(19)
(11)EP 3 579 659 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
11.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/50

(21)Application number: 18176118.0

(22)Date of filing:  05.06.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H05B 3/00(2006.01)
F16L 53/37(2018.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
80333 München (DE)

(72)Inventor:
  • Perera, Aravinda
    7037 Trondheim (NO)

  


(54)SUBSEA DIRECT ELECTRICAL HEATING POWER SUPPLY SYSTEM, DIRECT ELECTRICAL HEATING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF OPERATING A SUBSEA DIRECT ELECTRICAL HEATING POWER SUPPLY SYSTEM


(57) The present invention relates to a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system (100) for providing electrical power for heating a subsea pipeline section (30), the system comprising input means (110A, 110B, 110C) adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a power supply and a subsea variable speed drive (120) for receiving electrical power from the input means and for providing an AC output. The subsea variable speed drive comprises a plurality of series-connected power cells (A1..A6), each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell. The system further comprises an adjustable subsea capacitor (130) connected to the AC output (121) of the subsea variable speed drive and output means (140) adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a subsea pipeline section (30). The system further comprises a controller (150) adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) such that if the system output voltage is reduced as a result of bypassing one or more power cells (A1..A6) the current output by the direct electrical heating power supply (100) system is increased.




Description

Field of the invention



[0001] The present invention relates to a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system and a method of operating such a system. The present invention further relates to a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system.

Background of the invention



[0002] Hydrocarbon flow is a key concern in subsea hydrocarbon production. Traditionally chemicals have been injected to prevent hydrate forming. More recently pipeline heating systems and in particular direct electric heating (DEH) systems have been developed in order to avoid the risks and cost associated with transporting chemicals to the wellhead and injecting them into the process fluid.

[0003] Early DEH systems such as disclosed in European patent application EP 2 324 550 utilize a topside power supply for providing electrical power to the pipeline section to be heated. This approach works well for short and medium step-outs but has disadvantages at longer step-outs, for example because of losses that occur over the length of the supply lines.

[0004] In more recent systems such as disclosed in European patent application EP 2 764 599 power is therefore provided to the sea floor using a subsea power cable adapted to be coupled to a three phase electric power source for providing three phase electric power to a subsea location and two or more subsea direct electric heating (DEH) modules, each module being provided for heating a different pipeline section of the subsea pipeline. The subsea DEH modules are adapted to be installed subsea at different subsea locations, for example in proximity to the pipeline section to be heated by the respective subsea DEH module. Each such DEH module may comprise a compensation unit adapted to compensate for reactive power that may lead to a reduced power factor. The compensation unit can be adapted to compensate for this reduced power factor and may comprise a capacitance, the value of which can be controlled, for example, in accordance with a control signal. The compensation unit may be adapted to allow an on-load control of the capacitance value. The capacitance may be implemented by means of a capacitor bank and may comprise two or more capacitors being connected in parallel, and switches for connecting or disconnecting the capacitors, the switches being controllable in accordance with the control signal for adjusting the value of the capacitance.

[0005] The system disclosed in EP 2 764 599, see Figs. 2 and 3, uses a common supply cable 41 to power each DEH module, and transformers 13 are arranged in each DEH module 10 to downconvert the high transport voltage to a voltage compatible with the single-phase loads 21, 22, 23. Adapting the AC frequency is only possible for the entire system 100. Consequently the frequency cannot be adapted individually for the different DEH modules 10.

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved pipeline direct electrical heating power supply system.

Summary of the invention



[0007] In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system for providing electrical power for heating a subsea pipeline section. The subsea direct electrical heating power supply system comprises input means adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a power supply. Thus the inventive subsea direct electrical heating power supply system in its most generic form does not comprise a power source as such but provides an adaptation between a power source and a subsea pipeline section. The subsea direct electrical heating power supply system comprises a subsea variable speed drive for receiving electrical power from the input means and for providing an AC output, the subsea variable speed drive comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells, each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell. A surface-use variable speed drive comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells, each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell, is for example known from granted US patent US 9,876,347, particularly Fig. 1 and accompanying description. The subsea direct electrical heating power supply system of the present invention further comprises an adjustable subsea capacitor connected to the AC output of the subsea variable speed drive and output means adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a subsea pipeline section. The subsea direct electrical heating power supply system further comprises a controller adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor such that if the system output voltage is reduced as a result of bypassing one or more power cells the current output by the direct electrical heating power supply system is increased.

