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Study on Characteristics of Grounding Impedance of

Large Grounding Grid

Zhizhong Li, Sen Wang, Feng Guo Bo Zhang


Department of High-voltage, Department of Electrical Engineering,
Shaanxi Electric Power Research Institute Tsinghua University
Xian, China Beijing, China
13072913733@163.com

Abstract—As the large grounding grid occupies large area, This paper studies the factors affecting the grounding
the potential difference on the grounding grid is obvious, and the impedance by using the simulation tool CDEGS. The
proportion of inductive components in the grounding impedance characteristics of the grounding impedance of the large
is larger. Then the design and the operation of the grounding grounding grid are discussed. The result may provide a
grid are different from the small grounding grid. The paper technical reference for design, operation and maintenance of
studies the characteristics of resistive component and inductive the large grounding grid.
component in the grounding impedance of the large grounding
grid. The factors affecting the grounding impedance and the II. CALCULATION METHOD
features of the large grounding grid are discussed. The results
can provide a technical reference for design, operation and From the view of whether the potential drop on the
maintenance of the large grounding grid. grounding grid is considered or not, the numerical method of
grounding analysis can be divided into an equipotential method
Keywords—grounding; grounding impedance; inductive and an unequal potential method. In the equipotential method,
reactance; soil resistivity; substation the grounding electrode is considered as the ideal conductor,
and potentials at all positions of the grounding grid are equal.
I. INTRODUCTION The equipotential method is suitable for the analysis of the
The grounding system is the basic guarantee of safe and small grounding grid or the situations under which the
reliable operation of the power system [1]. Along with grounding material conductivity is good, and the soil resistivity
continuous increase of voltage level, the transmission capacity is higher, and the result obtained by the equipotential method is
becomes larger and larger, the short-circuit current of the only the grounding resistance caused by the distribution of soil
substation also increases correspondingly. Thus, the resistivity, in which the grounding impedance cannot be
requirements for the ultra-high (extra-high) voltage substation contained [2, 3]. As in the unequal potential method, the
are higher. On the other hand, due to the lack of land and then resistivity and permeability in the grounding electrode are
the difficulty of selection of substation site, many substations considered, the potentials at all positions are unequal [4-6]. The
are built in areas with high soil resistivity. Therefore, a greater unequal potential method is suitable for the analysis of the
challenge is brought to the design of the large grounding grid. large grounding grid or the situations under which the
The grounding grid is paid more attention to by design, grounding material conductivity is poor and the permeability is
construction and operation departments. high. Because the grounding impedance calculated by using the
unequal potential method contains inductive components, the
As the grounding grid of the large substation occupies large calculated result is more accurate. The paper uses the
area, before the fault current flows into ground, it flows developed unequal potential method to calculate the grounding
through the grounding conductor for a long distance. At the resistance of large grounding grids [4]. The characteristics of
same time, a large number of steel with very high permeability the grounding impedance of the large grounding grid and the
and then high inductive components in the longitudinal factors affecting the grounding impedance will be analyzed. In
impedance is used as grounding materials in China, so that the the following parts, the result calculated by the equipotential
grounding resistance of the large grounding grid at power method is called the grounding resistance, and the result
frequency is inductive [1]. In the traditional analysis, as only calculated by the unequal potential method is called the
the grounding resistance is concerned, the grounding grounding impedance.
impedance is rarely studied, and the grounding impedance
characteristics of the large grounding grid and the factors III. EFFECT OF AREA OF GROUNDING GRID
affecting the grounding impedance are penuriously studied. Along with the increase of grounding grid area, the total
Along with the rapid development of China’s power industry, grounding impedance decreases, and the proportion of
many 500 kV, 750 kV and 1000 kV substations will be inductive reactance in the grounding resistance increases.
constructed. Thus, it is necessary to carry out the relevant Therefore, first of all, the effect of grounding grid area on the
study. characteristics of the grounding impedance is analyzed. The
This work was supported by the State Grid Corporation of China
(5226SX15001Q).

