An evaluation of HTV-SR insulators with different creepage lengths under AC and bipolar DC in marine polluted service conditions

Elombo, Andreas Iyambo (2012-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) applications has gained enormous popularity for long distance power transmission. This is due to the lucrative benefits offered by this type of power transmission technology when compared to the traditional high voltage alternative current (HVAC). This new shift in the paradigm of power system design has led to the increased interest in the research that focuses on issues relating to the reliability of power supply associated with HVDC. Amongst such issues, insulation coordination has increasingly become a challenging task that continues to receive renewed research focus. It has been convincingly demonstrated, both from field experience and laboratory research, that insulator contamination constitutes a multifaceted phenomenon, especially when transmission voltages ramp up into high operating voltage levels. More so, this is particularly interesting with reference to the increasing applications of high voltage direct current (HVDC). The recently commissioned HVDC power-line in Namibia is one of the major motivations upon which NamPower (Namibia‟s national power utility) has committed financial resources to research on insulator pollution performance. This project was a part of NamPower‟s research initiative – seeking to investigate the phenomena associated with insulator pollution performance under natural pollution environments when energized under both AC and DC excitation voltage types. The significance of this research is especially crucial for HVDC applications given the paucity of research conducted on the DC performance of insulators, under natural pollution environments. This study was conducted at the Koeberg Insulator Pollution Test Station (KIPTS) on the west coast of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. KIPTS is an internationally recognized insulator pollution test facility, which is widely used by both insulator manufacturers and academic researchers from many parts of the world. STRI and ABB, both Swedish-based companies, are good examples of international subscribers to the KIPTS research facility. The first objective of this research was to design a suitable DC excitation voltage system for both DC+ and DC- to be used at KIPTS. This apparatus was designed and built at the University of Stellenbosch. The second objective was to conduct a comparative evaluation of the performance of high temperature vulcanized silicone rubber (HTV-SR) power line insulators under AC, DC+ and DC- when subjected to natural pollution conditions at KIPTS. All test insulators were made from the same material and sourced from the same manufacturer – having different creepage lengths. Five different creepage lengths were considered for each excitation voltage – summing up to fifteen HTV-SR test samples. A standard DC glass disc insulator was also installed on each excitation voltage as a control sample. It was therefore envisaged that this study would give rise to new research questions, leading to future explorations on the subject. With reference to weather monitoring and leakage current measurements (using an online leakage current monitoring device - OLCA), a correlation was found to exist between the variations in climatic conditions and the corresponding occurrence of leakage current on the insulator surfaces. High leakage current levels were recorded in summer due to the high pollution levels that were measured in that season (using the equivalent salt deposit density (ESDD) approach). Winter, in contrast, had lower levels of leakage current recorded. This corresponds to a high prevalence of rainfall in winter, which caused occasional natural washing of the insulator surfaces. The leakage current levels for the HTV-SR insulators were of a similar order of magnitude for AC and DC+ and lower for DC-. The harshest pollutants (with high conductivities, as measured with the directional dust deposit gauges (DDDG)) were found to have emanated largely from the south. As a result, most instances of erosion were observed in the southward direction on the test insulators. The electrical discharge activity observations, conducted at night, had revealed that dryband corona (DBC) and dryband discharge (DBD) prominently occurred on the terminating sheaths (both live and ground ends) and bottom side of HTV-SR and glass disc insulators, respectively. This justifies the dominance of erosion that was observed on the terminating sheaths and bottom side of HTV-SR and glass disc insulators, respectively. Flashover events were recorded on the shortest HTV-SR insulator installed on DC+ and the glass disc insulator installed on DC-. All flashover events occurred in summer (the harshest season at KIPTS). Two interesting observations, albeit unexplained, were observed: star-shaped erosion on the shed