SCIENCE FOR ENGINEERING
THE STATE OF THE ART OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SIMULATION FOR POWER SYSTEMS, GROUNDING, INTERFERENCE AND LIGHTNING
MODULES FOR GROUNDING AND EARTHING SYSTEM ANALYSIS
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- GSA (Grounding System Analysis)
- GSA_FD (Grounding System Analysis in the Frequency Domain)
- NETS (Network Solver)
Several software providers offer earthing/grounding system analysis products, but few speak of calculation accuracy. Accuracy can be a significant challenge for simple products, and XGSLab is trusted by users to provide accurate results for systems of any size and complexity.
The IEEE Std 80-2013 provides some benchmarks, but these only present simpler equipotential systems, and thus present a bare minimum of capabilities for software. For small systems, it is acceptable to ignore voltage drop and assume an equipotential grid. For large or complex systems, the voltage drop is not negligible and more robust calculation methods are required to compare simulations with measured real-world values. The reality is that many substations and generation facilities, such as for large photovoltaic or wind power plants, require more robust tools that consider voltage drop as it may be significant. Unfortunately, in these cases there are no benchmark.
The following figure shows a comparison between some commercial tools.
XGSLabTM GSA_FD and CDEGS® HIFREQ High Precision compare well in a case study, available online, consisting of a grid 500x500 m with meshes 25x25 m, depth 0.5 m, wires copper AWG 4/0 with resistivity 1.8*10^-8 Ωm, current 1000 A 60 Hz injected in a grid corner. The soil model has been assumed as uniform, with relative permittivity 1 and resistivity in the range 1 – 10000 Ωm.
Differences between results provided by XGSLabTM GSA_FD and CDEGS® HIFREQ High Precision are negligible (results are overlapped). Taking into account the two software are both full-wave and based on different numerical methods (PEEC and MoM respectively), we are confident that this simulation benchmark could be added in standards such as IEEE Std 80 for the industries benefit.
Any approximation leads to a limitation of the accuracy.
CDEGS® HIFREQ Default Precision uses an approximate calculation of the Sommerfeld integrals, much faster but also less precise.
CDEGS® MALZ does not consider mutual impedances, calculation is very fast but accuracy in the common resistivity range is unacceptable.
ELEK® SafeGrid behavior seems similar to CDEGS® MALZ.
Equipotential assumption is clearly unacceptable for most of the resistivity range.