[0008] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the power cells' bypass devices are further adapted to de-bypass the power cell and the controller is further adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor such that if the system output voltage is increased as a result of de-bypassing one or more power cells the current output by the direct electrical heating power supply system is decreased.

[0009] In a further preferred embodiment of the present invention the controller is further adapted to adjust the frequency of the AC output of the variable speed drive if the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor is adjusted.

[0010] In a further preferred embodiment of the present invention the controller is further adapted to adjust the frequency such that if the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor is adjusted the power factor change of the electrical circuit comprising the subsea pipeline section and the adjustable subsea capacitor caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor is at least partially compensated.

[0011] In a further preferred embodiment of the present invention the subsea variable speed drive is adapted to provide an AC three-phase output and comprises a plurality of series-connected power cells for each of the three phases and a three-phase to one-phase converter is provided for converting the three-phase output of the three-phase variable speed drive to a one-phase AC output.

[0012] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is provided a direct electrical heating system comprising a power supply, a subsea pipeline section and a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system according to the present invention's first aspect.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment of the invention the power supply is a three-phase AC power supply. In another preferred embodiment the power supply is a DC power supply.

[0014] In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of operating a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system comprising a controller, a subsea variable speed drive comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells, each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell, and an adjustable subsea capacitor connected to an AC output of the subsea variable speed drive. The method comprises, through operation of the controller, monitoring the condition of the power cells and upon detecting a faulted power cell, activating this power cell's bypass device. The method further comprises increasing the output current by adjusting the adjustable subsea capacitor and adjusting the output frequency so as to at least partially compensate for the power factor change caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor.

[0015] Power cell fault types and their handling are well known to those with skills in the art and for example described in detail in US patent US 9,876,347, in particular in the description column 5 line 15 to column 9 line 63, which is incorporated by reference herein.

[0016] In a preferred embodiment the method further comprises, through operation of the controller, upon detecting the cessation of a fault in a power cell, deactivating this cell's bypass device and decreasing the output current by adjusting the adjustable subsea capacitor, and further adjusting the output frequency so as to at least partially compensate for the power factor change caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor.

[0017] The method, when the variable speed drive is adapted to provide an AC three-phase output and comprises a plurality of series-connected power cells for each of the three phases, further comprises in a preferred embodiment, through operation of the controller, upon detecting a faulted power cell in any one of the three phases, activating this power cell's bypass device and the bypass devices of one power cell in each of the other two phases such that the resulting series of connected power cells is functionally equivalent for all three phases.

[0018] A key advantage of the present invention is that it ensures maximum available power output in case of a power cell fault if a variable speed drive comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells is deployed. Note that in many three-phase configurations the fault of one power cell in one of the three phases requires the bypassing of the corresponding (non-faulted) power cells in the other two phases. In an exemplary variable speed drive employing 6 power cells per phase the maximum output voltage thus drops by about 18% if one cell faults, resulting in a corresponding drop of the supply system's power output. This drop in power output is prevented or mitigated by providing an adjustable capacitance in the output path and adjusting the same such that the output current is increased. In advanced configurations the power factor change caused by adjusting the capacitance is prevented or mitigated by adjusting the supply system output frequency, preferably through controlling the subsea variable speed drive accordingly.

[0019] The system controller may be adapted such that the output power is kept constant or at least as close as possible to a preferred value.

[0020] Another advantage of the present system is that capacitances of the cable connecting the power supply system to the pipeline section can be compensated by the controller.

[0021] Yet another advantage lies therein that deviations in the inductive characteristics of the pipeline section from the projected characteristics, for example caused by the operating temperature or the process medium or variations of wall strengths and material over the length of the pipeline section, can be compensated by the controller.

[0022] Although specific features are described in the above summary and the following detailed description in connection with specific embodiments and aspects of the present invention, it is to be understood that the features of the embodiments and aspects may be combined with each other unless specifically noted otherwise.

Brief description of the drawings



[0023] The present invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Fig. 1 shows a schematic representation of a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system for providing electrical power for heating a subsea pipeline section according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 2 shows an embodiment of a subsea adjustable capacitor.


