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Manoel Afonso de Carvalho Jr. Luiz Antnio Magnata da Fonte
Recife, Brasil Recife, Brasil

Abstract -- The paper discusses the increase of long
EHV transmission line capacity obtained by the use of
naturally saturated reactors instead of linear reactors for
line reactive compensation. In order to justify this
proposition, EMTP-ATP simulation results for a specific
application of naturally saturated reactors at CHESFs
500 kV power grid are shown. Besides, the paper also
emphasizes the harmonic performance of the naturally
saturated reactors and shows that the voltage distortions
produced by them in all system buses are within the
prescribed IEEE standard 519 limits.

Keywords -- Harmonic distortion, linear reactor, line
capacity, reactive compensation, saturated reactor, voltage


Poor voltage regulation is one of the most common
aspects of large EHV transmission systems. To
overcome this problem, power utility companies usually
have linear reactors installed at the terminal buses of
some transmission lines. The major disadvantage of
using linear reactors to keep voltages within limits
during load rejection is that they must be operating all
the time, independently of the loading level of the
transmission line. In other words, linear reactors act as
permanent consumers of reactive power.
In the case of the Brazilian system, this behavior of
the linear reactors is critical to efforts being made by the
power utilities to increase the power transfer capacity of
the transmission system. The increases in the capacity
are reduced due to the presence of shunt compensation
reactors. An efficient and cheap way to overcome this
problem is to use naturally saturated reactors, instead of
linear ones, for shunt reactive compensation of the
transmission lines.
Figure 1 shows the voltage versus current
characteristic of a naturally saturated reactor and reveals
the attractive features for this equipment :
At low voltages, that is, at full load operating
conditions of the system, the reactor operates
close to the point (V

), drawing only a
minimum amount of power from the system
- less than 10% of its nominal value.
As the systems load decreases, the voltage
becomes higher and the operating point
moves to (V
), increasing the demand for
power to the level of desired compensation.
Such a behavior, besides providing a smooth control
of the voltage, frees up the transmission lines to feed
new loads.


The naturally saturated reactor for the voltage
control of power systems was developed by Erich
Friedlander in the 1960s [1]. From then on, many
reactors, in sizes up to 120 MVA, were built by General
Electric Company (GEC) to industries and utilities in
several parts of the world, such as Brazil, England, the
United States and Australia [2]. In the beginning, the
naturally saturated reactors were designed to control
system voltage fluctuations produced by special loads as
arc furnaces, rolling mills, or large particle accelerators.
Later, with the progress of design procedures, the
saturated reactor was able to provide reactive
compensation on power system.
Three types of naturally saturated reactors were
marketed by GEC ;
The Twin-tripler Reactor, a six core reactor used
to power system voltage control and generally
associated with external filters,
The Quinn Reactor, a five core reactor designed
to flicker suppression,
The Treble-tripler Reactor, a more advanced
model, having nine cores in its main structure
and a three core auxiliary reactor for harmonic
The last class of reactor, the Treble-tripler Reactor,
was the type selected to substitute the linear reactors at
the CHESFs 500 kV power grid due to its superior
harmonic performance. Figure 2 displays the main
characteristics of this reactor the arrangement of the
windings and the their connections.
Figure 1: Voltagecurrent characteristic of a saturated
14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 1



CHESF, Companhia Hidroeltrica do So Francisco,
is the power utility company responsible for electrical
energy generation and transmission in Brazilian
Northeast. In a general way, the geographical
localization of CHESFs consumers requires long
distance transmission lines, which are generators of
high reactive power owing to their shunt capacitances.
To prevent overvoltages under light and sudden loss of
load, this reactive power must be compensated.
Normally, the CHESF engineering options to do this is
the application of linear shunt reactors at the line
Figure 3 shows exactly this situation for a new 500
kV link planned for improving the energy supply to
important cities of the region. The length of such a link
from Teresina to Milagres reaches 947 km and transient
studies has recommended installation of 1,350 MVAr
shunt reactors for line compensation. The preliminary
decision of CHESFs planners is to distribute 9 (nine)
linear shunt reactors to support this reactive demand, as
shown in Figure 3.

