Application of Synchronous Condensers in Industries

Image By Mriya — Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0

What is a Synchronous Condenser?

A synchronous condenser is a synchronous motor running at no load and in over-excited mode. A synchronous motor in over-excited mode behaves as a capacitor which is indicated by a leading current or supply of VARs in the circuit by a synchronous motor.

Working Principle of a Synchronous Condenser:

As synchronous condenser is a synchronous motor so its principle of working will be as same as principles of synchronous motor. A synchronous motor works on the principle of motional EMF that is, a conductor tends to rotate due to the effect of the magnetic field. To provide a magnetic field, two ways are used that is a three-phase AC supply and a constant DC power supply to the stator.

​The purpose of providing two ways of excitation is that it can rotate at synchronous speed as the synchronous motor works on the interlocking of the magnetic field produced due to the stator and dc field winding.

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Changing the DC field excitation which may result in three possible outcomes, which are given as follows:

The above-mentioned third outcome of the Synchronous Motor forms the working principle of a Synchronous Condenser.

By Mriya — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Applications of Synchronous Condenser in power systems:

Due to the advantage of adjusting the VARS (reactive power) of a synchronous motor by changing the field excitation, the synchronous motor can be used for many applications (Power factor correction, VAR compensator, Inertia) that are discussed HERE.

Limitations of a Synchronous Condenser:

  • Not economical for less than 500KVAR compensation
  • Noise and transient production
  • Separate excitation required, increasing cost
  • High maintenance cost
  • There are significant losses in motors
  • Cost of protective devices increases due to high Short Circuit Rating

Substitutes of Synchronous Condensers:

  • Static VAR compensator (SVC)
  • Static synchronous compensator (STATCOM)
  • Series capacitor and reactors
  • Shunt capacitors
  • Transformer tapping
  • FACT (Flexible AC Transmission) device


Let us know if you have any queries regarding this topic and do provide us with your feedback in the comments.

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