Detailed description of the drawings



[0024] Fig. 1 shows a subsea direct electrical heating (DEH) power supply system 100 for providing electrical power for heating a subsea pipeline section 30 arranged subsea on the seafloor 20 below waterline 10. The DEH power supply system 100 comprises an input 110 which in the example shown in Fig. 1 is a three-phase input comprising the phases A, B, C. In other embodiments the power input to DEH power supply system 100 may be a single phase AC input or a DC input.

[0025] A power supply (not shown) which is either a three phase or a single phase AC or a DC power supply provides electrical power to the DEH power supply system 100 via corresponding input terminals 110. Preferably the power supply is also located subsea and may for example be a subsea umbilical termination assembly (SUTA) or any other surface-powered subsea power distribution unit.

[0026] The power received from the power supply is fed via terminals 110 to subsea variable speed drive 120. Subsea variable speed drive 120 in the preferred embodiment is adapted to receive three phase AC but may in other embodiments be adapted to receive single phase AC or DC via corresponding input circuitry, as is well known in the art. Subsea variable speed drive 120 comprises a plurality of power cells A1..A6 connected in series to drive at least a single phase AC output. Preferably the subsea variable drive 120 provides a three phase AC output and comprises a plurality of power cells A1..A6, B1..B6, C1..C6 for each of the three phases.

[0027] Each of the power cells comprises a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell such as for example known from granted US patent US 9,876,347. The series of power cells thus provides two advantages: firstly, each power cell comprising power electronics such as an IGBT may be selected to only drive a fraction of the system's projected output voltage, and secondly, a limited number of faulted power cells will not render the entire variable speed drive inoperable. This is of particular advantage in the subsea field where the recovery of faulty or failed components is extremely difficult.

[0028] The subsea variable speed drive 120 is adapted to provide a single phase AC output at an output terminal 121. This may be accomplished by either setting up the subsea variable speed drive 120 such that it provides a single phase AC output or, where subsea variable speed drive 120 provides a three phase AC output, by providing a three-phase to one-phase converter 160 for converting the three-phase output of the three-phase variable speed drive to a one-phase AC output 121.

[0029] Note that the techniques of providing and operating the variable speed drive 120 and, optionally, the three-phase to one-phase converter 160 which may include a line reactors and symmetrization components are well known in the art and thus a detailed description of their provisioning and operation is omitted here.

[0030] The single phase AC output provided at terminal 121 is received by an adjustable subsea capacitor 130. The adjustable subsea capacitor 130 may be provided in series to or in parallel with the load coupled to terminals 140 of the DEH power supply system 100, the load generally comprising the subsea pipeline section 30 and cables 34, 35 which provide the connection between the subsea pipeline section 30 and the DEH power supply system 100.

[0031] In operation, a controller 150 of the DEH power supply system 100 is adapted or configured to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor 130 such that if the system output voltage is reduced as a result of bypassing one or more power cells A1..A6 the current output by the DEH power supply 100 system is increased such that the total power provided at terminals 140 is kept constant. Where the number of bypassed cells is such that the power provided at terminals 140 cannot be kept constant the controller 150 will adjust the DEH power supply 100 system and in particular the adjustable capacitor 130 such that the power output is maximized and thus as close as possible to the value provided by the system when no power cell bypasses are activated.

[0032] Reversely, if a previously bypassed power cell is de-bypassed (i.e. reconnected by deactivating the bypass) upon, for example, abatement of a fault condition, the controller 150 may be further adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor 130 such that if the system output voltage is increased as a result of de-bypassing (i.e. reconnecting) one or more power cells the current output by the DEH power supply system 100 is decreased.

[0033] Typically the power factor of the overall system will change if the capacitance of adjustable subsea capacitor 130 is adjusted. While this may be acceptable in some configurations, in a preferred embodiment the controller is further adapted to adjust the frequency of the AC output of the variable speed drive 120 if the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor 130 is adjusted, preferably such that the power factor change of the electrical circuit comprising the subsea pipeline section 30 and the adjustable subsea capacitor 130 caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor 130 is completely or at least partially compensated. Ideally the power output by DEH power supply system is kept constant and a power factor of one or very close to one is maintained through the operation of controller 150.

