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X International Symposium on Lightning Protection

9th-13th November, 2009 Curitiba, Brazil

A STUDY OF TRANSIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ACTUAL WIND TURBINE GROUNDING SYSTEM


Kazuo Yamamoto1, Shunichi Yanagawa2 Koichi Yamabuki3, Shozo sekioka4, Shigeru Yokoyama5
1

Kobe City College of Technology, Japan kyamamoto@mem.iee.or.jp


2

Shoden Company, Japan yanagawa@sdn.co.jp

Wakayama National College of Technology, Japan yamab@wakayama-nct.ac.jp


4

Shonan Institute of Technology, Japan sekioka@elec.shonan-it.ac.jp


5

CRIEPI, Japan yokoyama@criepi.denken.or.jp transient characteristics of the grounding by experimental and analytical methods using a reducedsize model of current wind turbine foundations [8-11]. Research using simulations of the transient and steadystate grounding characteristics of wind turbine foundations has already been presented [12-22]. However, papers that report using an actual wind turbine generator system to study transient grounding characteristics are very few in numbers [23]. In this paper, we present experimental studies of the impulse tests conducted on an actual wind turbine generator system. The ground potential rise of the system itself, and around its foundations, was measured. The frequency characteristics were calculated using the Laplace transform [24] to get voltage responses to all types of lightning current waveforms. As a typical potential rise response, the response to the step current which has the peak value of 1 A was calculated. When lightning strikes the wind turbine generator system constructed at a site where the grounding resistivity is very low, the potential rise at the wave front typically becomes larger than that of the steady state. This is because of the inductivity of the grounding system. Therefore, the transient characteristics of the grounding system become important, in comparison to its steadystate characteristics. 2 GROUNDING OF WIND TURBINE GENERATOR SYSTEM 2.1 Importance of Transient Characteristics Both transient and steady-state characteristics become important for understanding the grounding phenomena of a wind turbine generator system. However, because the

Abstract - In order to exploit high wind conditions, wind turbine generator systems are often constructed in places where few tall structures exist; therefore, they are often struck by lightning. Much of the damage caused by lightning is from the resulting breakdown and malfunction of the electrical, communications, and control systems inside the wind turbine generator system; these breakdowns can be attributed to a rise in electric potential both within the system and in the surroundings due to lightning. Impulse tests were conducted on an actual wind turbine generator system. The rise in ground potential of the system, and that around its foundation was measured. The frequency characteristics were calculated using the Laplace transform to get voltage responses for all types of lightning current waveforms. As a typical potential rise response, the response to the step current which has the peak value of 1 A was calculated.

1 INTRODUCTION A Based on the diffusion of wind turbine generation systems, many accidents caused by natural disasters such as lightning and typhoons have occurred in recent years. Especially, the damages caused by lightning become so serious [1-5]. Wind turbine generation systems are built at locations where few tall structures are found nearby so as to obtain good wind conditions, and thus, they are often struck by lightning. To promote wind power generation, lightning protection methodologies for such wind turbine generation systems have to be established. Lightning damage to wind turbine generator systems affects the safety and reliability of these systems. Most of the breakdowns and malfunctions of the electrical and control systems inside wind turbines are caused by a rise in ground potential due to lightning [6, 7]. To understand this rise in ground potential, we had researched the

