Capacitor banks for power factor correction

Capacitor banks for power factor correction

The APCQ range of low voltage automatic capacitor banks has been developed by ABB to provide power factor correction solution for a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications including data centres.

The APCQ range of low voltage automatic capacitor banks has been developed by ABB to provide power factor correction solution for a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications.

Installing the APCQ capacitor banks enables the user to optimise the power factor (PF) of their site’s electricity network – which measures how efficiently they use the power from their electricity supplier. Ideally, they should have a PF of 1 (unity). In practice, ABB has carried out surveys at many customer sites where the PF has fallen to 0.8 or even lower. This means that customers are paying for electricity they are not actually using.

The company says the new capacitor banks offer three main benefits: optimised energy consumption; reduction in utility penalties for low PF (where they apply); and freeing up capacity on overloaded networks to enable the installation of new equipment. Three types of capacitor banks are available. There is a wall-mounted, compact cubicle called APCQ-L.  The APCQ-M is a free floor standing cabinet for networks slightly polluted by harmonics and the APCQ-R is a free floor standing cabinet, with detuned reactors for networks polluted by harmonics.

The series is claimed easy to install, operate and service and offers good reliability and safety. Installation is fast because of its easy access to all electrical connections. The modular design allows easy maintenance and has space provision to increase the power rating if required in the future.

These capacitor banks use proven and innovative technology which includes ABB's new QCap low voltage capacitor. The reliability and the safety of this range is further ensured, the company claims, by other ABB components produced in line with strict specifications: reactors with a specific design for electrical robustness in networks with harmonics and the UA range of contactors optimised for capacitor switching. The APCQ-R range is capable of handling voltage distortion pollution levels of 8 percent, in line with voltage distortion levels on the low voltage (LV) bus that can appear in industrial networks. The APCQ range has an intuitive interface when used with ABB RVC or RVT power factor controllers.

The APCQ range can be used to control the PF in diverse types of customer networks including residential/commercial buildings and data centres.