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Comparison of classic and optimization approach to active power filters sizing and placement

Michal Lewandowski (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland)
Janusz Walczak (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland)



In most applications the active power filters (APFs) are used to reduce harmonic distortion of a nonlinear load which is located near the APF installation point. This classic approach allows to reduce the distortion introduced to the power system but do not guarantee that the cost of the APFs installation is optimal. The purpose of this paper is to compare the classic approach to harmonic compensation with an optimization method of sizing and placement of the APFs in an existing distributed power network.


An exemplary real-life power system with distributed nonlinear loads was modeled using PCFLO power analysis software. Next, Matlab was used to implement the classic method and the optimization algorithm. Between Matlab and PCFLO a specially written Java middleware was used to provide a seamless workflow integration.


It was shown that the presented optimization method may lead to superior results in comparison with the classic approach. Simulation results clearly showed that the APFs installation cost can be significantly reduced when the optimization algorithm is used. Moreover, the proposed optimization method can overcome some problems connected with the nonlinearity and discontinuity of the APF's price/current function.

Research limitations/implications

There are two main limitations of the presented method. First, the method needs much more computing power then the classic approach. Second, according to the authors’ knowledge, currently there are no commercially available APFs, which allow to directly apply the optimization method in industrial applications.

Practical implications

The presented results showed that the approach, which is the most popular in the industry, is far from being optimal from the cost perspective. As it has been shown in the investigated example, it might be possible to significantly reduce the total cost of APFs installed in the power system.


The optimization method presented in the paper as well as all simulation results are the original authors work. It was shown that the existing harmonic compensation strategies can be significantly upgraded and the proposed optimization method may be a basis and a reference point for future commercial solutions.



Lewandowski, M. and Walczak, J. (2014), "Comparison of classic and optimization approach to active power filters sizing and placement", COMPEL - The international journal for computation and mathematics in electrical and electronic engineering, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 1877-1890.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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