Voltage Balancing on Three-phase Low Voltage Feeder

  • Yun Li

Student thesis: Phd


Voltage imbalance in low voltage (LV) networks is expected to deteriorate as low carbon technologies, e.g. electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps (HPs) are increasingly deployed. The new electrical demand attributable to EVs and HPs would increase the voltage magnitude variation, increasing the possibility of voltages moving outside the statutory LV magnitude limits. Moreover, the single-phase nature of EVs and HPs, which will be connected via a single-phase 'line & neutral' cable to a 3-phase four-wire LV mains cable buried beneath the street, further entangles this voltage management problem; the non-balanced voltage variations in the three phases boost the levels of voltage imbalance. Excessive voltage imbalance and magnitude variation need to be mitigated to limit their adverse effects on the electric network and connected plant.The voltage imbalance in LV networks is conventionally reduced by reinforcing the network, generally at a high cost. Some modern methods for voltage imbalance mitigation have been introduced in recent years. The power electronic converter based methods are inadequate due to the generation of harmonics, significant power losses and short lifetime. Besides, automatic supply phase selection and smart EV charging rely on an advanced smart communication system, which currently is not available. This project aims to develop alternative solutions that mitigate the voltage imbalance seen in LV networks. A voltage balancing method based on Scott transformer (ST) is proposed. This method does not generate harmonics and is independent of the smart communication system. Computer simulations demonstrated the proposed method is able to convert a non-balanced 3-phase voltage into a balanced 3-phase voltage at either a point on the LV feeder or a 3-phase load supply point with the predefined voltage magnitude. Besides, a physical voltage balancing system was created based on the proposed method and it was tested in an LV network in the laboratory. The test results show the balancing system is capable of maintaining a low level of voltage imbalance on the LV feeder by rapidly compensating for the voltage rises and sags caused by single-phase load variations. This voltage balancing method is a potential solution for the network utilities to accommodate the significant penetration of low carbon technologies without breaching the network voltage limits.The impact of EVs and HPs on the LV network voltages is investigated based on a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation platform, which comprises a statistical model of EV charging demand, profiles generators of residential and HP electrical demand, and a distribution network model. The MC simulation indicates the impact of EVs and HPs is related to their distribution; when more than 21EVs and 13HPs are non-evenly distributed on a 96-customer LV feeder, the voltage limits are likely to be violated. Moreover, the effectiveness of the ST based voltage balancing method and the demand response based TOU tariff, implemented either alone or together, in mitigating the impact of EVs and HPs is investigated based on the established MC simulation platform. The results indicate the ST based balancing method alone is able to completely mitigate the voltage limit violations regardless of the penetration levels of EVs and HPs. Moreover, using both of the two investigated methods further enhances the balancing effectiveness of the ST based voltage balancing method.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Crossley (Supervisor)


  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • low carbon technology
  • heat pump
  • electric vehicle
  • power quality
  • on-load tap changer
  • Scott transformer
  • power transformers
  • distribution networks
  • smart grid
  • low voltage radial feeder
  • voltage imbalance
  • voltage control

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