In addition, the CHESF engineers also intend to use
new methods to increase the natural capacity of these
transmission lines, particularly, the expanded bundle
technique. The described scenary is the perfect
opportunity to test the efficiency of the naturally
saturated reactor as a line reactive compensator.


For comparative studies, the linear shunt reactors in
the transmission lines in Figure 3 were replaced by
naturally saturated reactors according to Table 1.

Table 1 : Reactors interchange

The naturally saturated reactor, named Type 1 in this
table, has the following specification ;
Starting saturation voltage = 475 kV
Slope of the voltage x current curve = 15 %
Power demanded at 546 kV = 200 MVAr
Types 2 and 3 saturated reactors in Table 1 have a
similar slope and saturation voltage as in Type 1 ; but,
they demand, at 546 kV, 150 and 110 MVAr
Figure 3 : A new 500 kV CHESF link
14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 2

For a comparison between the total power required
for the two kinds of line compensation, a common base
voltage must be selected, since each type of reactor has
its own operational characteristic, as Figure 4 shows. At
500 kV, for example, the compensation by linear
reactors will demand 1,350 MVAr, while the other,
using saturated reactor, will request 935 MVAr.
Otherwise, at 546 kV, these values will increase to
1,475 MVAr and 1,440 MVAr respectively. So, for any
situation, the saturated reactors will claim less power as
the linear reactors.

Figure 4 : Reactors operational characteristic


5.1 General System Elements
The network elements were simulated in three phase
mode, using for each one the widely known models of
the EMTP-ATP library :
L-R-C distributed parameter model for
transmission lines,
R-L-C lumped parameter model for linear
reactors and loads.
Saturable transformer component for power
Sinusoidal sources for synchronous machines
and compensators

5.2 Saturated Reactors
Historically, the first published model of naturally
saturated reactors was formulated by Y. George and
others at Atelier de Construction Eletromechanique de
Chaleroi (ACEC) in Belgium, in 1978 [3]. In their
research, the authors carefully investigated the magnetic
fields in the reactor cores using a small scale model and
calculation program based on the difference finite
technique. Although this was an important contribution,
this research created an unusual equivalent circuit for
the reactor, but only applied to the six-core structure
and was unsatisfactory for EMTP-ATP patterns.
Later, in 1983, M. A. de Carvalho Jr. [4] showed
that each reactors core could be treated independently
as a multiple winding transformer. So, the typical
transformer T circuit could be used to represent it
with a short modification. The magnetizing reactance
would be determined, not by the normal magnetization
curve of the core material, but for the intrinsic
magnetization curve. A similar requirement was also set
by the ACEC researches concerning his model.
The EMTP-ATP model used for representing the
Treble-tripler Reactor was defined by D. O. Campons
do Brasil, [5]. This author assigned the Saturable
Transformer Component, shown in Figure 5, as the
most suitable alternative offered by the EMTP-ATP
library for the core simulation. The complete reactor
model could be obtained by the appropriated electrical
connections between the several core models.

Figure 5 : Saturated reactor model

Otherwise, the model parameters, although similar
to the power transformer model data, are not easy to
obtain. In the first place, the amount and variety of
reactors in service around the world is less than the
power transformers in operation. So, quite different
from these, the data collection relating to naturally
saturated reactors is not sufficient to support the
respective mathematical model.
Also, each naturally saturated reactor is designed to
content an outlined specification and, therefore, is
suitable to one particular application. The nominal
power, the characteristic slope and the saturation
voltage of the reactor are chosen to meet exactly the
definite requirements. Because of this, the parameters
of a particular reactor cannot be used in the
representation of another reactor, prescribed for a
different application.
To overcome this trouble, a design routine, able to
make a precise estimation of reactors parameters, was
developed at the Laboratrio Digital de Sistemas de
Potncia (LDSP), Departamento de Engenharia Eltrica
e Sistema de Potncia (DEESP) at UFPE. A procedure
to do this was created by L. A. Magnata da Fonte [6]
and is now available as a computer program. To run
this program, the input data are the reactor
specifications, which are :
Starting saturation voltage,
Slope of the voltagecurrent characteristic,
Nominal power required.
So, taking a preliminary project for the reactor as a start,
the program performs a fitting process until it fulfills the
specification. After this, the reactor parameters are
available to the user.

