90% of the Australian population is supported by a robust three phase power network, whereby if people need power, they get it. However, this is not the case for much of rural Australia, where power distribution issues affect industry and economic development.
Expanding the existing three phase power network to cover rural Australia is expensive, often prohibitively. It is for this reason that Phase Change Converters have taken the time to explore strategies to more fully utilise the existing infrastructure.
A lot of rural Australia is supported by a single wire earth return (SWER) system to deliver 240V single phase power, or by the two-phase 480V variation, which is really only two regular 240V circuits coupled together. All Australian states use this type of technology to some degree. These single wire networks are much cheaper than three phase networks to implement and can span long distances, however they have certain limitations.
The SWER line connections that provide energy to thousands of rural Australians cannot support three phase equipment. Three phase motors are cheaper to manufacture than their single phase counterparts and as a result much electrical machinery being built and used in the farming and agriculture industry today include small three phase motors as an integral part of their operation. For example, they are used in milk chiller systems for dairies.
The absence of three phase power in much of the rural sector has placed serious limitations on the sorts of value adding activities that may be carried out. Often farms with a reliable single phase supply will use diesel powered generators just to supply to their three phase equipment. This causes large operating costs for rural enterprises that competing businesses operating near cities with three phase power infrastructure do not face.
With a single phase to three phase power converter unit from Phase Changer, 415V of three phase power is created from a 240V single phase power source. When these are used to drive three phase motor loads, they can halve the instant surge currents of medium and large motors. This will help to make customer loads more efficient and reduce the creation of power line spikes in rural locations.
Furthermore, where three phase power converters are used to replace three phase diesel generators, they may be five times cheaper to operate and don’t have the ongoing requirement of liquid fuel replacement.
Load balancing techniques refers to the spread of the impact of power demands over a longer time interval so high current loads operate in staggered time delays of minutes, hours or days. Where available power is marginal, it is possible to stagger the starting of loads using automatic time delay modules or priority switching circuits, so that high current start-up events do not all try to occur at the same time.
Some of the more modern three phase power converter systems incorporate this type of facility within their design.