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EMF Mitigation in the Vicinity of a Overhead Power


C. Vilachá, Antonio F. Otero, J. C. Moreira and E. Míguez

Departamento de Enxeñería Eléctrica
Escola de Enxeñería Industrial, Universidade de Vigo
Galicia, Spain

Abstract—Recently the interest in a possible relation between accuracy, a more detailed representation of the system must be
electromagnetic fields created by some electric facilities, such as used.
high voltage lines and substations, and health has been The methodology used in this work is based on modelling the
increasing. This has motivated many organizations to propose system as a frequency dependent electric circuit. Generally,
regulations to establish exposure values under electromagnetic
this circuit consists of resistive, inductive and capacitive
fields. This implies the need to evaluate or measure the value of
these fields. A way to accomplish this evaluation is by means of elements, which are calculated by using basic electromagnetic
software tools. These tools can be developed taking into account equations.
different degrees of simplifications, depending on precision The analysis of this circuit, by means of conventional
requirements. In some cases, the consideration of lines which techniques, permits to obtain currents and voltages in the
conductors are perfectly horizontal and infinite can produce conductors, and from them, the electric and magnetic fields at
unacceptable results. On the other hand, solving exact models, any point.
which use Maxwell’s Equation, are too complex and provide Other authors have worked on this topic using different
unnecessary accuracies. This work is focused on showing some algorithms and theorems such as [4], where authors used an
simulations of EMF generated by an overhead power line under
implementation of Poynting's theorem.
different conditions and the presence of different passive
conductor meshes is analyzed. In previous works [5], [6], authors used a similar technique to
study the behaviour of grounding systems with very
Keywords-component; fields, evaluation, parametric analysis, satisfactory results.
mitigation, passive mesh. The simulations were accomplished with a software
application (VCEM) developed by the authors; it is based on
the mentioned considerations. The figures were plotted with
Modern life is very dependent of electric energy. By its own II. SIMULATED SYSTEM
nature, this energy produces magnetic and electric fields in the
vicinity of the electric facilities. The first step in this work was to create the model of the target
It is well know the disturbances that electric and magnetic system. In this case the studied system consists of a 2 span
fields can produce on electrical equipment [1]. Recent studies section of an overhead power line, where three metallic
also suggest an interaction with biological process; from the towers, three phase conductors and two ground wires, were
point of view of human beings, this means a possible negative included in the model. The electrical towers have been
impact on people’s health [2], [3]. modeled according the dimensions and characteristics
As a result, EMFs are greatly studied and today engineers are indicated by the manufacturer (see Table 1). The distance
trying to minimize their presence by changing designs and between towers is 400 meters (span length).
including systems to mitigate them. These studies basically TABLE I. TOWER MAIN DIMENSIONS
requires evaluate the EMF values for a given facility and
configuration. Parameter Value [m]
This paper shows different EMF simulations to study the Total Height 34.5 m
mitigation effect of a passive mesh under an overhead power
Height to ground wires 34.5 m
Usually, EMFs generated by overhead power lines are Separation between ground wires 15 m
computed considering that line conductors are perfectly Height to active conductors 26.5 m
horizontal and infinite. With this assumption, the field value at
a given height does not change along the line and only Separation between active conductors 10 m
depends on the transversal distance. In order to achieve more Grounding rods depth 5.5 m

978-1-4577-1829-8/12/$26.00 ©2012 IEEE

Figure 1. Overhead power line model.

The phase (active) conductors are ACSR type with a cross-

section area of 636 mm2 (EN 50182:565-AL1/72-ST1A). The
ground wires are OPGW with a total diameter of 17 mm.
Both phase conductors and ground wires are considered
adopting the geometrical catenary shape under standard
mechanical strength conditions.
The analysis is performed under steady and perfectly balanced
state. Hence, the phase conductors are assumed to be carrying
currents of 1000 A and subjected to line-to-line voltages of
220 kV.
The methodology used in this work is based on the
segmentation of all the passive and active conductors in a
number of rectilinear elements whose capacitive, inductive
and resistive couplings are calculated and solved as a
Figure 2. Magnetic field at 1 meter over the ground.
conventional electric circuit.
In order to simplify the model some assumptions are
• Conductors are thin, i.e. conductor diameter is much
smaller than the conductor length.
• All conductors are assumed to be cylindrical, to
simplify equations.
In this case, the segmentation process resulted in an amount of
507 segments (with 488 nodes) to generate the whole model
shown in the Fig. 1.
Under the above-mentioned conditions, the electric and
magnetic field values in the middle of one of the spans at one
meter from the ground are shown in the Fig. 2 and Fig. 3.

