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A Hydro Power Generator with Adjustable Speed

Harald Musum

Initiation and funding

I graduated from NTNU 1 , Department of Elec-

trical Power Engineering in December 1996. In November 1997 I started my studies towards a PhD. The plan is to complete my thesis by Novem- ber 2001. This PhD is a part of the EFFEKT research pro- gram, which is funded by the Research Council of Norway.

My supervisor is Professor Øyvin Skarstein.


A hydro power plant with an Adjustable Speed

Drive (ASD) (see Figure 1) consists of a turbine,

a wound-rotor machine, a cycloconverter (or an-

other kind of AC-DC converter-inverter) and a con- troller. This system can be used in a hydro power

system and might be especially useful in a pumped storage plant (all existing ASD systems are used

in pumped storage plants). The machine has rotor

circuits which are excited with a three phase alter- nating current with a low frequency compared to

the frequency of the currents in the power system

it is connected to. The current in the rotor wind-

ings are supplied by the cycloconverter to the ma- chine via slip rings. The controller system takes care of controlling both the cycloconverter and the


Operation and use

The machine can be operated at asynchronous speed by exciting the rotor circuits with an AC cur- rent with a frequency f r , that together with the


“frequency” f r mek of the rotor itself

adds up to the frequency f s of the power system.

1 Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Main transformer Converter transformers Wound-rotor machine Cycloconverter Turbine

Figure 1: A hydro power station with ASD

Thus, the induced currents in the stator will have the same frequency as those of the power system. (Using a DC current in the rotor and operating the machine as a conventional synchronous generator is of course also possible). The rotor speed is adjusted by controlling the turbine output and the real power output of the gen- erator. Since the phase angle of the internal voltage is not fixed to the rotor body, the angle can be con- trolled by adjusting the AC excitation current. In this way, both the active and reactive power output of the machine can be changed quickly. The construction of the machine is similar to a wound-rotor induction machine, but it has a much larger capacity. The needed capacity of the cy- cloconverter, however, is limited according to the range of the asynchronous operation speed. An Adjustable Speed Drive (ASD) has some ad- vantages to a conventional synchronous machine

in a hydro power station. It can improve the tur- bine efficiency, control power disturbances in the power system and control pumping input and wa- ter flow when used in a pumped storage plant. The kinetic energy stored in the rotor can be utilised in case of load variations or short circuits by changing the rotor speed. Since the rotor speed can be changed by changing the rotor currents and not by changing the turbine flow, this can happen much faster than in a conventional synchronous power generator.

Goals and further work

First, I will try to find a complete nonlinear math- ematical model of the ASD. For computer simula- tions and for making a control system this model will probably have to be linearized or the model order has to be reduced in some way. Different turbine models will also be investigated to find a model that is suitable at speeds in a certain range around synchronous speed. Laboratory experiments will be performed to validate the mathematical model. Parameter esti- mation techniques will probably be used for some of this work. The control system will also have to be tested. When a suitable model for computer simulations has been found I will perform transient and small signal analysis in a power network where several ASDs are installed. Different control methods and the effect of the location of such a machine will be evaluated to find out how an ASD can improve power system stability.


My work on the thesis is in an early stage. In ad- dition to working as an scientific assistant, I par- ticipate in several courses as a part of my PhD. I will be finished with these courses this summer and plan to work full time with the thesis from then on.


[1] S. Hayashi et al. Development of adjustable


speed generator. CIGR E International Confer-

ence on Large High Voltage Electric Systems, 11(3), 1988.

[2] Akira Shibuya et al. Commisioning of 400 MW adjustable speed pumped storage system



for Ohkawachi hydro power plant. Symposium in Tokyo, (520-04), 1995.


[3] Yifan Tang and Longya Xu. Stability analysis of slip power recovery system under open loop and field oriented control. Power Electron- ics Specialist Conference, Seattle, WA, pages 558–564, 1993.