bottoms of the HTV-SR insulators installed on DC+ and material peel-off at the shed-to-sheath bonding interface of the HTV-SR insulators installed on DC-. These observations therefore require further investigation in order to establish possible explanations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebruik van hoë gelykspanning (HSGS) het baie gewild geword vir kragtransmissie oor lang afstande. Dit is as gevolg van die uitstekende voordele wat hierdie tipe tegnologie teenoor die tradisionele hoë wisselspanning (HSWS) bied. Hierdie paradigmaskuif in die ontwerp van kragstelsels het tot verhoogde belangstelling in navorsing gelei wat betrekking het op aspekte wat verband hou met die betroubaarheid van kragvoorsiening deur HSGS. Van hierdie aspekte word isolasiekoördinasie toenemend ʼn uitdagende taak en navorsing word tans daarop toegespits. Daar bestaan oortuigende bewyse, gebaseer op laboratorium- en veldtoetse dat isolatorbesoedeling ʼn verskynsel met vele fasette is, veral wanneer hoër spannings gebruik word. Dit is in „n meerdere mate van belang met verwysing na toepassings van HSGS. Die onlangs inbedryfgestelde HSGS kraglyn in Namibië is een van die hoofmotiverings vir die verskaffing van geldelike steun deur NamPower (Namibië se nasionale kragvoorsiener) vir navorsing oor die besoedelingsprestasie van isolators. Hierdie projek is deel van NamPower se navorsingsinisiatief om verskynsels betreffende die besoedelingsprestasie van isolators in natuurlik-besoedelde omgewings te ondersoek, onder WS en GS-bekragtiging. Die betekenis van hierdie navorsing is veral belangrik vir die HSGS-toepassings in die lig van die skaarsheid van navorsing oor die GS-prestasie van isolators in natuurlik-besoedelde omgewings. Hierdie studie is gedoen by die Koeberg isolatorbesoedelingstoetsstasie (KIPTS) aan die weskus van die Wes-Kaap. KIPTS is 'n internasionaal-erkende toetsfasiliteit en word algemeen gebruik deur beide isolatorvervaardigers en akademiese navorsers uit baie dele van die wêreld. STRI en ABB, albei Sweeds-gebaseerde maatskappye, is die goeie voorbeelde van die internasionale gebruikers van die KIPTS navorsingsfasiliteit. Die oogmerk van hierdie navorsing was om eerstens 'n geskikte GS-kragbron vir beide die GS+ en die GS- vir gebruik by KIPTS te ontwerp. Hierdie apparaat is ontwerp en gebou deur die Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Tweedens is 'n vergelykende evaluering van die prestasie hoë temperatuur gevulkaniseerde silikoon (HTV-SR) kraglynisolators onder WS, GS+ en GS– onder natuurlike besoedeling by die KIPTS uitgevoer. Alle toetsisolators is van dieselfde materiaal gemaak en is afkomstig van dieselfde vervaardiger, maar het verskillende kruipafstande. Vyf verskillende kruipafstande is gebruik vir elke tipe spanning  'n totaal van vyftien HTV-SR toets monsters. 'n Standaard GS glasisolatorskyf is ook vir elke spanning as' n kontrolemonster geïnstalleer. Dit kan dus verwag word dat hierdie studie aanleiding sal gee tot nuwe navorsingsvrae, wat kan lei tot verdere toekomstige ondersoeke oor die onderwerp. Met verwysing na die monitering van die weer en die lekstroommetings (met behulp van 'n aanlyn-lekstroommoniteringstoestel - OLCA), is 'n korrelasie gevind tussen die variasie in klimaatstoestande en die ooreenstemmende voorkoms van lekstroom op die isolator- oppervlaktes. Hoë lekstroomvlakke is waargeneem in die somer, as gevolg van die hoë besoedelingsvlakke wat in daardie seisoen gemeet is (met behulp van die ekwivalente soutneerslag-digtheid (ESDD) metode). In die winter, in teenstelling, is die laagste vlakke van lekstroom aangeteken. Dit stem ooreen met 'n hoë voorkoms van reënval in die winter, wat die isolatoroppervlaktes van tyd tot tyd natuurlik gewas het. Die lekstroomvlakke op die HTV-SR isolators was van soortgelyke ordegrootte vir WS en GS+ maar laer vir GS-. Dit is bevind dat die ergste besoedelingstowwe, met 'n hoë geleiding, soos gemeet met die rigtingsensitiewe stofneerslagsmeters (DDDG), hoofsaaklik uit ʼn suidelike rigting kom. As gevolg hiervan, is die meeste gevalle van erosie aan die suidekant van die toetsisolators waargeneem. Die waarneming van elektriese ontladingsaktiwiteit in die nag, het aan die lig gebring dat droëbandkorona (DBC) en droëbandontladings (DBD) prominent voorgekom het op die skedes aan die uiteindes (beide lewende en grond kante) en onderste kant van HTV-SR en glasskywe, onderskeidelik. Oorvonkings is waargeneem op die kortste HTV-SR isolator op GS+ en op die glasisolator op GS-. Al die oorvonkings het in die somer (die ergste seisoen by KIPTS) voorgekom. Twee interessante, dog onverklaarbare, verskynsels is waargeneem: stervormige erosie aan die onderkante van die skerms van die HTV-SR isolators op GS+ en material-afskilfering by die skerm-skede tussenvlak van die HTV-SR isolators op GS-. Hierdie verskynsels vereis verdere ondersoek ten einde moontlike verklarings vas te stel.

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