# PesWiki.com

## PowerPedia:Direct current

Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm.

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Direct current (DC or "continuous Current (electricity)") is considered as the constant flow of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[2]`. This is typically in a Conductor (material) such as a wire, but can also be through `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[3]`s, or even through a `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[4]`. In direct current, the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[5]` for direct current was Galvanic current. `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[6]` Long after the usage of this term had been established, physicists realized that `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[34]` actually flow to a negative potential (pole) and so-called "holes" flow to the opposite one. However, the established usage of the term prevailed.

The first commercial `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[7]`) used direct current.

Because of the advantage of alternating current over direct current in transforming and transmission, electric power distribution today is nearly all alternating current. See `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[35]`.

#### Various definitions

Within `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[36]`, the term DC is a synonym for constant. For example, the voltage across a DC `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[37]` is constant as is the current through a DC `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[38]`. The DC solution of an `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[39]` is the solution where all voltages and currents are constant. It can be shown that any voltage or current waveform can be decomposed into a sum of a DC component and a time-varying component. The DC component is defined to be the average value of the voltage or current over all time. The average value of the time-varying component is zero.

Although DC stands for "Direct Current", DC sometimes refers to "constant polarity." With this definition, DC voltages can vary in time, such as the raw output of a rectifier or the fluctuating voice signal on a telephone line. Some forms of DC (such as that produced by a `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[8]` and current.

#### Applications

Direct current installations usually have different types of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[9]`s, with voltages from a few kilovolts to approximately one megavolt.

`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[10]`

DC is commonly found in many low-`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[11]`, which can produce only DC, or `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[12]` circuits require a DC `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[40]`. Applications using `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[41]` (mixing hydrogen and oxygen together with a catalyst to produce electricity and water as byproducts) also produce only DC.

Most `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[13]` the positive terminal of power supply system and the Battery (electricity) bank. This is done to prevent Electrolysis depositions.

#### High-voltage, direct current

HVDC or high-voltage, direct current `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[14]` systems as a means for the bulk transmission of electrical power. The modern form of HVDC transmission uses technology developed extensively in the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[15]` in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[42]` between `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[43]` and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[44]`, and a 10-20 MW system in Gotland, `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[45]` in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[46]`.

##### Advantages of high voltage transmission

Low voltage is convenient for customer loads such as `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[16]` and Electric motor. Early electric power distribution schemes used direct-current Electrical generators located near the customer's loads, distributing power at the voltage needed by the lamps and motors. As electric power became more widespread, distances between generating plant and loads increased. Since the flow of current through long wires results in a voltage drop, it became difficult to regulate the voltage at the distribution circuit extremities. Customers near the generator had a higher voltage than those farther away. This was undesirable because excess voltage reduces lamp life, and low voltage reduces performance of motors.

For a given quantity of power transmitted, higher voltage reduces the transmission power loss. Power in a circuit is proportional to the current, but the power lost as heat in the wires is proportional to the square of the current. Thus, the higher the voltage, the lower the power loss. Power loss can also be reduced by reducing resistance, commonly achieved by increasing the diameter of the conductor but larger conductors are heavier and more expensive.

In the early days of electricity, the only relatively efficient way to step voltages up and down was with a Transformer, which only works with alternating current, and not direct current. The competition between the DC of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[47]` and the AC of Nikola Tesla and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[48]` was known as the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[49]`, with AC emerging the victor, though one Edison utility continued to operate as late as 2005. Practical manipulation of DC voltages only became possible with the development of high power semiconductor devices, such as Thyristors, `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[50]`s, `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[51]`s and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[52]`s.

##### History of HVDC transmission

An early method of high-voltage DC transmission was developed by the Swiss engineer Rene Thury. This system used series-connected `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[53]` sets to increase voltage. Each set was insulated from ground and driven by insulated shafts from a `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[54]`. The line was operated in constant current mode, with up to 5000 volts on each machine, some machines having double commutators to reduce the voltage on each commutator. An early example of this system was installed in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[55]` in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[56]` by the Society Acquedotto de Ferrari-Galliera. This system transmitted 630 kW at 14 kV DC over a distance of 120 km. Other Thury systems operating at up to 100 kV DC operated up until the 1930s, but the rotating machinery required high maintenance and had high energy loss. Various other electromechanical devices were tested during the first half of the 20th century with little commercial success.

