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HIGH VOLTAGE DIRECT CURRENT (HVDC)

INTRODUCTION

The Rihand-Delhi bipole project is the first commercial long distance


transmission project in India employing HVDC technology. The project is being
maintained and operated by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. The work on
planning of project had commenced during 1984 when it was under NTPC. The
project was awarded to BHEL and ABB in February 1986.
One of the converters of project which operates as a rectifier is located in the
south eastern corner of U.P. The other converter that acts as the inverter is
located in western side of U.P. in Ghaziabad district at Dadri. Project also
includes 2 electrode stations, one at Chapaki (22kms. From Rihand) and the
other at Dhankaur(25 kms. From Rihand). The PLCC communication system has
2 repeater stations along route of line, one at Katra and other at Jhinjhak. Project
transmits power generated at Rihand to Dadri from where it is further distributed
to various beneficiaries in Northern region.

ADVANTAGES OF USING HVDC TRANSMISSION

1) It forms an asynchronous connection between 2 stations connected through


HVDC link. Transmission of power is independent of sending and receiving end
of A.C. system frequency. Some A.C. electric power systems are not
synchronized to neighbouring networks even though their physical distances
between them are quite small. This occurs for instances in Japan where half
country is a 60 Hz. network and other half is a 50 Hz. network system. It is
physically impossible to connect the two together by direct A.C. methods in order
to exchange electric power between them. However if a D.C converter station is
located in each system with an interconnecting D.C link between them, it is
possible to transfer required power flow even through A.C. systems so connected
remains asynchronous.
2) Reduction in right of way :- The D.C. link corridor being extremely
compact(only 46km.),the total requirement of right of way reduces to half for the
same quantum of power to be transmitted over A.C.

3) Power flow through D.C. link can be precisely controlled under steady state as
well as dynamic conditions. During steady state power flow remains fixed at
ordered value and is independent of conditions in A.C. system. During dynamic
conditions power flow through D.C. link can be modulated in a way so as to
assist the rest of the grid in damping the prevailing disturbance.

4) Bulk Power Transmission :- Since D.C. line does not generate or absorb any
reactive power, it helps to increase the capabilities of link to transmit large
quantities of power over long distances in an efficient and economical manner.
Due to absence of reactive power, losses on D.C. line are also low. Due to
absence of frequency factor on D.C. link skin effect does not play any part and
complete cross-section of conductor can be effectively used and more power can
be transmitted on same size of conductor.

5) D.C. transmission line does not contribute to short circuit levels at terminals.
This feature becomes important if two large networks are being connected where
D.C. levels are in the vicinity of maximum values specified for network.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

HVDC TERMINAL DATA

Ratings : 2 x 750 MW, +/- 500 kv.


A.C. Voltage : For performance : 380-420kv
For rating : 360-440kv.

A.C. side frequency : For performance : 48.5-50.5Hz.


For rating : 47.5-51.5Hz.
Overload Rating : 1650MW.
Short time overload : 1000MW per pole (for 5 seconds)
Thyristor valves : 6.5kv, 1568 Amp., water cooled
Converter Transformer : 1phase,3 winding,305 MVA ,
+14/-10 tap@ 1.25%

HVDC LINE DATA

Line Length : 815kms.


No. of Towers : 2142
Conduction per pole : 4
Conductor area : 725mm2
Line to line clearance : 12.75m
Line to ground clearance : 12.5m
Right of way : 46m
MODES OF OPERATIONS
Following are the different modes in which converter stations can successfully
operate.

1).Balanced Bipolar Mode :- Both poles carry equal amount of power and current.
The net ground currents are less than 10 amperes.

2 Unbalanced Bipolar Mode :- One of the poles operate in constant current mode
and other transmits the balanced ordered bipole power.

3) Monopolar Metallic Return Mode :- It is utilized when one of the converters is


under maintainence. Return path for the operating pole is through HVDC line of
the pole under maintainence.

4) Monopolar Ground Return Mode :- In this return path for pole D.C. current is
through earth. The link has only one conductor. Suitable electrode stations have
been built to have this mode.

5) Reduced Voltage Operation :- The project can operate with D.C. voltage
between 400-450 kv depending upon A.C. voltage at Dadri and alpha higher than
380 to facilitate operation under bad weather.

