high reactive power consumption of the furnaces. Moreover, when the charge of the

furnaces is alleviated, specially in refining stage, the generated harmonics from furnaces are reduced

and TCR turns on in order to absorb the surplus reactive power. Therefore, some harmonics resulting

from TCR operation are generated. Consequently, existing harmonics should be eliminated by

harmonic filters.

After determining the reactive power, which should be absorbed by TCR, the TCR desired

susceptance (B) is obtained by [6]

qTCR

B¼ (7)

V2

where V is the root mean square (rms) voltage along the TCR.

Then, the conduction angle of the TCR thyristors (s) can be found from Equation (8) [6]:

s Sins

B¼ (8)

pXL

Figure 14. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 8th second before open-loop

compensation.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

834 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

The firing angle (a) of the TCR thyristors can then be obtained from the following equation [6]:

s

aþ ¼p (9)

2

It should be noted that, in practice, after obtaining TCR desired susceptance in each cycle, thyristors

conduction and firing angles are generally determined by means of an off-line computed look-up table.

Figure 7 shows the measured reactive power at 400 kV busbar after applying TCR/FC compensator.

As seen in this figure, the TCR can balance the reactive power at PCC busbar properly. Figure 8

demonstrates TCR voltage and current from t ¼ 0.2 second to t ¼ 0.25 second.

Figures 9 and 10 also display the voltages and the RMS voltages at PCC before and after

compensation from t ¼ 0.2 second to t ¼ 0.28 second, respectively.

The international electrotechnical commission (IEC) flicker meter simulates spectator reaction

independent of flicker source. In fact, as the flicker meter operates based on flicker distinction feeling,

measurement of flicker is more or less relative. The basis of flicker calculation by IEC flicker meter is

that flicker intensity in input waveform is considered according to the quantity proper to the flicker

intensity. In this manner, the value of the corresponding quantity shows the indication level of the

flicker at each moment in input signal and also is an indication of the intensity and weakness of the

flicker. The name of this quantity is IFL. The IFL variable is an indication of instantaneous flicker

Figure 15. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 8th second after open-loop

compensation.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 835

value in each moment [11–15]. Figure 11 shows the block diagram of the IEC flicker meter that was

simulated for flicker measurements [11].

For obtaining the instantaneous flicker sensation curve or short-term flicker severity curve (Pst), IFL

curves were evaluated for 15-second intervals, so that Pst value in each second is obtained by

considering the IFL curve in the same instant. Finally, after having 15 points, instantaneous flicker

sensation curve is estimated. Figures 12 and 13 show the IFL curve and its corresponding CPF curve for

1st second before and after open-loop compensation, respectively.

Figures 14 and 15 show the IFL curve and its corresponding CPF curve for 8th second before

and after open-loop compensation, respectively. The IFL curve and its corresponding CPF curve

for 15th second before and after open-loop compensation are shown in Figures 16 and 17,

respectively, too.

Figure 18 shows the instantaneous flicker sensation curve for the PCC busbar voltage before

and after compensation. As it is seen in this figure, open-loop compensation method at some points

reduces flicker intensity and in several points deteriorates it. Therefore, as a result, it can be stated that

this controlling method of the TCR/FC cannot reduce the flicker intensity, effectively. In fact, TCR

absorbs average surplus reactive power injected by FC banks at each cycle and cannot follow the

reactive power variations. In each cycle, TCR absorbs the average reactive power measured at previous

cycle. Because of the approximate similarity of two successive cycles, the amounts of reactive power,

which should be absorbed by the TCR at these two cycles, are very close together. Therefore, it can be

stated that TCR cannot track down the random variations; however, it can approximately absorb

the average surplus reactive power.

The Pst values related to Figure 18 are demonstrated in the Table II from t ¼ 1 second to t ¼ 5 second.

Figure 16. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 15th second before open-loop

compensation.

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

836 A. D. KOLAGAR ET AL.

Figure 17. IFL curve (a) and its corresponding CPF curve (b) for 15th second after open-loop

compensation.

Figure 18. Instantaneous flicker sensation curves before (1) and after (2) open-loop compensation.

Time t ¼ 1 second t ¼ 2 second t ¼ 3 second t ¼ 4 second t ¼ 5 second

Pst value of curve (1) 3.9649 0.9200 0.2396 0.1293 0.0931

Pst value of curve (2) 3.5375 0.9353 0.2437 0.1312 0.0946

Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Euro. Trans. Electr. Power 2011; 21:824–838

DOI: 10.1002/etep

REACTIVE POWER COMPENSATION IN A STEEL INDUSTRIAL PLANT 837

7. CONCLUSION

In this paper, an industrial steel making plant, which was previously installed in Mobarakeh,

Isfahan, Iran, is considered for research. An open-loop controlled TCR/FC was applied for reactive

power compensation. Arc model in this paper is derived from sampling arc currents and their

corresponding voltages. Then, the modulated arc voltage is considered by a band-limited white

noise. This model can represent an actual arc V–I characteristic. The open-loop control scheme for

reactive power compensation is accomplished. Since the open-loop controller directly calculates

the requisite reactive power as a feedforward control, it gives a fast response to compensate the load

reactive power consumption. Simulation results indicate that although the consumed reactive power

is almost compensated, open-loop control of the TCR/FC can not effectively reduce the flicker

intensity.

8. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

EAF Electric Arc Furnace

FC Fixed Capacitor

IEC International Electrotechnical Commission

IFL Instantaneous Flicker Level

PCC Point of Common Coupling

SVC Static VAr Compensator

TCR Thyristor Controlled Reactor

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Special thanks are dedicated to the center of research and technology at University of Isfahan for their full

supports. The present research work was originally related to a research project, which was successfully carried out

and finalized by the authors. Special thanks go to the people of Mobarakeh Steel-Making Company for their full

support to us.

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