The grid controlled `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[57]` became available for power transmission during the period 1920 to 1940. In `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[58]` a 60 MW, +/- 200 kV, 115 km buried cable link was designed for the city of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[59]` using mercury arc valves (`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[60]`), but owing to the collapse of the German government in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[61]` the project was never completed. The nominal justification for the project was that, during wartime, a buried cable would be less conspicuous as a bombing target. The equipment was moved to the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[62]` and was put into service there. Introduction of the fully-static mercury arc valve to commercial service in 1954 marked the beginning of the modern era of HVDC transmission. Mercury arc valves were common in systems designed up to 1975, but since then, HVDC systems use only solid-state devices.

##### Advantages of HVDC over AC transmission

In a number of applications the advantages of HVDC makes it the preferred option over AC transmission. Examples include:

`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[17]`, where high capacitance causes additional AC losses. (e.g. 250 km `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[63]` between `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[64]` and Germany).

Endpoint-to-endpoint long-haul bulk power transmission without intermediate 'taps', for example, in remote areas.

Increasing the capacity of an existing `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[65]` in situations where additional wires are difficult or expensive to install.

Allowing power transmission between unsynchronised AC distribution systems.

Reducing the profile of wiring and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[66]` for a given power transmission capacity.

Connecting remote generating plant to the distribution grid, for example `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[67]`.

Stabilizing a predominantly AC power-grid, without increasing `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[68]`.

Reducing `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[69]` (due to higher voltage peaks) for HVAC transmission lines of similar power

Reducing line cost since HVDC transmission requires fewer conductors (i.e. 2 conductors one is positive another is negative)

Long undersea cables have a high `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[70]`. While this has minimal effect for DC transmission, the current required to charge and discharge the capacitance of the cable causes additional I^2R power losses when the cable is carrying AC. In addition, AC power is lost to Dielectric losses.

HVDC can carry more power per Conductor (material), because for a given power rating the constant voltage in a DC line is lower than the peak voltage in an AC line. This voltage determines the insulation thickness and conductor spacing. This allows existing transmission line corridors to be used to carry more power into an area of high power consumption, which can lower costs.

##### Increased stability of power systems

Because HVDC allows power transmission between unsynchronised AC distribution systems, it can help increase system stability, by preventing `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[71]`s from propagating from one part of a wider power transmission grid to another, whilst still allowing power to be imported or exported in the event of smaller failures. This has caused many power system operators to contemplate wider use of HVDC technology for its stability benefits alone.

##### Possible health advantages of HVDC over AC transmission

A high-voltage DC transmission line would not produce the same sort of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[72]` (ELF) electromagnetic field as would an equivalent AC line. It is speculated by those who believe that ELF radiation is harmful that such a reduction in EM fields would be beneficial to health. The benefits would extend only to those near the transmission lines, as the electric and magnetic fields associated with high current AC transmission lines do not travel far beyond the actual lines themselves. These fields are, however, also associated with electrical equipment and household appliances. It should be noted that the current scientific consensus does not consider ELF sources and their associated fields to be particularly harmful, and that deployment of HVDC equipment would not completely eliminate electric fields, as there would still be time-independent electric field gradients between the conductors and ground.

The required `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[18]` are expensive and cannot be overloaded very much. At smaller transmission distances the losses in the static inverters may be bigger than in an AC powerline, and the cost of the inverters may not be offset by reductions in line construction cost.

In contrast to AC systems, realizing multiterminal systems is complex, as is expanding existing schemes to multiterminal systems. Controlling power flow in a multiterminal DC system requires good communication between all the terminals power flow must be actively regulated by the control system instead of by the inherent properties of the transmission line.