[0034] For example, in a three phase variable speed drive 120, a single power cell fault often requires the controller of variable speed drive 120 (which may be co-located or integrated with controller 150) to activate the bypass means of the faulty power cell and also the bypass means of the same level power cells in the other two phases, for example for to avoid internal currents that may occur if only the faulty power cell is bypassed. For example, a fault in power cell B2 may require the bypassing of power cell B2 and also of power cells A2 and C2, thereby reducing the maximum output voltage of the subsea variable speed drive 120 by 1/6 = 17% in a six cell per phase configuration and thereby reducing the power output of DEH power supply system 100. As the power requirements of the pipeline section 30 are such that a reduced power will directly lead to a reduced pipeline temperature which in turn increases the risk of hydrate forming the controller 150 seeks to fully compensate the loss in maximum voltage by increasing the output current at terminals 140 by adjusting the capacitance of adjustable capacitor 130 accordingly.

[0035] In configurations where the capacitance of the adjustable capacitor is in series with the load the output current may be increased by increasing the capacitance.

[0036] This will in turn affect the power factor at terminals 140 which may be tolerable for some systems. In other systems the controller 150 is configured to adjust the frequency of the subsea variable speed drive 120 such that the power factor is restored to its previous value (often near 1) or a value as close as possible to the previous value when system operational boundaries prevent a full restoration. Where the adjustable capacitor 130 is in series with the load the power factor may be restored by decreasing the frequency when the capacitance of the adjustable capacitor is increased.

[0037] Controller 150 may in embodiments be a dedicated controller for adjusting the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor 100 and as such may receive status information from or interact with a controller (not shown) of the subsea variable speed drive, the status information including information on the bypassing of cells. In other configurations controller 150 controls the entire system 100 including the bypassing and de-bypassing of power cells and other system parameters and comprises means for determining power cell faults and means for activating power cell bypass means. In such configurations the controller may further be adapted to detect the cessation of power cell faults and means for de-bypassing power cells with ceased faults.

[0038] Depending on the bypass information received or otherwise available at controller 150 the controller 150 determines the effect the power cell unavailability on the output of variable speed drive 120, namely output voltage and output current and/or output electrical power of variable speed drive 120 at terminal 121 which is where single phase AC is provided to the variable capacitor 130. Note that in embodiments where the variable speed drive 120 outputs three-phase AC it needs to be converted to obtain single phase AC at terminal 121 for DEH purposes, for example by means of a three-phase to one-phase converter 160 as shown in Fig. 1. Such converter may of course be omitted in embodiments where the variable speed drive 120 directly outputs single phase AC.

[0039] Upon determining the effect the power cell unavailability has on the power output of variable speed drive 120 at terminal 121 the controller 150 will adjust the capacitance of adjustable capacitor 130 and preferably also the frequency of the AC output by variable speed drive 120, as discussed above. Note that it may not be possible to fully restore the power output of DEH power supply system at its output terminal 132 to its previous value, for example if multiple variable speed drive power cells are faulted. This is mainly because the remaining power cells have a current load limit which limits the current output by the variable speed drive 120 at terminal 121.

[0040] In the preferred embodiment the adjustable capacitor 130 is arranged in series with the DEH load 30. It may be arranged in parallel in other embodiments.

[0041] Towards the load 30 the exemplary DEH power supply system 100 shown in Fig. 1 comprises two subsea connectors 140 wherein one connector is provided for connecting the system output terminal 132 via a first subsea power supply cable 34 to a piggy-back conductor 33 of the pipe section 30 terminating at a second terminal 32 of the pipe section 30 and wherein a further connector is provided for connecting the neutral conductor of the DEH power supply system 100 via a second subsea supply cable 35 to a first terminal 31 of the pipe section 30. Electrical power is thus provided between the two end terminals 31, 32 of pipe section 30 which comprises an electrically resistive element and typically is made of a conductive material such as steel, thereby achieving direct electrical heating of that subsea pipe section 30.

[0042] Turning now to Fig. 2 there is shown an embodiment of an adjustable capacitor 130. Adjustable capacitor 130 comprises six capacitors C1..C6. Note that the number six was chosen for illustrative purposes only and is not meant to be limiting. Also there is no relation between the number of power cells per phase in variable speed drive 120 and the number of capacitors in adjustable capacitor 130. One terminal of each capacitor C1..C6 is connected to the adjustable capacitor's output terminal 132. The other terminal of each capacitor C1..C6 is connected to a respective one of six switching elements S1..S6 which selectively couples the respective capacitor to the adjustable capacitor's input terminal 121. Thus, by operating the switching means S1..S6 the capacitance of adjustable capacitor 130 can be adjusted.