Figure 3. Electric field at 1 meter over the ground.

This section describes an EMF mitigation analysis in the In this case, the simple rectangular loop was enhanced with a
above mentioned power line. A passive mesh is supposed number of added conductors disposed in both directions to
under the line in the middle of the span and its geometry, build a regular grid. Different number of added conductors
height and conductor electric resistance are changed to was simulated, having grids with different meshes sizes. The
perform a parametric analysis of the mitigation effect. obtained magnetic and electric fields along a transverse profile
under the mitigation grid and at one meter over the ground are
First, a reference case was defined, consisting of a simple shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7.
horizontal rectangular loop of dimensions 50 x 20 meters, As it was expected, the highest field values are obtained when
placed at a height of 10 meters over the ground and under the none mitigation system is used (“without”). The presence of
line. This loop is made of a conductor similar to the one used some type of mesh causes an appreciable reduction of the
in phase conductors. fields in the area located under the mesh. With only the simple
With this simple passive loop (reference case) an appreciable loop, reductions of approximately 20% are achieved. As we
reduction of electric and magnetic fields is obtained in the area increase the number of conductors to build grids with smaller
placed under the loop, as it is shown in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5. meshes (from 10x10 m. to 1x1 m.), field reductions up to 60%
Some parameters of this reference case were modified and its are obtained.
influence on the mitigation effect was analyzed. The results B. Height
are shown in the following subsections.
In this section the analyzed parameter is the height of the
mitigation grid. The grid with meshes of size 5x5 m. located at
different heights between the ground and the line was assumed

Figure 4. Magnetic field obtained in the reference case. Figure 6. Magnetic field obtained varing the geometry.

Figure 5. Electric field obtained in the reference case.

Figure 7. Electric field obtained varing the geometry.
Figure 8. Magnetic field obtained varing the height.
Figure 10. Magnetic field obtained varing the resistance of grid conductors.

The reference case is assumed to have conductors with a

resistance R, similar to the phase conductors as it was
previously indicated.
Fig. 10 shows the obtained magnetic field results where it can
be concluded that decreasing the resistance has an almost
insignificant benefit in the magnetic field mitigation respect
to the reference case, where a “standard” conductors is being
used. However if we increase the resistance of the mesh
conductors (taking smaller section conductors or less
conductivity materials) the mitigation effect is immediately
The electric field shows no variation in this case, because
induced potentials in the grid are practically independent on
the resistivity of the conductors.
Figure 9. Electric field obtained varing the height. IV. CONCLUSIONS
In this work, the authors have simulated the electric and
to perform this simulation. The results for the magnetic and magnetic fields in the vicinity of an overhead power line and
electric fields calculated along the above-mentioned transverse have performed a parametric analysis of a passive mitigation
profile, are shown in Fig. 8 and Fig. 9. grid placed under the line.
Taking into consideration that the field values are computed in By means of the simulations, we can conclude that the
points at 1 meter over the ground, in the case (“0.1 m”) where parameters most affecting the magnetic field mitigation are the
the mesh is placed under this calculation height, magnetic geometry (meshing degree) and the resistivity. A higher
field values are increased and undesired effects are obtained. meshing degree and a lower resistivity give better mitigation
As far as the electrical field is concerned, the mesh only results. The height has a little significance.
slightly distorts it but the minimum and maximum values are
Regarding the electric field, the best reductions are
the same. obtained increasing the meshing degree (reducing the mesh
In the rest of cases, where the mesh is placed over the size) and placing the mesh at a higher height. The resistivity, as
calculation height, both fields are reduced. This reduction in we said, has no effect on getting better results.
the case of the magnetic field is poor, and more significant for
the electric field. In both cases, from a reasonable value, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
mitigation effect is very shortly dependent on the grid height. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia
C. Resistivity e Inovación (2009-2011) under the research project ENE2011-
In this section, once again the grid with meshes of 5x5 meters 26105.
placed at 10 meters over the ground is considered. In this case The C. Vilachá’s Ph.D. thesis research is possible thanks to
the Spanish Ministerio de Educación (2009-2011) by the
the parameter to be changed is the ohmic resistance of the grid
formation program FPU 2010.
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