##### AC network interconnections

AC transmission lines can only interconnect synchronized AC networks that oscillate at the same frequency and in phase. Many areas that wish to share power have unsynchronized networks. The power grids of the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and continental Europe all operate at 50 Hz but are not synchronized. `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[73]` has 50 Hz and 60 Hz networks. Continental North America, while operating at 60 Hz throughout, is divided into regions which are unsynchronised: East, West, `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[74]` and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[75]`. `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[76]` and `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[77]`, which share the massive `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[78]` hydroelectric plant, operate on 60 Hz and 50 Hz respectively. However, HVDC systems make it possible to interconnect unsynchronized AC networks, and also add the possibility of controlling AC voltage and reactive power flow.

A Electrical generator connected to a long AC transmission line may become unstable and fall out of synchronization with a distant AC power system. An HVDC transmission link may make it economically feasible to use remote generation sites. `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[19]` located off-shore may use HVDC systems to collect power from multiple unsynchronized generators for transmission to the shore by an underwater cable.

In general, however, an HVDC power line will interconnect two AC regions of the power-distribution grid. Machinery to convert between AC and DC power adds a considerable cost in power transmission. The conversion from AC to DC is known as `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[20]`, and from DC to AC as `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[21]`. Above a certain break-even distance (about 50 km for submarine cables, and perhaps 600-800 km for overhead cables), the lower cost of the HVDC electrical conductors outweighs the cost of the electronics.

The conversion electronics also present an opportunity to effectively manage the power grid by means of controlling the magnitude and direction of power flow. An additional advantage of the existence of HVDC links, therefore, is potential increased stability in the transmission grid.

##### Rectifying and inverting components

Early static systems used `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[22]` (IGBT) is now also used and offers simpler control and reduced valve cost.

Because the voltages in HVDC systems, up to 800 kV in some cases, exceed the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[79]`s of the semiconductor devices, HVDC converters are built using large numbers of semiconductors in series.

The low-voltage control circuits used to switch the thyristors on and off need to be isolated from the high voltages present on the transmission lines. This is usually done optically. In a hybrid control system, the low-voltage control electronics sends light pulses along optical fibres to the high-side control electronics. Another system, called direct light triggering, dispenses with the high-side electronics, instead using light pulses from the control electronics to switch light-triggered thyristors (LTTs).

A complete switching element is commonly referred to as a 'valve', irrespective of its construction.

##### Rectifying and inverting systems

Rectification and inversion use essentially the same machinery. Many substations are set up in such a way that they can act as both rectifiers and inverters. At the AC end a set of transformers, often three physically separate single-phase transformers, isolate the station from the AC supply, to provide a local earth, and to ensure the correct eventual DC voltage. The output of these transformers is then connected to a bridge rectifier formed by a number of valves. The basic configuration uses six valves, connecting each of the three phases to each of the DC rails. However, with a phase change only every sixty degrees, considerable harmonics remain on the DC rails.

An enhancement of this configuration uses 12 valves (often known as a twelve-pulse system). The AC is split into two separate three phase supplies before transformation. One of the sets of supplies is then configured to have a star (wye) secondary, the other a delta secondary, establishing a thirty degree phase difference between each of the sets of three phases. With twelve valves connecting each of the two sets of three phases to the two DC rails, there is a phase change every 30 degrees, and harmonics are considerably reduced.

In addition to the conversion transformers and valve-sets, various passive resistive and reactive components help filter harmonics out of the DC rails.

##### Monopole and earth return

In a common configuration, called monopole, one of the terminals of the rectifier is connected to earth ground. The other terminal, at a potential high above, or below, ground, is connected to a transmission line. The `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[80]`ed terminal may or may not be connected to the corresponding connection at the inverting station by means of a second conductor.

If no metallic conductor is installed, current flows in the earth between the earth electrodes at the two stations. Therefore it is a type of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[81]`. The issues surrounding earth-return current include

Electrochemical corrosion of long buried metal objects such as `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[23]`

Underwater earth-return electrodes in seawater may produce `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[82]` or otherwise affect water chemistry.

