There are several ways to generate electricity. There are "thermal" methods like coal, oil, natural gas, peat, biomass - in all these cases, the energy that is trapped in the form of carbon (found in the ground in the form of fossil fuels) is released by heating the carbon. The problem, as we all know too well, is that the breakdown of carbon through burning it is the by product of gases such as carbon dioxide, a main contributor to global warming. But that is not all. When we burn carbon, there are other pollutants that are released into the atmosphere like sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide. These chemicals are the principal contributors to acid rain.
We also produce electricity by non-fossil fuel methods by using uranium in nuclear fission "reactors" to create enough heat to boil water, which in turn produces large quantities of high pressure steam. This steam turns a turbine which turns a generator that manufactuers electic power through the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy.
There is more than one renewable source of energy to generate electricity, by using solar panels to convert sunlight and wind energy to convert kinetic energy into electric power. In any case dependable power generation, transmission and distribution is critical for providing heat, light and power for human activities. Electric power has been generated for the purpose of powering human technologies for at least 120 years from various sources of potential energy. The first power plants were run on wood, while today we rely mainly on oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric and nuclear power and a small amount from hydrogen, solar energy, tidal harnesses, wind generators, and geothermal sources.
Methods To Produce Electric Power
Rotating turbines attached to electrical generators produce most commercially available electricity. Turbines may be driven by using steam, water, wind or other fluids as an intermediate energy carrier. The most common usage is by steam in fossil fuel power plants or nuclear power plants, and by water in hydroelectric dams. Alternately, turbines can be driven directly by the combustion of natural gas or oil. Combined cycle gas turbine plants offer efficiencies of up to 60%. They generate power by burning natural gas in a gas turbine and use residual heat to generate additional electric power from steam. Wind turbines create power by using the wind. Solar updraft towers use wind that is artificially produced inside the chimney by heating it with sunlight. Solar parabolic troughs and solar power towers concentrate sunlight to heat a heat transfer fluid that is used to produce steam to turn a turbine.
Small power generators are often powered by reciprocating engines burning diesel, biogas or natural gas. Diesel engines are often used to create power, usually at low voltages. Biogas is often combusted where it is produced, such as a landfill or wastewater treatment plant, with a reciprocating engine or a microturbine, which is a small gas turbine.
This 100+ page e-book is a great guide for those who have a basic interest in the field of electricity. This well-illustrated e-book, coupled with some basic knowledge of electricity, will give you a broad theoretical background in this fundamental subject.CONTENTS