978-1-5386-3917-7/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE


frequency is 50 Hz, the soil resistivity is 10 Ω·m, the burial resulted in the non-ignorable inductance existing on the
depth of the grounding grid is 0.8 m, the radius is 0.01 m, and grounding grid, the algorithm error exceeds the usual
the current is injected from the center of the grid. The construction error if the inductance is neglected.
grounding impedance results calculated by using the
equipotential method and the unequal potential method are TABLE II. COMPARISON OF RESULTS CALCULATED BY USING UNEQUAL
analyzed when the areas of the grounding grids are 50 m × 50 POTENTIAL METHOD AND EQUIPOTENTIAL METHOD UNDER GROUNDING
GRIDS WITH DIFFERENT AREAS
m, 100 m × 100 m, 200 m × 200 m, 300 m × 300 m, and 480 m
× 480 m. The conductors are arranged at equal intervals of 10 Impedance Impedance
Area calculated by calculated by (Z1-R2)/Z1
m. The unequal potential method is used for analyzing the real 2
part and the imaginary part of the grounding impedance. The (m ) unequal potential equipotential *100%
method Z1 (Ω) method R2 (Ω)
calculated results are shown in Table I. 50×50 0.9392 0.9388 0.04%
100×100 0.4633 0.4569 1.38%
TABLE I. GROUNDING IMPEDANCES CALCULATED BY USING 200×200 0.2343 0.2241 4.35%
EQUIPOTENTIAL METHOD AND UNEQUAL POTENTIAL METHOD FOR
GROUNDING GRIDS WITH DIFFERENT AREAS 300×300 0.1671 0.1509 9.69%
480×480 0.1152 0.0943 18.14%
Results calculated by unequal Results calculated
Area potential method by equipotential
(m2) Amplitude Radian Complex method (Ω) The results calculated by using the unequal potential
value (Ω) method are divided into the real part and the imaginary part,
0.9392 + wherein the real part is the resistance part of the grounding
50×50 0.9392 0.0086 0.9388
0.0080 i
0.4632 +
impedance of the grounding grid and the imaginary part is the
100×100 0.4633 0.0215
0.0100 i
0.4569 inductance part of the grounding impedance of the grounding
0.2340 + grid. Both the real part and imaginary part are shown in Fig. 1.
200×200 0.2343 0.0521 0.2241
0.0122 i
0.1661 + From Fig. 1 it can be seen that along with the increase of
300×300 0.1671 0.1080 0.1509 the grounding grid area, the resistive part of the grounding
0.0180 i
480×480 0.1152 0.2213
0.1124 +
0.0943
impedance of the grounding grid continuously decreases, and
0.0252 i the inductive part of the grounding grid continuously increases.
Under the situation that the grounding grid area is 300 m × 300
The analysis is performed according to the above calculated m, the inductive part is 10.9% of the resistive part; and under
results. In the calculation, the difference between the the situation that the grounding grid area is 480 m×480 m, the
equipotential method and the unequal potential method lies in inductive part is 22.4% of resistive part. At this moment, the
that the unequal potential method considers the inductance and inductance characteristics of the grounding grid must be
resistance effects of the grounding grid conductor while in the considered.
equipotential method, the whole grounding grid is considered
as the equipotential, and the inductance and the conductor
resistance are neglected. Therefore, the results calculated by
using the unequal potential method are more actual, and the
equipotential body can be used for the analysis of the small
grounding grid (in the small grounding grid, the effect of the
inductance is less). The amplitude values calculated by the
unequal potential method and the equipotential method can be
compared in Table II.
