# Parallel Operation of Inverters and Active Power Filters in Distributed Generation System: A Review

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3 ARTICLE IN PRESS G Model 2 S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx Fig. 1. Equivalent circuit of parallel inverter connected to the grid. operation of APFs and their control strategies are being given more emphasis for compensating high levels of harmonic and reactive current in the distribution network. In this paper, these new trends in parallel control of inverters and APFs to cope up with increasing capacity are discussed. The paper is organized as follows: In Section 2, the principle of parallel operation of inverters with their possible problems is discussed. Active load sharing and a droop control method for parallel operation of inverters is presented in brief in Section 3. It is found that droop control is very suitable for both DG and off-grid conditions. Section 4 deals with the working principle of the droop control method. Section 5 presents a discussion on the application of parallel inverters in DG or in a microgrid. Control strategies for parallel operation of APF are presented broadly in Section 6. Finally, concluding remarks are made in Section Principle of parallel operation of inverter Balance between generated and consumed real (P) and reactive (Q) power indicates the stable operation of a power system. Therefore, implementing effective control over P and Q is very important from the operational and control points of view. The real (P 1 ) and reactive (Q 1 ) power transferred from the inverter to the common bus or grid can be calculated as described in [1] and from the following diagram, as shown in Fig. 1; [( ) ] E1 V g cos 1 P 1 = V g 2 cos g,1 + E 1V g sin 1 sin g,1 (1) Z g,1 Z g,1 Z g,1 Q 1 = [( E1 V g cos 1 Z g,1 ) ] V g 2 sin g,1 E 1V g sin 1 cos g,1 Z g,1 Z g,1 Here E 1 and V g represent the inverter output voltage and grid voltage, respectively. For only real power transfer, V g and E should have the same amplitude with a phase angle difference. Different amplitude of voltage with the same phase will give a reactive power circulation. When both of the magnitude and phase angle differ between the two voltage sources, it causes real and reactive power flow. Control of frequency dynamically controls the power angle and hence, the real power flow. As the output impedance of the (2) inverter is very low, a small change in 1 (phase difference between the inverter and grid voltage) could result a very large imbalance in the active power flow [2]. For parallel operation, the output voltage of all inverters must be kept strictly in phase in order to guarantee equality of the output active power for the corresponding inverters. Reactive currents can still circulate between inverters, as shown in Fig. 2, if their output voltage magnitudes differ from each other and this can overload the inverters unnecessarily. To suppress the circulating current and prevent the dc-link overvoltage, an isolation transformer can be used as a passive control measure, as shown in Fig. 3(a) [3 5], but then the size of the transformer for high power application could be a problem. Some active methods, such as zero-sequence current control loop, coordinate control, and space vector modulation control are also described in [6 8] respectively. A simple protective control algorithm, as shown in Fig. 3(b), has also been proposed in [9] where the regeneration protection concept based on the rising dc-link voltage is considered. If V dc is greater than V dcref, the converter stops delivering power from the battery/dc side. Here a proportional controller detects the error signal of the dc-link voltage. Fig. 2. Circulating current flow between the parallel inverters.

4 G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx 3 Fig. 4. Inverter connected to the grid. (i) central limit control (CLC); (ii) master slave control (MSC); (iii) average current sharing (ACS)/distributed logical control (DLC); (iv) circular chain control (3C). Fig. 3. (a) passive control using isolation transformer; (b) Regenerative control structure to avoid dc-link overvoltage/to prevent circulating current. 3. Control strategies in parallel operation of inverters In distributed generation (DG) systems, either connected to or off the grid, there may be more than one inverter acting in parallel. Therefore, distributed uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems as well as the parallel operation of voltage source inverters with other inverters or with the grid, are sensitive to disturbances from the load or other sources and can easily be damaged by overcurrent. Hence, careful attention should be given to system design and the control of parallel operation of inverters. Several control methods are proposed and discussed in [3,10 22]. When two or more inverters operate in parallel, the following features must be achieved: (1) amplitude, frequency and phase synchronization among the output voltages of inverters, (2) proper current distribution according to the capacities, (3) flexibility and (4) hot-swap feature at any time [14]. Some of the outcomes of recent research on parallel operation of inverters are given below. The conventional control strategies for the parallel-connected inverters can be classified into two types; active load sharing/current distribution and droop control Active load sharing/current distribution The objective of the active current distribution control is to generate a reference current for each parallel-connected inverter and this can be subdivided into; In CLC mode, all the modules should have the same configuration and each module tracks the average current to achieve an equal current distribution [14]. Perfect and equal current distribution can be achieved by using DSP-based control for the voltage and current controller and by tracking the averaged inductor current of the inverters. Thus the system stability and robustness can be improved [15]. In the MSC method, one inverter is specified as the master, and all others are as the slaves. The master inverter supplies a reference current to the slave inverters. Thus the master module is responsible for the output voltage regulation [16]. In such a system, if the master module fails, the system will shut down. This is a major drawback. This can be partially overcome by introducing a separate current-controlled PWM inverter unit to generate the distributing current independent for the slave inverters. Hence, precise current division between the inverters are very important. This strategy is easy to implement in the parallel operation of UPS [11]. In other cases, another module can take the role of master in the event of a main master unit failure. The control scheme can be of dedicated, rotary or high-crest current type [17]. In the MSC and CLC methods, the output currents of all parallel-connected inverters must be collected, and the number of parallel-connected inverters must be pre-known. If one of the parallel-connected inverters fails, the parallel-connected system will fail. This problem can be overcome by the DLC mode where redundancy is also achievable. In the ACS/DLC mode, an individual control circuit is used for each inverter. The current control mode is used to control its output current and to trace the same average reference current. When a defect is found in any module, others can still operate in parallel [18 20]. It can also be used as a power-sharing technique where each inverter controls the active and reactive power flow in order to match the average active power of the system [21]. In the 3C mode, the successive module tracks the current of the previous module to achieve an equal current distribution, and the

