Active PFC vs passive PFC | Difference between active PFC and passive PFC

This page compares active PFC vs passive PFC (Power Factor Corrector) and mentions difference between active PFC and passive PFC (Power Factor Corrector).

Power factor is the ratio of real power (in KW) to total power (in KVA). It can also be defined as cosine which represents phase angle between current and voltage waveforms. The power factor is associated with industrial equipments e.g. motors.

Power factor correctors are used to apply power factor correction. They are used to avoid current harmonics at the input which helps to minimize interference from other devices which are also powered from the same source.

• There are two types of power factor correctors (PFC) viz. active PFC and passive PFC.
• Active PFC uses passive components such as inductors and capacitors in order to correct poor power factors (PFs). It corrects PF to about 0.7 to 0.85 range.
• Active PFC uses active electronic circuitry such as MOSFETs, FETs, BJTs, IGBTs etc.

Following table summarizes difference between active PFC and passive PFC.

Active PFC Passive PFC
small and light components Simple and rugged circuits
High power factor (about 0.99) Low power
It complies with IEC61000-3-2 It can not correct nonlinear loads completely
Great flexibility and control Bulky and heavy magnetics required
Good EMC characteristics Not a source of EMC
Able to operate in universal input range Not possible for universal input range

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