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steady state is emphasized in the planning of the grounding, the transient characteristics are often neglected. When a wind turbine generator system is constructed in a mountain area where resistivity is comparatively high, the steady-state grounding resistance, in many cases, becomes more important than the transient grounding resistance. A potential rise caused by a lightning strike to a wind turbine generator system is more remarkable at the wave tail than at the wave front. The potential rise at the wave tail depends on the steady-state grounding resistance. When a wind turbine generator system is constructed at a low resistivity site, such as a coastal area, a significant potential rise occurs due to the inductivity of the grounding system. The transient grounding resistance at the wave front, which depends on the inductivity of the grounding system, is larger than the steady-state resistance. 2.2 Grounding of an Offshore Wind Turbine The soil around the actual wind turbine generator system on the disposal site where the measurements has been performed has electrical characteristics similar to seawater, because the soil on the disposal site contained a lot of seawater. The target wind turbine generator system had four long foundation feet, like those of offshore wind turbines, to increase the bearing capacity of the soil. The grounding characteristics of the foundation constructed on the disposal site exhibited inductivity in the way explained in the previous section. Construction of offshore wind turbine generator systems is prohibited in Japan because of fishery rights, destruction of the environment, and so on. However, there are wind turbine generator systems on the coastal area. Depending on the governmental energy policy, offshore wind turbine generator systems may be constructed in the future [5]. Therefore, the grounding characteristics of the wind turbine foundation on disposal sites should be researched to estimate the grounding characteristics of low resistivity sites. 3 MEASURMENTS 3.1 Foundations 3.2 Experimental Conditions Fig. 1 shows in detail the foundation of the actual wind t ur bi n e gen er a t or syst em t h a t wa s used in our measurements. The shape was rectangular and parallelpiped, and 8.5 m 8.5 m 2 m in size. The foundation wa s r ei n for ced con cr et e; t h e i ntervals between reinforcing were about 30 cm. The tower was connected to the foundation at ground level. The depth of the foundation was 2 m, and the length of the foundation feet was 50 m, to enhance the bearing capacity of soil. Fig. 3 shows the experimental set up. The current was led to the foundation from the impulse generator by using insulated copper wire (length: 100 m; cross section: 5.5 mm2) as the current lead wire. The height of the current lead wire was about 1 m. The fast front current generated by the impulse generator was injected into the foundation through a resistance of 500 from a current lead wire, as shown in Fig. 3. The peak value of the current was 60
Fig. 1 - Foundation of the actual wind turbine generator system
8.5 m

3m

2m grounding mesh foundation foot : 50 m

1 = 15 [m]

d1 = 3.0 [m]

2 = 1 [m]

Fig. 2 - Resistivity around the wind turbine generator system estimated by Wenner method

Grounding mesh existed underneath the foundation; its size was about 8.5 m 8.5 m. The stratiform resistivity around the wind turbine generator system is shown in Fig. 2. The Wenner method was utilized to measure the resistivity. The steady-state grounding resistance of the grounding system of the wind turbine generator system was 0.062 .

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current lead wire 150 m ground I.G. I foundation V Voltage measuring wire 70 m

was connected between the remote end of the voltage measuring wire and grounding rod, which had about 120 grounding resistance. That was how the noise induced on the voltage measuring wire was discharged to the ground readily. 3.3 Experimental Data The current into the foundation and potential rise at the foundation was recorded to study the transient and steady-state characteristics of the foundation. The potential rises around the wind turbine generator system were measured at intervals of 1 m (0 to 10 m from the edge of the foundation, as shown in Fig. 4) around the foundation, and from 2 m to 4 m (over 10 m from the edge of the foundation, as shown in Fig. 4). The potential rise was measured at 21 locations. An additional rod was buried about 0.1 m deep, at each measured point, to measure potential rise.
16 m 18 m

Fig. 3 - Experimental set up


Top view

1m 3m 5m 7m 9m 0m 2 m 4 m 6 m 8 m 10 m

12 m 14 m

3.4 Measuring Instruments The impulse generator had a capacitance of 1.5 F, and was discharged by using a gap switch. The charging voltage was 30 kV for these measurements. A TDS3054C oscilloscope (Tektronix) was used to measure the voltage and current waveforms; its bandwidth was DC500 MHz. A P6139A passive probe (Tektronix) was used for voltage measurements; its bandwidth was DC500 MHz and its input capacitance was up to 8 pF. A PEARSON 150 was used as the current probe; its bandwidth and usable rise time were in the range of 40 kHz to 20 MHz and over 20 ns respectively. The measurements performed using these instruments were accurate, with a rise time of several hundred nanoseconds. 3.5 Measured Results The measurement results are shown in Fig. 5. Figs. 5 (a) and (b) show, respectively, the injected current I and the potential rise V at the top of the foundation. The injected current showed a ramp wave, and its peak and rise time were, respectively, approximately 60 A and 0.4 s. The voltage was inductive at the wave front. The ratio of the maximum voltage at the wave front to the current at the same time was approximately 13 V/A. This value was greater than the steady-state grounding resistance. The voltage waveform oscillated after the wave front. The medium value of the voltage gradually decreased to the value of the steady-state grounding resistance. It is believed that the oscillations were caused by the inductance and capacitance of the grounding system. It is possible that the steady-state grounding resistance of 0.062 was the convergence value.