5 ARTICLE IN PRESS G Model 4 S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx Fig. 5. Static droop characteristics P w and Q E. Table 1 Output impedance impact over power flow controllability [26]. Output impedance (Z) Z = jx (inductive: = 90 ) Z = R (resistive: = 0 Active power (P) P = EV X sin = EV X P = EV cos V 2 R = V R (E V) Reactive power (Q) Q = EV cos V 2 = V X (E V) Q = EV R sin = EV R X Frequency droop (ω) ω = ω* mp ω = ω* + mq Amplitude droop (E) E = E* nq E = E* np m ω/p nom ω/2q nom n E/2Q nom E/P nom first module tracks the last one to form a circular chain connection. The output voltage and current of each inverter can also be varied and internally controlled to achieve a fast dynamic response [13]. A coordinated control strategy for different load sharing controls can be implemented to eliminate the circulating currents due to unbalance of parallel inverters [22]. This technique is then improved for non-linear load where harmonic components can be shared properly [24]. The impact of line impedance on reactive power sharing in the conventional frequency/voltage droop concept is further enhanced in [25] to make the controller ideally suited for distributed ac power supply systems Droop control The droop control method for the parallel-connected inverters can avoid the communication mismatch of reference current. It is also defined as wireless control (WC) with no interconnection between the inverters. In this case, the inverters are controlled in such a way that the amplitude and frequency of the reference voltage signal will follow a droop as the load current increases and these droops are used to allow independent inverters to share the load in proportion to their capacities [23] Outcomes A detailed review and performance comparison of these control strategies has been presented in [26] which shows that within active load sharing control schemes, current-sharing control is good for output voltage regulation and harmonic current control. However it requires high speed communications. Active power sharing requires low bandwidth communication for active and reactive power sharing, but the harmonic power sharing is poor and therefore sharing non-linear loads with a high crest factor is a Fig. 6. A simple block diagram of P/Q droop controller.

6 G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx 5 Fig. 7. PD and PID based conventional droop control to improve the transient performance. Fig. 8. Adaptive Virtual Impedance controller in droop control scheme. problem. Active synchronization is also a major problem for both the schemes. Within the active load sharing scheme, the centralized and the master slave controller need a main inverter module to be set as the central control unit and this would lower the system reliability. Modularity and redundancy are very low for both of the controllers. The average current sharing/distributed logic controller, for which there is no central controller and thus has higher modularity, requires a current sharing control loop to manage the transient and stability problems. The circular current control strate- gies require more communication between each of the inverters as well as a circular path for current distribution. This is suitable when forming an ac power ring. In general, while the active current distribution control method is perfect for well balanced current distribution, the intercommunication process of the generated reference current of parallel-connected inverters can be subject to interference, and thus the system reliability will be degraded. In addition, the communication of the reference current among the parallel-connected inverters is difficult in some applications such as a distributed generation system. On the other hand, droop control or the wireless control with no interconnection of lines could be more useful for either active load sharing or for a distributed generation network connected to the grid or off-grid. Some improvement in control has also been achieved to overcome its limitations such as poor transient response. Hot-swap operation is another benefit of using the droop control method. Low sensitivity to line impedance unbalances and harmonic power sharing capability are the other advantages of a droop controller. 4. Working principle of droop control method Fig. 9. Power sharing through droop control method. The idea of the droop control method in the parallel operation of an inverter or APF is to control the system without interconnection between each other. Inverters can be placed in different locations within the microgrid or the DG system. In that case, the droop control method is very effective for inverters where active and reactive power flow predominantly depends on power angle/frequency and the output voltage amplitude of the inverters. Here, inverters are generally operated in the voltage-mode control and the phase and