14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 3


6.1 Simulations
The steady state simulations started with the
CHESF network operating at minimum load, this is,
with the reactors at full load and bus voltage at its
higher value. Then, gradually, the system loading has
been raised in the same proportion for all customers. For
each new loading, the buses voltage in the system of
the Figure 3 was measured and compared with a
minimum value arbitrarily chosen in 0.90 pu. When this
limit was reached for any one of the buses, the
simulation was ended and the bus voltages were plotted
in Figure 6 for the two kinds of transmission lines
compensation ; by linear reactors and by saturated

6.2 Maximum Loading
According to the Figure 6, in the network
compensated by linear reactors, a load of 1.6 times the
value specified for the minimum load will be already
enough to produce a reduction by more than 10% in the
rating voltage at Fortaleza bus. On the other hand, with
the replacement of these reactors by saturated reactors,
identical condition only will be reached to a load of at
least 3.0 times the base value.
As expected, the same system will be able to supply
three times the foreseen power just with the linear
reactors replacement by saturated reactors in identical
sites and almost of the same sizes. No additional
investment will be more necessary, as that one to raise
the natural power of the transmission lines

6.3 Harmonic Distortion
The newer version of the IEEE Standard 519 [7]
sets the following limits for the voltage distortion on
systems of voltage above 161 kV :
Total voltage distortion (THD) 1.5 %
Individual harmonic voltage distortion 1.0 %
The highest values for THD of each one of the
system buses calculated by EMTP-ATP Fourier series
computation are listed in Table 2 for the two kinds of
transmission lines compensation. These values were
verified as the system operated at light load and the
reactors at peak load. Figure 7 shows the THD behavior
at the Quixadas bus as the system gets load.
Table 2 : THD (%) of the system buses

Figure 7 : THD at the Quixad bus

14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 4

As it is observed, the voltage total distortion
harmonic produced by saturated reactors is, at least,
18% lower than that prescribed IEEE Standard 519
Regarding to the individual harmonics, Table 3
shows the magnitude of the harmonics in percentage of
the fundamental frequency voltage for Quixadas bus,
when saturated reactors are used for transmission lines
compensation and the THD reach the maximum value.
Again, the prescribed IEEE Standard 519 limit was met
at this bus, like at all system buses. Figure 8 shows the
IHD behavior of the Quixadas bus as the system gets

Figure 8 : IHD at the Quixad bus

These results are based in a constant parameter
model for the transmission lines and, as it is known,
such model introduces imprecision in the harmonic
analysis. According to A. B. Fernandes and F. M. C.
Ferreira [8], the intensity of the larger order harmonic
components and the total voltage distortion (THD) will
be raised with the use of this model . This means that
the calculated values are conservatives, what counts
favorably more to the proposed option for the
transmission lines compensation by saturated reactors.

Concerning the transient performance, authors
recent studies [9] tell that saturated reactors show a
similar transitory behavior to that of the linear reactors,
except in the single phase reclosing. According to these
results, when the system is compensated by linear
reactors, the single phase reclosing of the Teresina-
Sobral line during the light loading will produce
unacceptable overvoltage in the open phase, as
displayed in Figure 9. Only by the use of special
measure, as a neutral reactor, the overvoltage will be
reduced to admissible values.
Otherwise, when the system is compensated by
saturated reactors, the voltage in single phase reclosing
will be totally controlled by the reactors, as Figure 9
shows. This occurs due to the coupling between phases
which warrants a full operation of the reactors for the
system voltage regulation. So, the voltage remains
inside acceptable limits and no additional measures to
reduce the overvoltage will be necessary.

