Power Factor (1)

Low power factor is expensive and inefficient. Many utility companies charge you an additional fee if your power factor is less than 0.95. Low power factor also reduces your electrical system’s distribution capacity by increasing current flow and causing voltage drops. This article describes power factor and explains how you can improve your power factor to reduce electric bills and enhance your electrical system’s capacity.

What is Power Factor?

To understand power factor, visualize a horse pulling a railroad car down a railroad track. Because the railroad ties are uneven, the horse must pull the car from the side of the track. The horse is pulling the railroad car at an angle to the direction of the car’s travel. The power required to move the car down the track is the working (real) power. The effort of the horse is the total (apparent) power.
Because of the angle of the horse’s pull, not all of the horse’s effort is used to move the car down the track. The car will not move sideways; therefore, the sideways pull of the horse is wasted effort or nonworking (reactive) power.
The angle of the horse’s pull is related to power factor, which is defined as the ratio of real (working) power to apparent (total) power. If the horse is led closer to the center of the track, the angle of side pull decreases and the real power approaches the value of the apparent power. Therefore, the ratio of real power to apparent power (the power factor) approaches 1. As the power factor approaches 1, the reactive (nonworking) power approaches 0.

Power Factor = Real Power / Apparent Power

For example, using the power triangle illustrated below, if
This indicates that only 70% of the current provided by the electrical utility is being used to produce useful work.
to be continued…………..
Source : Fact Sheet of Department of Energy USA

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