Synchronous Condenser

In electrical engineering, a synchronous condenser (sometimes called a synchronous capacitor or synchronous compensator) is a device identical to a synchronous motor, whose shaft is not connected to anything but spins freely. Its purpose is not to convert electric power to mechanical power or vice versa, but to adjust conditions on the electric power transmission grid. Its field is controlled by a voltage regulator to either generate or absorb reactive power as needed to adjust the grid's voltage, or to improve power factor. The condenser’s installation and operation are identical to large electric motors.

Increasing the device's field excitation results in its furnishing reactive power (vars) to the system. Its principal advantage is the ease with which the amount of correction can be adjusted. The kinetic energy stored in the rotor of the machine can help stabilize a power system during short circuits or rapidly fluctuating loads such as electric arc furnaces. Large installations of synchronous condensers are sometimes used in association with high-voltage direct current converter stations to supply reactive power to the alternating current grid.

Unlike a capacitor bank, the amount of reactive power from a synchronous condenser can be continuously adjusted. Reactive power from a capacitor bank decreases when grid voltage decreases, while a synchronous condenser can increase reactive current as voltage decreases. However, synchronous machines have higher energy losses than static capacitor banks. Most synchronous condensers connected to electrical grids are rated between 20 Mvar(Megavars) and 200 Mvar and many are hydrogen cooled.

Read more about Synchronous CondenserTheory, Application

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