Direct dynamic control of impedance for VAR and harmonic compensation
MetadataShow full item record
Reactive power is critical to reliable operation of the modern AC power system. There is a plethora of motor-loads, transformers, and power-electronic loads connected to the power grid, which consume reactive power for normal operation. Transmission lines also consume reactive power when they are loaded above their surge impedance loading (SIL). Reactive power can exact opportunity cost due to reduced capacity of the lines to carry real power, which in turn lowers revenue. Most transmission owners (TOs) levy large penalties against load serving entities (LSEs), industrial facilities, and other end-use customers, who consume more than their allotted amount, as measured by their power factor. These penalties are to incentivize their customers to meet their reactive power needs locally as well as to recuperate the TOs' financial losses. Harmonic pollution is another factor that prevents the optimal operation of the grid and the connected loads. Harmonics are attributable to proliferation of the diode-rectifier- or thyristor-rectifier-interfaced loads such as variable speed ac drives and power supplies in server farms, electric arc furnaces, and other non-linear loads, which are widely employed by the industrial sector. With wider adoption of harmonic-rich loads by the consumer sector as well, such as HDTVs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), greater level of triplen harmonics associated with single-phase loads are also increasingly seen on the distribution grid. The increasing penetration of renewable resources and electrification of light-duty vehicles are expected to further aggravate the stresses and congestion on the utility grid. Reactive power compensation is necessary for supporting the AC grid and maintaining a healthy voltage stability margin. Compensation can also enhance the utilization of system capacity, lower system losses, provide fault ride-through, and enable a quick fault recovery. Existing VAR and harmonic compensation technologies are either too expensive or inadequate to meet the dynamic needs of the modern and the future power system. This dissertation presents a novel class of Dynamic VAR and Harmonic Compensators (DVHCs) for supplying or absorbing reactive power and providing harmonic filtering, where the compensation is in shunt with the line and the load. The underlying concept is based on augmenting a static or passive component like a capacitor or an inductor with a direct AC converter and imbuing the passive component with dynamic properties. The direct AC converter can be configured as a buck, a boost, or a buck-boost. A `fail-normal' switch is an integral part of the DVHCs that bypasses the converter when it fails, preserving the original functionality and the reliability of the passive component. The DVHCs are modular and scalable such that they can be employed in applications ranging from residential and industrial with voltages less than 480 V, to power distribution level with voltages as high as 35 kV. The Dynamic Inductor (D-IND) and the Dynamic Capacitor (D-CAP) are subclasses of the DVHCs. As the applications for supplying leading VARs are more prevalent, the primary focus of this work is on the buck, the boost, and the buck-boost configurations of the D-CAP. To understand the characteristics and operation of the DVHCs, this work has developed time-domain models for analyzing the transient and dynamic behavior; frequency-domain models for understanding the harmonic interactions and the steady-state relationships between switch duty and current harmonics; and small-signal models for studying the dynamics of the converter due to various perturbations. The small-signal models also enable extraction of transfer functions in designing controllers and assessing stability margins. Control architectures and techniques are presented for effectively controlling the D-CAP when commutating the semiconductor devices with both high and low switching frequencies. In modularly scaling the DVHCs to higher voltages, three medium-voltage topologies are discussed. They are based on series-connecting fractionally-rated devices, AC flying capacitors, and series cascading multiple two-level cells. These implementations allow direct connect to the medium-voltage grid, thereby obviating the use of transformers, and subsequently reducing the losses, cost, complexity, and footprint. A novel AC snubber concept is proposed to provide safe commutation of the AC switches, fault tolerance by managing the energy trapped in parasitics and filters, and to enable dynamic and static voltage sharing when integrated around the series-connected devices. Design equations for selecting and rating the devices and components in the buck, the boost, and the buck-boost configurations of the D-CAP are presented. Three sets of example designs, with one at low-voltage and two at medium-voltage, are discussed to demonstrate the typical size and ratings of the various components under realistic operating conditions. Measurements and the related discussions of a 40 kVA buck D-CAP prototype built to validate the effectiveness of the proposed concepts are presented.