Convex hull of the quadratic branch ac power flow equations and its application in radial distribution networks

Qifeng Li, Vijay Vittal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


A branch flow model (BFM) is used to formulate the AC power flow in general networks. For each branch/line, the BFM contains a nonconvex quadratic equality. A mathematical formulation of its convex hull is proposed, which is the tightest convex relaxation of this quadratic equation. The convex hull formulation consists of a second-order cone inequality and a linear inequality within the physical bounds of power flows. The convex hull formulation is analytically proved and geometrically validated. An optimal scheduling problem of distributed energy storage (DES) in radial distribution systems with high penetration of photovoltaic resources is investigated in this paper. To capture the performance of both the battery and converter, a second-order DES model is proposed. Following the convex hull of the quadratic branch flow equation, the convex hull formulation of the nonconvex constraint in the DES model is also derived. The proposed convex hull models are used to generate a tight convex relaxation of the DES optimal scheduling problem. The proposed approach is tested on several radial systems. A discussion on the extension to meshed networks is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-852
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Battery
  • Convex hull
  • Convex relaxation
  • Distributed energy storage (DES)
  • Distribution systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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