From the results in Table II it can be seen that under the
situation of power frequency fault, the smaller the grounding
grid area is, the smaller the error calculated when the
grounding grid is considered as the equipotential will be. When
the grounding grid area is 200 m × 200 m or below, if the error
calculated by using the equipotential method and the unequal
potential method is less than 5%, the results calculated by the
both can be considered to be the same. When the grounding
grid area is enlarged to be 300 m × 300 m, the algorithm error Fig. 1. Relation betweenside length of grounding grid and real part and
imaginary part of grounding impedance
is about 10%, and when the grounding grid area reaches 480 m
× 480 m, the algorithm error is about 20%. As the engineering The calculated results from this section show that when the
construction may bring about 5% to 10% error to the grounding soil resistivity is about 100 Ω, and the side length of the
resistance, if the algorithm error exceeds 10%, the grounding rectangular grounding grid is over 300 m, the grounding grid
grid can be considered as large grounding grid. In this situation, can be considered as the large grounding grid. In China, the
the resistance and the inductance of the grounding conductor 300 m × 300 m grounding grid is usually for 500 kV
have resulted in big enough potential difference on the substation. Thus, in the construction of the substation, the
grounding grid, and the area of the grounding grid has also grounding grid with a voltage level of 500 kV, 750 kV and
1000 kV needs to be calculated according to the model of the resistivity is, the smaller the defined large grounding grid area
large grounding grid. In fact, not only the grounding grid area, will be. In fact, if the soil resistivity is very high, usually it
but also the soil resistivity can affect the proportion of means that there is rock or the gravel. In this situation, the
inductive impedance in the grounding resistance, which will be grounding grid cannot be buried in, and the fine soil or other
discussed below. backfill materials with low resistivity should be backfilled.
Therefore, the grounding grid is usually buried in the soil layer
IV. EFFECT OF SOIL RESISTIVITY with the soil resistivity being within hundreds of ohm per meter.
In fact, not only the grounding grid area, but also the soil Through the above analysis results, it is reasonable that the
resistivity can affect the inductive component and the resistive grounding grid with a side length of more than 300 m should
component of the grounding impedance. Let the frequency be be considered as large grounding grid. As a result, the
50 Hz, the grounding grid area be 300 m × 300 m, the burial grounding grid with a voltage level of above 500 kV is
depth of the grounding body be 0.8 m, and the radius is 0.01 m. considered as the large grounding grid in China.
The current is injected from the center of the grid, the
grounding impedances calculated by using the equipotential V. EFFECT OF GROUNDING MATERIALS
method and the unequal potential method are analyzed when The characteristics of the grounding impedance of the
the soil resistivity is 10 Ω·m, 50 Ω·m, 100 Ω·m, 500 Ω·m, grounding grid made of either steel or copper may be different.
1000 Ω·m and 2000 Ω·m respectively. The unequal potential Let the frequency be 50 Hz, the grounding grid area be 300 m
method is used for analyzing the real part and the imaginary × 300 m, the burial depth of the grounding body be 0.8 m, and
part. The calculated results are shown in Table III. the radius be 0.01 m. The current is injected from the center of
the grid. The grounding impedance results calculated by using
TABLE III. GROUNDING IMPEDANCES CALCULATED BY USING the equipotential method and the unequal potential method
EQUIPOTENTIAL METHOD AND UNEQUAL POTENTIAL METHOD UNDER when the radius of the steel and the radius of the copper are
DIFFERENT SOIL RESISTIVITY
0.01 m and 0.02 m respectively are analyzed when the soil
Results calculated by unequal Results resistivity is 10 Ω·m. The unequal potential method is used for
Soil
potential method calculated by analyzing the real part and the imaginary part. Obviously, a
resistivity
Amplitude Complex equipotential
(Ω·m)
value (Ω)
Radian
number (Ω) method (Ω) minimum difference exists between the real part and the
10 0.0351 0.4905 0.0309 + 0.0151 imaginary part of the grounding impedance when the soil
0.0165i resistivity is 10 Ω·m. In this situation, the unequal potential
50 0.0927 0.1932 0.0910 + 0.0755 method is used for calculating the grounding impedance to
0.0178i obtain Table IV.
100 0.1671 0.1080 0.1661 + 0.1510
0.0180i The calculated results show that under the situation that the
500 0.7672 0.0237 0.7670 + 0.7549 whole grounding grid is considered as the equipotential body,
0.0182i the radius of the grounding grid conductor slightly affects the
1000 1.5183 0.0120 1.5182 + 1.5097
0.0182i calculated results of the grounding impedance of the grounding
2000 3.0205 0.0060 3.0205 + 3.0195 grid. Under the actual calculation situation (unequal potential
0.0182i method), along with the increase of the grounding grid radius,
the grounding impedance decreases obviously.