DESCRIPTION OF HVDC TERMINAL

VALVE HALL

The valve hall houses the thyristor valves which operates in the invertor mode.
The thyristor valves are air insulated and cooled with DM water. Mechanically
valves are built up as quadruple valve units i.e. each physical structure contains
4 valve functions. For each pole, 3 quadruple valves form a 12 pulse group.
Quadruple valves are suspended from ceiling. Each single valve contains 96
series-connected thyristor, three of which are redundant. Each thyristor has a
power handling capacity of 1.1MVA.One quadruple pole consists of 384 series
connected thyristors.
Thyristor module is usually interchangeable for maintainence purposes and
consists of electric components. The current ratings of thyristors are of
magnitude of line current required for transmission . However, individual thyristor
voltage rating is very small as compared to line voltage. Therefore large number
of thyristors have to be connected in series to give proper voltage rating. Since
thyristors may fail to an internal short circuit, it is equipped with no. of
extra(redundant) thyristors in series so that even if some of thyristors fail, valve
operation is not affected. The valves have a modular design with each module
having its associated heat sink, control pulse generating circuits and voltage
dividing circuits. Purpose of voltage dividing circuits is to ensure uniform voltage
distribution along a chain of thyristor when the valve is non-conducting.

THE CONVERTER TRANSFORMERS

They are of single phase, 3 winding type. The ungrounded-Y valve winding
bushings protrude inside the valve hall, while the delta valve side bushings are
outside. The star winding bushings protrude directly into valve hall. The delta
connections which have a lower D.C. voltage are made outside the valve hall.
The converter transformer transforms the A.C. voltage to a suitable value for
feeding the converter. In addition, it serves following functions:

1) Reactive power is supplied to the converter through tap changing.

2) Short circuit currents are controlled by suitable impedance values of these


transformers.

3) Reactance of converter transformer helps in harmonic suppression.


4) By suitable star-delta connections the required 30 deg. Phase shift for 12
pulse operation is achieved.
In this the insulation system has to be designed withstand direct voltage
stresses. Moreover, in a converter transformer currents have a high harmonic
content so that care has to be taken with regard to eddy current loss.

SMOOTHING REACTORS

Two smoothing reactors are installed per pole, one oil insulated of 360mH and
one air insulated of 180mH.The valve side bushing of the hall oil insulated
smoothing reactor protrudes directly into the valve hall. It serves the following
functions:-
1) It prevents consequent commutation failures in the inverter by limiting the rate
of increase of D.C. during commutation in one bridge when the direct voltage of
other bridge collapses.

2) It decreases the incidence of commutation failures in the inverter during dips in


the alternating voltage.

3) It decreases the harmonic voltages and currents in the D.C. line.

4) It limits the current on the rectifier when a short circuit occurs on the line.

5) It smoothens the ripples in the D.C. sufficiently to prevent the current from
becoming discontinuous at light loads.

TWO D.C FILTERS

Two D.C. filters are installed in each pole, one double tuned to the 12th and24th
harmonics, the other single tune to the 12th harmonic. The HVDC transmission
link can be operated without D.C. filters. However, drawback is higher telephone
interference associated with it. D.C side filters reduce harmonic current flow on
D.C. transmission lines to minimize coupling and interference to adjacent voice
frequency commutation circuits. Where there is no D.C. line such as in the back
to back configuration, D.C side filters may not be required.

THE AC FILTER BANKS

To meet the filtering requirements and to control the interchange of reactive


power with the 400 KV network, three AC filter banks, each rated at 230 MVAR,
are installed in each station. Each AC filter bank consists of two branches
double-tuned to the 11th and 13th harmonics, one double-tuned to the 3rd and 36th
harmonics and one double-tuned to the 5th and 27th harmonics. The last branch
is a pure high-pass filter.

