What isharmonic distortion

Harmonic distortion is a common issue that occurs due to frequency changes in electrical distribution networks. Specifically, it refers to deviations from the typical sinusoidal voltage or current fluctuations, which are caused by nonlinear loads such as power electronic converters including Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) installed for fans and pumps in air conditioning systems of buildings.

When these converters draw non-sinusoidal current or voltage, they result in nonlinear loads that can create harmonic distortions in the electrical distribution systems. THD, or Total Harmonic Distortion, is used to measure the amount of harmonic distortion in the system and it is recommended to be less than 5%. Many industrial and commercial loads such as power converters, fluorescent lamps, computers, light dimmers, and Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) used in conjunction with industrial pumps, fans, compressors, and air conditioners have made harmonic distortion a common issue in power systems.

In some cases, large industrial inverters and variable speed drives can create significant distortion at the point of common coupling (PCC) where other loads are connected to the grid, which can cause power quality problems, affect equipment performance, and increase energy consumption costs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What causes harmonic distortion?

Harmonic distortion is mainly caused by nonlinear loads such as power electronic converters, including Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) installed for fans and pumps in air conditioning systems of buildings. They draw non-sinusoidal current or voltage resulting in nonlinear loads that create harmonic distortions in the electrical distribution systems.

What is THD?

THD stands for Total Harmonic Distortion and is used to measure the amount of harmonic distortion in the system, which should be less than 5%. It refers to the disturbance in an AC signal caused by frequency multiples of the sine wave.

How can harmonic distortion affect power quality?

Harmonic distortion can cause power quality problems and affect equipment performance by increasing energy consumption costs. In some cases, large industrial inverters and variable speed drives can create significant distortion at the point of common coupling (PCC) where other loads are connected to the grid.

Final Thoughts

Harmonic distortion is a common issue that can cause power quality problems and affect equipment performance. It is important to monitor and control harmonic distortion in electrical distribution systems, especially in commercial and industrial settings where the use of power converters, fluorescent lamps, computers, light dimmers, and Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) is prevalent.

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