An unbalanced current path may result in a net magnetic field, which can affect magnetic `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[83]`al `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[84]`es for ships passing over an underwater cable.

These effects can be eliminated with installation of a metallic return conductor between the two ends of the monopolar transmission line. Since one terminal of the converters is connected to earth, the return conductor need not be insulated for the full transmission voltage which makes it less costly than the high-voltage conductor. Use of a metallic return conductor is decided based on economic, technical and environmental factors. Modern monopolar systems for pure overhead lines carry typically 1500 MW. If underground or seacables are used the typical value is 600 MW.

Most monopolar systems are designed for future bipolar expansion. If overhead power transmission lines are used, the used electricity pylons are often designed to carry two conductors and in many cases they do also. The second conductor is either unused, used as `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[85]` or permanently parallelized with the other (as in case of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[86]`).

##### Bipolar

In bipolar transmission a pair of conductors is used, each at a high potential with respect to ground, in opposite polarity. Since these conductors must be insulated for the full voltage, transmission line cost is higher than a monopole with a return conductor. However, there are a number of advantages to bipolar transmission which can make it the attractive option.

Under normal load, negligible earth-current flows, as in the case of monopolar transmission with a metallic earth-return minimising earth return loss and environmental effects.

When a fault develops in a line, with earth return electrodes installed at each end of the line, current can continue flow using the earth as a return path, operating in monopolar mode.

Since for a given power rating bipolar lines carry only half the current of monopolar lines, the cost of the second conductor is reduced compared to a monopolar line of the same rating.

In very adverse terrain, the second conductor may be carried on an independent set of transmission towers, so that some power may continue to be transmitted even if one line is damaged.

A bipolar system may also be installed with a metallic earth return conductor.

Bipolar systems may carry as much as 3000 MW at voltages of +/-533 kV. Submarine cable installations initially commissioned as a monopole may be upgraded with additional cables and operated as a bipole.

##### Back to back

A back-to-back station is a plant in which both static inverters are in the same area, usually even in the same building and the length of the direct current line is only a few meters. HVDC back-to-back stations are used for

coupling of electricity mains of different frequency (as in Japan)

coupling two networks of the same nominal frequency but no fixed phase relationship

different frequency and phase number (for example, as a replacement for `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[87]`s)

different modes of operation (as until 1995/96 in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[24]`).

The DC voltage in the intermediate circuit can be selected freely at HVDC back-to-back stations because of the short conductor length. The DC voltage is as low as possible, in order to build a small valve hall and to avoid parallel switching of valves. For this reason at HVDC back-to-back stations valves with the highest available current rating are used.

##### Systems with transmission lines

The most common configuration of an HVDC link is a `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[25]`-to-station `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[26]`, where two `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[27]`/`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[28]`. This is also a configuration commonly used in connecting unsynchronised grids, in long-haul power transmission, and in undersea cables.

Multi-terminal HVDC links, connecting more than two points, are rare. The configuration of multiple terminals can be series, parallel, or hybrid(a mixture of series and parallel). Parallel configuration tends to be used for large capacity stations, and series for lower capacity stations. An example is the 2000 MW `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[88]` system opened in 1992, which is currently the largest multi-terminal HVDC system in the world.

##### Tripole - current-modulating control

A newly patented scheme (2004) (Current modulation of direct current transmission lines) is useful for converting existing AC transmission lines to HVDC. Two of the three circuit conductors are operated as a bipole. The third conductor is used as a parallel monopole, equipped with reversing valves (or parallel valves connected in reverse polarity). The parallel monopole periodically relieves current from one pole or the other, switching polarity over a span of several minutes. The bipole conductors would be loaded to either 1.37 or 0.37 of their thermal limit, with the parallel monopole always carrying +/- 1 times its thermal limit current. The combined `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[89]` heating effect is as if each of the conductors is always carrying 1.0 of its rated current. This allows heavier currents to be carried by the bipole conductors, and full use of the installed third conductor for energy transmission. . High currents can be circulated through the line conductors even when load demand is low.

