Power quality improvements in 25 kV 50 Hz railways substation based on chopper controlled impedances

Abstract : This work is the result of collaboration between the LAPLACE laboratory, the "Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli" (SUN) and the French national railways operator SNCF. The research topic treated herein concerns the use of power electronic devices in 25kV/50Hz railways substations to achieve power quality improvements. In railway transportation, single-phase 25kV-50Hz electrification system is widely diffused especially for high-speed railway applications. Although electrified DC systems are still widely applied, the adoption of AC single-phase system offers economical advantages for the infrastructures of about 30% in terms of investment, exploitation and maintenance. In early ages, due to its very simple diagram, there was no necessity to integrate power electronics in substations. However, for the last decade, the interest in power electronic equipments raised since they can provide the solution for network optimization when traffic increases or when a difficulty is foreseen for a substation implementation. Two types of devices are implemented today on the French Railway Network: Reactive Power compensators and Voltage Unbalance compensators. This thesis presents an investigation into new topologies based on the concept of "Chopper Controlled Impedances"(CCI). Compared to existing solutions, the new topologies show interesting features in terms of semi-conductor losses reduction and volume of reactive components. The manuscript is developed through three main parts: Firstly, the French railways system is introduced and the interest in installing power electronic compensators in substations is highlighted. After a brief description of currently used solutions, the CCI concept is presented: the use of Pulse Width Modulated AC Choppers allows achieving structures which behave as variable impedances. In the second part, the use of CCI structures in reactive power compensation is investigated. The SNCF substation of Revest is under study. It is equipped by a 60MVA single phase transformer with the primary side connected to a 225kV transmission line. Based on the step-down or step-up functioning mode of CCIs, two topologies of reactive power compensator are presented. The converter design is developed on the base of a measurement campaign carried out at the substation. Numerical simulations using real current and voltage waveforms are presented. Finally, experimental results carried out at the SNCF test platform on a 1.2MVAR prototype are shown. In the last part, the problem of voltage unbalance is treated. Using the concept of CCI, the feasibility of an active Steinmetz circuit based on AC choppers is explored. As a case study, the substation of Evron is considered. It is a 32MVA substation connected to a 90kV transmission line. Measurements carried out on the substation site allow the compensator design and the possibility to consider real waveforms for current and voltage in numerical simulations. A comparison with classical solution based on two levels VSI and three levels NPC-VSI highlights the advantages of the proposed solution. Calculation and simulation results show that the stored energy in reactive elements is reduced by a factor six whereas the semiconductor losses are 40% lower. Experimental results obtained on a scaled demonstrator (~1.5 kVA) validate the principle of the active Steinmetz circuit.
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Giuliano Raimondo. Power quality improvements in 25 kV 50 Hz railways substation based on chopper controlled impedances. Electric power. Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT; Seconda Universita degli Studi di Napoli, 2012. English. ⟨tel-00682719⟩

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