[0043] In the preferred embodiment controller 150 provides six control signals 151..156 to the adjustable capacitor 130 wherein each of the control signals 151..156 is provided to a respective one of the six switching elements S1..S6 which upon receiving a respective control signal connects or disconnects the respective capacitor C1..C6 to/from input terminal 121.

[0044] In other embodiments adjustable capacitor 130 may comprise a separate controller (not shown) for receiving a control signal from DEH power supply system controller 150 and for correspondingly providing the six individual control signals 151..156.

[0045] Note that in the preferred embodiment of the invention the capacitance is increased upon power cell bypass. That means that at least one of the capacitors C1..C6 will not be active in normal operation which provides a number of additional advantages for the operation of DEH power supply system 100. In embodiments the capacitor that is inactive in normal operation may be configured to be a reserve capacitor to be activated if any one of the active capacitors becomes inoperable, by operation of controller 150 or the adjustable capacitor's own controller. Additionally or alternatively the controller 150 or the adjustable capacitor's own controller may apply a cyclic (e.g. time controlled) activation/deactivation scheme for the capacitors C1..C6 such that over time all capacitors are exposed to the same number of operation hours thereby extending the life of adjustable capacitor 130.

[0046] In some embodiments of the invention the capacitances of capacitors C1..C6 may be chosen to be equal which, for example, provides advantages during manufacturing and regarding the overall cost of the adjustable capacitor 130. In other embodiments the capacitances of the capacitors may be chosen to be different in order to allow greater flexibility in adjusting an adjusted total capacitance. For example, a first number of capacitors may be provided with a base capacitance, a second number of capacitors may be provided with double the base capacitance, and a third number of capacitors may be provided with four times the base capacitance.

[0047] In order to arrive at additional manufacturing and cost advantages the switching elements S1..S6 in adjustable capacitor 130 may be the same as those used in subsea variable speed drive 120 for bypassing power cells, noting that the qualification and testing of any subsea component is a key cost driver and therefore using fewer individual parts is preferable.

[0048] Note that in embodiments of the invention at least one power factor determination unit (not shown) is provided, for example at terminal 121 or 132 in order to more accurately determine the power factor and to provide a parameter representing a power factor measurement to the controller 150 for exercising control of the DEH power supply system 100 and the frequency of the subsea variable speed drive 120 in particular.

[0049] Note again that while the adjustable capacitor 130 has been shown to be arranged in series with load 30 it may also be arranged in parallel.

[0050] The components 120, 130, 150, 160 of subsea DEH power supply system 100 may be arranged inside enclosures (not shown) which may be pressure resistant subsea enclosures wherein an inside pressure of close to one atmosphere is maintained when subsea DEH power supply system 100 is installed subsea. Accordingly, standard electric components may be employed in such embodiments. However, since pressure resistant enclosures tend to be bulky, it may be preferable to provide pressure compensated enclosures for any or all of the components 120, 130, 150, 160 of subsea DEH power supply system 100. Such enclosures are typically filled with a dielectric liquid in which a pressure corresponding to the pressure outside the subsea DEH power supply system 100 prevails. The enclosure may then be constructed more compact and lightweight. The enclosure(s) for components 120, 130, 150, 160 of subsea DEH power supply system 100 can be adapted so that the subsea DEH power supply system 100 can be installed and operated at water depths of more than 100m, more than 500m or even more than 1000m. Note that a mixture of pressure-resistant and pressure-compensated enclosures may be employed for the components 120, 130, 150, 160 of subsea DEH power supply system 100.

[0051] It should further be noted that the instructions for implementing the control processes, methods and/or techniques discussed herein may be provided on computer-readable storage media or memories, such as a cache, buffer, RAM, removable media, hard drive or other computer-readable storage media. Computer-readable storage media include various types of volatile and nonvolatile storage media. The functions, acts or tasks illustrated in the figures or described herein are executed in response to one or more sets of instructions stored in or on computer-readable storage media. The functions, acts or tasks described for example with reference to controller 150 are independent of the particular type of instruction set, storage media, processor or processing strategy and may be performed by software, hardware, integrated circuits, firmware, micro code and the like, operating alone or in combination. Likewise, processing strategies may include multiprocessing, multitasking, parallel processing and the like. In one embodiment, the instructions are stored on a removable media device for reading by local or remote systems. In other embodiments, the instructions are stored in a remote location for transfer through communications lines comprised in an umbilical. In yet other embodiments, the instructions are stored within a given computer, CPU, or system.