Combined with the higher average power possible with a DC transmission line for the same line-to-ground voltage, a tripole conversion of an existing AC line could allow up to 80% more power to be transferred using the same transmission right-of-way, towers, and conductors. Some AC lines cannot be loaded to their thermal limit due to system stability, reliability, and reactive power concerns, which would not exist with an HVDC link.

The system operates without earth-return current. Since a single failure of a pole converter or a conductor results in only a small loss of capacity and no earth-return current, reliability of this scheme would be high. No time would be lost in switching if a conductor broke. The valves would inherently have an emergency overload rating in bipole mode. This would possibly allow great increase in power transmission with significant effect in congested transmission systems, where consequences of a single line failure limit the allowed loading of other parallel transmission lines. While capital costs are higher than for a bipole conversion operating at the same voltage class, the extra power capability reduces incremental cost per megawatt. Depending on transmission line physical configuration, replacement of insulators may be required to achieve the highest power rating, to insure proper line-to-line clearance distances.

As of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[90]` no tri-pole conversions are in operation, although a transmission line in `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[91]` has been converted to bipole HVDC.

See

Presentation on Current-Modulated Control

United States Department of Energy comments received on an inquiry into power transmission bottlenecks

##### Corona discharge

`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[29]`) by the presense of a strong Electric field. Electrons are torn from un-Ionised air, and either the positive ions or else the electrons are attracted to the conductor, whilst the charged particles drift. This effect can cause considerable power loss, create audible and radio-frequency interference, generate toxic compounds such as oxides of nitrogen and ozone, and lead to arcing.

Both AC and DC transmission lines can generate coronas, in the former case in the form of oscillating particles, in the latter a constant wind. Due to the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[30]`ate condensation (particles of different polarities have a different mean-free path). `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[31]` generate considerably more ozone than `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[32]`, and generate it further downwind of the power line, creating the potential for health effects. The use of a `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[92]` voltage will reduce the ozone impacts of monopole HVDC power lines.

##### Applications

The controllability of current-flow through HVDC rectifiers and inverters, their application in connecting unsynchronized networks, and their applications in efficient submarine cables mean that HVDC cables are often used at national boundaries for the exchange of power. Offshore windfarms also require undersea cables, and their Turbines are unsynchronized. In very long-distance connections between just two points, for example around the remote communities of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[93]`, `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[94]`, and the `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[95]`n North, the decreased line-costs of HVDC also makes it the usual choice. Other applications have been noted throughout this article.

The development of `There was an error working with the wiki: Code[33]` and Thyristor has made smaller HVDC systems economical. These may be installed in existing AC grids for their role in stabilizing power flow without the additional short-circuit current that would be produced by an additional AC transmission line. One manufacturer calls this concept "HVDC Light", and has extended the use of HVDC down to blocks as small at a few tens of megawatts and lines as short as a few score kilometres of overhead line.

#### Related

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Alternating current

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#### External articles and references

`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1]`

"AC/DC: What's the Difference?". Edison's Miracle of Light, American Experience. (`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[103]`)

History of HVDC

World Bank briefing document about HVDC systems

ABB HVDC website

http://www.ieee.org/organizations/history_center/Che2004/DITTMANN.pdf

Donald Beaty et al, "Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers 11th Ed.", McGraw Hill, 1978

Narain G. Hingorani in IEEE Spectrum magazine, 1996.

http://www.myinsulators.com/acw/bookref/histsyscable/

Shaping the Tools of Competitive Power http://www.tema.liu.se/tema-t/sirp/PDF/322_5.pdf

http://www.rmst.co.il/HVDC_Proven_Technology.pdf

Scientific Facts on electromagnetic fields from Power Lines, Wiring & Appliances

Siemens AG - HVDC website

`There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1]`, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation.

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