The characteristic AC side current harmonics generated by 6 pulse converters


are 6n + / - 1 for 12 pulse converters where n equals all positive integers. AC
filters are typically tuned to 11th, 13th, 23rd and 25th harmonics for 12 pulse
converters. Tuning to the 5th and 7th harmonics is required if the converters can
be configured into 6 pulse operation. AC side harmonic filters may be switched
with circuit breakers or circuit switches to accommodate reactive power
requirement strategies since these filters generate reactive power at fundamental
frequency. A parallel resonance is naturally created between the capacitance of
the AC filters and the inductive impedance of the AC system. For the special
case where such a resonance is lightly damped and tuned to a frequency
between the 2nd and 4th harmonic, then a low order harmonic filter at the 2nd or 3rd
harmonic may be required, even for 12 pulse converter operation.

THE CONTROL AND PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

The control and protection equipment is of modern microprocessor based design


with a high degree of redundancy. This allows the control and protection systems
to be serviced and maintained without disturbing the operation of the system.
The control of firing angle is very important in HVDC systems. Electrical
impulses, for firing have to be sent simultaneously to all thyristors connected in
series. The system adopted in most of the modern HVDC systems and also in
Rihand Dadri HVDC system, uses light pulses conducted through fiber optic light
guides. At each thyristor level, a light pulse is converted by electronic circuits to
an electric pulse, which is sent to thyristor gate.

EARTH ELECTRODE

The project includes two electrodes stations on a Chapaki, about 22 Km from


Rihand and the other at Dhankaur,about 25 Km from Dadri. The reasons for
situating an earth electrode at a safe distance from the terminal station is to
protect pipelines (of the gas power plant) and the other apparatus in contract or
buried in the soil from damage. The terminal station is connected to the earth
electrode through an insulated cable known as earth electrode line. In addition
an array of inter-connected conductors (known as earth mat or grid) is placed in
earth at each terminal for protection of connected conductors from over voltages
and safety of personnel. The neutral of converter transformers and earth
terminals are connected to this earth mat. There is no direct connection between
earth electrode and the earth mat. The following points are kept in mind while
designing the earth station:-

Material of earth electrode: The electrolytic corrosion of anode is an important


consideration in selection of material and design of earth electrode. Iron is not
used due to its high rate of corrosion. Graphite has a somewhat lower rate of
corrosion but its direct burial in the earth also causes significant loss of material
due to corrosion. Instead graphite electrodes buried in a pit filled with crushed
coke are used.

Design of earth electrode: The design aspects include the current density at
electrode surface which should generally not exceed 1.5 A/m, the temperature
rise of electrode and surroundings should be limited to 60 degree centigrade,
the earth resistance should be low and the step voltage on the ground surface
above the electrode should be within safe limits.

Shape of the earth electrode: An earth electrode may be a straight electrode, a


ring electrode or a radial star electrode buries horizontally in earth at about 1m
depth. The radial arrangement uses land area more effectively and hence is
used in the present system.

DC CONVERTER OPERATION

The converter operation for a six pulse converter bridge is explained below (2).
Although a 12-pulse converter is installed at the terminal the analysis of the 12-
pulse converter is similar to that of a six-pulse converter. The six-pulse converter
bridge is the basic converter unit of HVDC transmission is sued equally well for
rectification where electric power flows from the AC side to the DC side and
inversion where the power flow is from the DC side to the AC side. Thyristor
valves operate as switches, which turn on and conduct current when fired on
receiving a gate pulse and are forward biased. A thyristor valve will conduct
current in one direction and once it conducts, will only turn off when it is reverse
biased and the current falls to zero. This process is known as line commutation.

An important property of the thyristor valve is that once its conducting current
falls to zero when it is reverse biased and the gate pulse is removed, too rapid
and increase in the magnitude of the forward biased voltage will cause the
thyristor to inadvertently turn on and conduct. The design of the thyristor valve
and converter bridge must ensure such a condition is avoided for useful inverter
operation.

COMMUTATION

Rectification or inversion for HVDC converters is accomplished through a


process known as line or natural commutation. The valves act as switches so
that the AC voltage is sequentially switched to always provide a DC voltage.
With line commutation, the AC voltage at both the rectifier and inverter must be
provided by the AC networks at each end and should be three phases and
relatively free of harmonics. As each valve switches on, it will begin to conduct
current while the current begins to fall to zero in the next valve to turn off.
Commutation is the process of transfer of current between any two converter
valves with both valves carrying current simultaneously during this process.
Consider the rectification process. Each valve will switch on when it receives a
firing pulse to its gate and its forward bias voltage becomes more positive than
the forward bias voltage of the conducting valve. The current flow through a
conducting valve does not change instantaneously as it commutates to another
valve because the transfer is through transformer windings. The leakage
reactance of the transformer windings is also the commutation reactance so long
as the AC filters are located on the primary or AC side of the converter
transformer. The sum of all the valve currents transferred the DC side and
through the DC reactor is the direct current and it is relatively flat because of the
inductance of the DC reactor and converter transformer.

