Formulations and Approximations of Branch Flow Model for General Power Networks

Zhao Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formulations and approximations of the branch flow model for general (radial and mesh) power networks (General-BranchFlow) are given in this paper. Using different sets of the power flow equations, six formats of the exact General-BranchFlow model are listed. The six formats are mathematically equivalent with each other. Linear approximation and second-order cone programming (SOCP) are then used to derive the six formats of the convex General-BranchFlow model. The branch ampacity constraints considering the shunt conductance and capacitance of the transmission line Π-model are derived. The key foundation of deriving the ampacity constraints is the correct interpretation of the physical meaning of the transmission line II-model. An exact linear expression of the ampacity constraints of the power loss variable is derived. The applications of the General-BranchFlow model in deriving twelve formats of the exact optimal power flow (OPF) model and twelve formats of the approximate OPF model are formulated and analyzed. Using the Julia programming language, the extensive numerical investigations of all formats of the OPF models show the accuracy and computational efficiency of the General-BranchFlow model. A penalty function based approximation gap reduction method is finally proposed and numerically validated to improve the AC-feasibility of the approximate General-BranchFlow model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1110-1126
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 State Grid Electric Power Research Institute.

Other keywords

  • ampacity constraint
  • Branch flow
  • linear approximation
  • mesh network
  • optimal power flow
  • radial network
  • second-order cone programming


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