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Introduction to the power factor, Part 1.
This is the first part in the series of “Introduction to the Power Factor”. This series will teach us about the significance of the power factor in power systems analysis and help us intuitively understand the calculations involved in its measurement as well as mitigation.
In this video, Part 1, we will be discussing the basic concept of electric power and introduce the power factor as an important parameter in power systems analysis.
We know that a power system consists of many components like generators, transformers, loads, protective devices and so on. And each equipment has a rating at which it supplies or receives electrical energy. This rating is called electric power.
Electric power is further classified into 3 sub-categories. The first one is called the real power or working power. This is the actual power which is required to perform useful work, or in other words, transfer electrical energy from one point to another. It is expressed in terms of watts (W).
The second type is required by inductive loads such as motors, pumps and compressors. This type is required to generate the magnetic flux which is necessary for all inductive loads to operate properly. It is called reactive power and is expressed in terms of volt-ampere-reactive (VAR)
The third and final one is just the vector summation of the real and reactive powers. We call this one, apparent power with the unit of volt-ampere(VA).
Let’s have a look at the simple concept of a drink in order to better understand these concepts.
Let’s say that we order a glass of beer to drink after a hard day’s work. The brightly colored portion can be represented as the real power. And with every beer, you get a small undrinkable portion on top in the shape of foam. We can call this as our reactive power.
The combination of the drinkable portion and the foam make up the beer which can be represented as the apparent power.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the fundamentals, we can move ahead towards the critical concept of a power factor.
To put it in simple terms, the power factor tells us how effectively we are using electricity in our facility. It is the ratio between the real power and apparent power.
Power Factor=(Real Power)/(Apparent Power)
In the next part, we will try to understand the power factor using the concepts of phasor diagram, the power triangle and also go into more detail with respect to its significance.
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