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Shunt active power filters (APF) are used in power systems for the compensation of harmonic currents generated for non linear loads. A new digital reference current estimation method for control of APF using a Kalman digital algorithm is presented. Its capability of prediction avoids the effects of computational lags derived from the digital signal processing. The characteristics of the proposed technique are: the harmonic current compensation in a global or a selective way, the fast dynamical response and its independence from disturbances in the line voltage waveform. Simulation and experimental results under distorted supply voltages demonstrate the usefulness of the presented technique to improve the filtering performance.