The calculated results in Table III show the resistive part of TABLE IV. CALCULATED RESULTS OF GROUNDING IMPEDANCE OF
the grounding impedance (the real part in the results calculated CONDUCTORS MADE OF STEEL AND COPPER UNDER DIFFERENT GROUNDING
by using the unequal potential method) is in direct proportion CONDUCTOR RADIUSES
to the soil resistivity, and the inductive part in the grounding Steel Copper
impedance (the imaginary part) increases slowly. The inductive Radius Unequal Unequal
Equipotential Equipotential
part in the grounding impedance is mainly related to the (mm) potential
method (Ω)
potential
method (Ω)
grounding grid area. It shows that the soil resistivity mainly method (Ω) method (Ω)
10 0.0351(0.030 0.01597(0.0156
affects the resistive part (the real part) of the grounding 0.0151 0.0151
9 +0.0165i) +0.0036i)
impedance and slightly affects the inductive part. When the soil 20 0.0248(0.022 0.01544(0.0151
resistivity is lower, the inductive part of the grounding 0.0150 0.0150
7 +0.0010i) 06 +0.003177i)
impedance is hard to neglect compared with the resistive part,
and the side of the smallest frame of the large grounding grid
model is shorter. For example, when the soil resistivity is 100 When the radius of the grounding conductor made of either
Ω·m, and the large grounding grid model has an area of more steel or copper increases, the resistive part and the inductive
than 300 m × 300 m, the inductive impedance is about 10% of part of the grounding impedance of the grounding grid
total impedance, and when the soil resistivity is 1000 Ω·m, the decrease. The decrease range of the inductive part is slightly
inductive impedance is about 1% of total impedance. larger than that of the resistive part.
Therefore, if 10% of algorithm error is exceeded or about 10% The calculated results show that by using the equipotential
of inductive impedance occupied in the total impedance is method, the grounding impedance of the grounding grid is not
exceeded, the grounding grid is considered as the large related to the conductor radius. Therefore, under the situation
grounding grid. Thus, the so called large grounding grid is also of larger conductor radius and smaller permeability, the
closely related to the soil resistivity. The lower the soil difference between the two calculated results will be smaller.
VI. EFFECT OF CURRENT INJECTION POSITION ON GROUNDING part is 10% of the resistive par, the grounding grid can be
GRID considered as the large grounding grid and when the grounding
grid area is larger than 300 m × 300 m. At this moment, the
Due to the existence of the longitudinal impedance of the
resistance and the impedance of the grounding grid conductor
grounding conductor, if the current injection position is
have resulted in big enough potential difference on the
different, the grounding impedance is different. Let the
grounding grid, and the grounding grid area has also resulted in
frequency be 50 Hz, the grounding grid area be 300 m × 300
the non-ignorable inductance on the grounding grid. In China,
m, the burial depth of the grounding body be 0.8 m, and the
the 300 m × 300 m grounding grid is usually for 500 kV
radius be 0.01 m, the grounding impedances calculated by
substations. Therefore, the grounding grid with a voltage level
using the unequal potential method under different current
of 500 kV or above in the engineering can be called large
injection positions when the radius of the steel conductor is
grounding grid.
0.01m are analyzed. The soil resistivity is 10 Ω·m. The unequal
potential method is used for analyzing the real part and the The ratio of the resistive part to the inductive part varies
imaginary part. The calculated results of the corresponding with the soil resistivity and the grounding materials. The lower
grounding impedance are shown in Table V. the soil resistivity and the higher permeability are, the larger
the proportion of the inductive part will be. In the large
The calculated results show that along with the calculated
grounding grid, the current injection position has an effect on
position approaching the center of the grounding grid, the
the grounding impedance. The closer the current injection
amplitude of the grounding impedance obtained by calculation
position to the center of the grounding grid is, the smaller the
decreases. Meanwhile, the real part and the imaginary part of
grounding impedance will be.
the grounding impedance can also decrease. Therefore, the
closer the current injection position to the center of the REFERENCES
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