At the inverter, the three-phase AC voltage supplied by the AC system provides


the forward and reverse bias conditions of each valve in the converter bridge to
allow commutation of current between the valves the same as in the rectifier.
The inverter valve can only turn on and conduct when the positive direct voltage
from the DC line is greater than the back negative voltage derived from AC
commutation voltage of the AC system of the inverter. Due to the line
commutation valve switching process, a non-sinusoidal current is taken from AC
system at the rectifier and is delivered to the AC system at the inverter. Both ivr
and ivi are lagging to the alternating voltage. The non-sinusoidal current wave
form consist of the fundamental frequency AC component plus higher harmonics
being taken from, and injected into, each AC system. The AC filters divert the
harmonics from entering the AC system by offering a low impedance by-pass
path allowing the commutation voltage to be relatively harmonic free. Reversal
of power flow in a line commutated DC link is not possible by reversing the
direction of the direct current. The valves allow conduction in one direction only.
Power flow can only be reversed in line commutated DC converter bridges by
changing the polarity of the direct voltage. The dual operation of the converter
bridges as either a rectifier or inverter is achieved through firing control of the grid
pulses.

CONVERTER BRIDGE ANGLES

The various electrical angles define the operation of the converter bridges.
These angles are measured on the three phase valve side voltages and are
based upon steady state conditions with a harmonic free and idealized three
phase commutation voltage. They apply to both inverters and rectifiers.

DELAY ANGLE ALPHA

The time expressed in electrical angular measure from the zero crossing of the
idealized sinusoidal commutating voltage to the starting instant of forward current
conduction. This angle is controlled by the gate firing pulse and if less than 90
degrees, the converter bridge is a rectifier and if greater than 90 degrees, it is an
inverter. This angle is often referred to as the firing angle.

ADVANCE ANGLE BETA

The time expressed in electrical angular measure from the starting instant of
forward current conduction to the next zero crossing of the idealized sinusoidal
commutating voltage. The angle of advance beta is related in degrees to the
angle of delay alpha by:
Beta = 1800 - alpha

OVERLAP ANGLE

The duration of commutation between two converter valve arms expressed in


electrical angular measure.
EXTINCTION ANGLE GAMMA

The time expressed in electrical angular measure from the end of current
conduction to the next zero crossing of the idealized sinusoidal commutating
voltage. Gamma depends on the angle of advance beta and the angle of
overlap.

GENERAL CONTROL PRINCIPLES FOR RIHAND DADRI HVDC


TRANSMISSION

The basic control for the Rihand - Delhi HVDC transmission based on pole
current control performed by the rectifier through a feedback control system and
on pole voltage control performed by the inverter through minimum commutation
margin and tap changer control.

The inverter is provided with a similar current control system as the rectifier too
secure power transmission also under condition of reduced sending end AC
voltages. The current order at the converter is however lower than that of the
rectifier by an amount known as the current margin, in order to prevent conflicts
between the two controllers. The basic control concept also includes tap
changer controls on all converter transformers in both ends of the HVDC
transmission. Since the inverter is normally operating against its voltage limit
(constant commutation margin control) it will be possible to use its tap changers
to keep the direct voltage constant within desired limits. The tap changer
controller at the rectifier maintains the rectifier –firing angle within the range 12.5
degree to 17.5 degree. Thus the basic control concept provides a constant
voltage system with current control. When current control is transferred to the
inverter for example as a result of reduced sending end voltage, the tap changer
action on the inverter side must be stopped. The reason being the inverter
voltage ceiling no longer determines the pole voltage. Without being able to
intervene, the tap changer would reach its end position and achieve nothing but a
worsening of the power factor.