7 ARTICLE IN PRESS G Model 6 S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx Fig. 10. (a) Centre Mode Control Technique; (b) Reference Current Generation technique for Frequency Splitting Control. amplitude of the output voltage of the inverters are the control parameters. The controller is defined in such a way that the amplitude and frequency of the reference voltage signal follow a droop as the load current increases. An inverter connected to the common bus through a decoupling impedance is shown in Fig. 4. Usually the inverter output impedance is highly inductive, and hence the active and reactive powers drawn to the bus can be expressed from Eqs. (1) and (2) as [1]; P = EV X sin (3) Q = EV cos V 2 (4) X where X is the output reactance of an inverter, is the phase angle between the output voltage of the inverter and the voltage of the common bus, E and V are the amplitude of the output voltage of the inverter and the grid/load voltage, respectively. From the above equations, it is found that the active power is predominately dependent on the power angle, while the reactive power mostly depends on the output voltage amplitude E. Consequently, parallel operation of inverters in wireless-control mode uses the conventional droop method, which introduces the following droops in the amplitude E and the angular frequency ω of the inverter output voltage [23]; ω = ω m(p 0i P i ) (5) E = E n(q 0i Q i ) (6) ω * and E * are the output voltage angular frequency and amplitude at no load, and m and n are the droop coefficients for the frequency and amplitude, respectively. P 0i, P i and Q 0i, Q i represent the power rating and actual power output for active and reactive power, respectively. If droop coefficients are increased, then good power sharing is achieved at the expense of degrading the voltage regulation, which can be acceptable if the frequency and amplitude deviations ( ω and E), as shown in Fig. 5, are typically 2% and 5%, respectively [27]. The droop control law is determined by the output impedance angle, as shown in Table 1. Fig. 5 also shows the droop control functions depending on the output impedance. Here m and n, the

13 ARTICLE IN PRESS G Model 12 S.K. Khadem et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews xxx (2011) xxx xxx Fig. 17. Block diagram of cooperative control. where G F is the control gain/conductance of the active filter. An automatic gain adjustment was also proposed in [56] to damp out harmonic propagation without considering the circuit parameters of the distribution feeder. The purpose of cooperative control is to reduce the values of voltage THD over balancing the compensating currents. At first, the THD controller is set to be lower than a specified value to reduce the THD at the installation bus of one active filter. Then the current controller generates equal compensating currents for the APFs. Thus the cooperative controller makes a significant contribution to reduce the required current rating of each active filter. Fig. 17 shows a block diagram of cooperative control to reduce the voltage THD Droop control for APF Fig. 18. Droop characteristics between G Q. among the APF units are required to coordinate the operations, which is overcome by introducing droop control method [58,59] THD based cooperative control The study in [55] shows that installation of an active or passive filter on a long-distance power distribution feeder may result in a whack-a-mole effect which is the magnification of voltage harmonics on the other buses where no filter is connected. This voltage harmonic distortion can be damped by introducing an active filter at the end of radial feeder [56,57]. The active filter detects voltage harmonics, V h at the point of installation, and then injects a compensating current, I F as follows: I F = G F V h (10) As has already been mentioned, droop characteristics relate the output phase angle of inverter with active power and the output phase voltage with reactive power flow. The function of APF is to compensate harmonic load current. The APF can also be used to control voltage harmonics at the point of installation. Therefore, the droop control can be implemented for both purposes of APF. The basics of these controls are briefly described below Voltage harmonics control Using a high pass filter (HPF), V h can be extracted from the supply voltage, shown in Fig. 16(b), and then I Fref is generated. Final voltage command, V F is calculated as [58], Eq. (11) and the PWM then generates the corresponding gating signals. V F = L F T (I Fref I F ) + V s (11) where L F is the interfacing inductor and T is the sampling period of the controller. A droop relationship between the G F and the VA consumption, Q F of the APF can be derived as; G F = G 0 + n F (Q F Q F0 ) (12) where G 0 is the rated conductance, n F is the slope of the droop equation and Q F0 is the rated capacity of the APF. The value of n F is determined by the VA rating of the APF to ensure the sharing of filtering workload in proportion with the capacity of the each APF. The droop relation between the G and Q is also depicted in Fig Current harmonics control To work as a harmonic current compensator, the APF current should deal with the node voltage, V L or voltage at the point of Fig. 19. Distributed APFs System.

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