Figure 9 : Transient voltage during single phase opening


The results of the steady state studies in the 500 kV
CHESF link justify adequately the demand for
utilization of naturally saturated reactors as the best
choice for line compensation to replace ordinary linear
reactors. The main advantages appointed in this article
to the saturated reactors :
Increasing capacity of the transmission lines
Control of the transient voltage during system
In an initial estimate, the transmission lines capacity
elevation would reach the same power of the removed
linear reactors. However, as these benefits will be
extended for all interconnected system, a value superior
to this must be obtained. For a exact evaluation of the
capacity incoming, the studies must include the real
behavior of the load, the use of the transformer tap
changers and other available resources. As an
illustration, the Figure 10 shows the active and reactive
powers maximum values through the transmission lines
Table 3 : Individual harmonic voltage distortion at
Quixadas bus
14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 5

for each compensation scheme and for the present
fictitious analysis conditions.
Such advantages are really admirable and will provide a
large economy in investment costs. This happens
because the saturated reactor price will never overcome
the linear reactor value. All projects developed at LDSP
show that the diameter and height of the saturated
reactor cores reach roughly a half of the value of the
cores linear reactors cores with the same rated power.
So, both of them will expend approximately the same
amount of iron, copper and isolating materials.
Another advantage in using naturally saturated
reactors is its inherent ability to withstand considerable
temporary overload without notable modification in its
regulation characteristic. That highly desirable
performance is due to the operation in the saturated
region of the magnetic material, which naturally does
not happen with the linear one.
The habitual drawbacks attributed to naturally
saturated reactors are, as a matter of fact, a result of
preconceptions observed by system analysts. High
harmonic generation is one of these unsubstantiated
ideas regarding these devices. The present simulations
confirm that saturated reactor harmonic levels can be
designed to satisfy any industrial and power
High core loss is also another criticism normally
applied to naturally saturated reactors without consistent
proof. Studies performed in Russia during the last
decade, [10], showed a core loss similar to that usually
recorded to power transformer. These results were also
found in the recent studies at the UFPE Digital


[1] E. Friedlander, Static network stabilization ; recent
progress in reactive power control, GEC Journal,
vol.33, no.2 , pp58-65, 1966
[2]Contracts for static compensators, GEC Installation
List no.1491-31
[3] Y. George, A. Labart, G. Sironi and J. Van Hulse,
Analytical and numerical modelling of saturable
reactors, ACEC Review, no. 1-2, pp.27-44, 1978
[4] M. A. de Carvalho Jnior, Steady state
representation of reactive compensating in HVDC
converter station, Ph.D. Thesis, UMIST, Sept. 1983
[5] D. O. C. do Brasil, Aplicao de reatores saturados
em sistemas de transmisso, Ms.C. Thesis, UFPE,
May 1996
[6] L. A. M. da Fonte, Reator saturado ; alguns
aspectos operacionais e de projeto, MsC. Thesis,
UFPE, December 1997.
[7] IEEE recommended practices and requirements for
harmonic control in electric power system, IEEE
Standard 519-1992,May 1996
[8] A. B. Fernandes and F. M. C. Ferreira, Linhas de
transmisso com reatores saturados : Anlise de
harmnicos, in Anais do XIII Congresso Brasileiro
de Automtica 2000, pp.2048-2053
[9] M. A. de Carvalho Jr., and L. A. M. da Fonte,
Steady state and transient voltage control on long
EHV transmission lines , 2001 IEEE / PES T&D
Conference and Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia
[10] M. N. Vladislaviev, A. T. Pool, Yu. Yu. Tellinen
and Ya. Ya. Yarvik, Technical economic indices of
a 3300 kVA, 10 kV saturated reactor, Soviet
Electrical Engineering, vol.62, no.2, pp.64-67, 1991
Figure 10 : Active and reactive power flow at maximum load
14th PSCC, Sevilla, 24-28 June 2002 Session 35, Paper 4, Page 6