[0052] While specific embodiments are disclosed herein, various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and non-restrictive, and all changes coming within the meaning and equivalency range of the appended claims are intended to be embraced therein.


Claims

1. Subsea direct electrical heating power supply system (100) for providing electrical power for heating a subsea pipeline section (30), comprising:

- input means (110A, 110B, 110C) adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a power supply;

- a subsea variable speed drive (120) for receiving electrical power from the input means and for providing an AC output, the subsea variable speed drive comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells (A1..A6), each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell;

- an adjustable subsea capacitor (130) connected to the AC output (121) of the subsea variable speed drive;

- output means (140) adapted to couple the direct electrical heating power supply system to a subsea pipeline section;

- a controller (150) adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) such that if the system output voltage is reduced as a result of bypassing one or more power cells (A1..A6) the current output by the direct electrical heating power supply (100) system is increased.


 
2. The direct electrical heating power supply system (100) of claim 1, wherein the power cells' bypass devices are further adapted to de-bypass the power cell and wherein the controller (150) is further adapted to adjust the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) such that if the system output voltage is increased as a result of de-bypassing one or more power cells the current output by the direct electrical heating power supply system (100) is decreased.
 
3. The direct electrical heating power supply system (100) of any of claims 1 or 2, wherein the controller (150) is further adapted to adjust the frequency of the AC output of the variable speed drive (120) if the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) is adjusted.
 
4. The direct electrical heating power supply system (100) of claim 3, wherein the controller (150) is further adapted to adjust the frequency such that if the capacitance of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) is adjusted the power factor change of the electrical circuit comprising the subsea pipeline section (30) and the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130) is at least partially compensated.
 
5. The direct electrical heating power supply system (100) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the subsea variable speed drive (120) is adapted to provide an AC three-phase output and comprises a plurality of series-connected power cells (A1..A6, B1..B6, C1..C6) for each of the three phases, and wherein a three-phase to one-phase converter (160) is provided for converting the three-phase output of the three-phase variable speed drive to a one-phase AC output (121).
 
6. A direct electrical heating system comprising a power supply, a subsea pipeline section (30), and a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system (100) according to any of the preceding claims.
 
7. The direct electrical heating system of claim 6, wherein the power supply is a three-phase AC power supply.
 
8. The direct electrical heating system of claim 6, wherein the power supply is a DC power supply.
 
9. A method of operating a subsea direct electrical heating power supply system (100) comprising a controller (150), a subsea variable speed drive (120) comprising a plurality of series-connected power cells (A1..A6), each power cell comprising an inverter and a bypass device to selectively bypass the power cell, and an adjustable subsea capacitor (130) connected to an AC output (121) of the subsea variable speed drive, the method comprising through operation of the controller (150):

- monitoring the condition of the power cells (A1..A6);

- upon detecting a fault in a power cell, activating this power cell's bypass device;

- increasing the output current by adjusting the adjustable subsea capacitor (130); and

- adjusting the output frequency so as to at least partially compensate for the power factor change caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130).


 
10. The method of claim 9, further comprising through operation of the controller (150):

- upon detecting the cessation of a fault in a power cell (A1..A6), deactivating this cell's bypass device;

- decreasing the output current by adjusting the adjustable subsea capacitor (130); and

- adjusting the output frequency so as to at least partially compensate for the power factor change caused by the adjusting of the adjustable subsea capacitor (130).


 
11. The method of any of claims 9 or 10, wherein the variable speed drive (120) is adapted to provide an AC three-phase output and comprises a plurality of series-connected power cells (A1..A6, B1..B6, C1..C6) for each of the three phases, further comprising through operation of the controller (150):

- upon detecting a faulted power cell in any one of the three phases, activating this power cell's bypass device and the bypass devices of one power cell in each of the other two phases such that the resulting series of connected power cells is functionally equivalent for all three phases.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description