foundation Side view 1m 0m 3m 5m 7m 9m 2 m 4 m 6 m 8 m 10 m 12 m 14 m 16 m 18 m

Fig. 4 - Measuring point of the potential rise around the foundation

A and the wave front was about 0.4 s. A comparatively large resistance of 500 was connected in series with the impulse generator; it can therefore be considered a current source. The injected current was measured at the end of the current lead wire near the foundation by using a current prove as shown in Fig. 3. The potential rise of the foundation was measured as the voltage difference between the top of the foundations and the voltage measurement wire. The height of the wire was 1 m, and it was grounded at the remote end. The potential rise around the wind turbine generation system was measured as the voltage between the conductive rods placed at the measurement points, as shown in Fig. 4, and the voltage measurement wire. As shown in Fig. 3, the current lead wire and the voltage measurement wire were orthogonalized to decrease their mutual electromagnetic induction. The surge impedance of the voltage measuring wire was about 500 ; therefore, the 400 resistance

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As mentioned above, the grounding characteristics of the system showed strong inductiveness at the wave front because the steady state grounding resistance was as low as 0 0 . 6 2 . In the case of offshore wind tu bine r generator systems, similar grounding characteristics should be observed. Transient phenomena obviously become more important than steady-state phenomena for lightning protection design. The potential around a wind turbine generation system increases when it is struck by lightning. To investigate the potential rise, the fast-front current was injected into the grounding system, as shown in Figs. 3 and 4. The injected current was very similar to the results shown in Fig. 5 (a), the peak value was 60 A and the wave front was about 0.4 s.

Fig. 6 (a) shows the measured potential rise around the wind turbine generator system. Fig. 6 (b) shows the relationship between the maximum potential rise and the distance. The wave shape, shown in Fig. 6 (a), was almost analogous to the potential rise shown in Fig. 5 (b). If the skin effect of the ground is not considered, and the
80

current [A]

60 40 20 0

time [s]
(a) Injected current into the foundation

500 400

voltage [V]

300 200 100 0 -100 0 1 2 3 4 5

time [s]
(b) Potential rise of the foundation Fig. 5 - Transient characteristic of the grounding system of the actual wind turbine generator system

050100150200250300350

s]

responses, the time response to lightning of several wave shapes can be calculated. It should be noted that above mentioned measured results include the influence of the surge propagations on the tower and blades, the induced voltage on the voltage measuring wire from the current lead wire and so on. If we want to obtain the independent grounding characteristic of the foundation, the model of the wind turbine with the grounding system should be established in the numerical electromagnetic field analyses such as FDTD (Finite-Difference Time-Domain) method, and the independent model of the grounding system should be calculated.

4 CONCLUSIONS This paper has presented the results of experimental studies that investigated the grounding characteristics of a actual wind turbine generation system, and the voltage rise around it. The grounding characteristics of the grounding system showed strong inductivity at the wave front. The frequency and step responses of the grounding system have been presented to get voltage responses to all types of lightning current waveforms. The installation features of the wind turbine generator system that were employed in this paper were very similar to those used at sea. The long foundation feet were much like those of an offshore wind turbine generator system. The results given in this paper will be very useful as basic data for lightning protection of wind turbine generator systems at low resistivity sites, including those of offshore wind turbine generator systems. 5 REFERENCES
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5

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phase [degree ]

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(b) Phase value of the grounding impedance

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voltage [V]

time [s]
(c) Step responce of the grounding impedance Fig. 7 Frequency and step responses of the grounding system on the actual wind turbine generator system

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