SOURCES OF ELECTRICITY !

SOURCES OF ELECTRICITY !

When we step into world of Electrical Engineering, our primary task is to produce the electrical power where as the secondary task is about its distribution and transmission. This article is concerned with the production of electrical power and is helpful for the students of Electrical Engineering.

How electricity is produced?

Electricity is generally produced by the process of Electromagnetic induction. Generally the alternators are used to produce electricity. The alternators work on the principle of electromagnetic induction, when the current carrying conductor cuts the magnetic field then an emf is induced. Now in alternators the Stator contains a permanent magnet fixed on it. On the rotor there is winding of coil, when this coil is energized and the rotor is rotated then an alternation voltage is induced. It is a common observation that the electricity that we are utilizing is generally the Alternating quantity. Hence this is a basic way to generate an electricity.

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On the other side, the solar energy is being utilized to produce electricity but this time not with the help of electromagnetic induction. The solar cells are generally made from the semiconducting materials like silicon or germanium. The solar cells convert the sun rays directly into electricity by exciting the electrons of semiconducting material using the photons of light energy from the sun. Photons from sun-light break up the negative positive pairs. Some of the electrons are knocked out towards the top layer and the conductor strips conduct these electrons and hence electricity is produced.

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Electrical Energy
Since we are familiar with law of conservation of energy “Energy is neither created nor destroyed but can be changed from one form to another.” Electricity is actually a form of energy commonly termed as an electrical energy. This type of energy is not naturally present in the universe but is it produced from other forms of energy.  Here are six common energy sources used to make electricity.

  • Chemical energy. The chemical energy is potential energy that is stored in a chemical substance. This chemical energy is released from the carbon based fuels generally by the process of combustion.

For example: Burning of coal, oil, natural gas.

  •  Thermal energy. Thermal energy is generated with the help of combustion of fossil fuels or undergrounded hot springs and bio masses like wood or with the help of some industrial process.
  •  Kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is energy due to the movement. This energy actually occurs when water moves with the tides or is downstream flow of water or when air moves the wind turbines.
  •   Nuclear energy. This is the energy stored in the bonds inside atoms and molecules. When nuclear energy is released, it emits radioactivity and heat as well. This heat is utilized to in the boiler to produce the steam and rotates the turbines.
  •  Rotational energy. This is the energy of spinning, typically produced by the mechanical devices. This rotational energy plays a vital role in the production of electricity.
  •  Solar energy. Solar energy is a natural source of energy that is obtained from the radiations of sun. These radiations actually possess bundles of energy named as photons. With the help of solar cells like photovoltaic cells we can convert photons into flow of electrons in order to produce the electricity.

Electrical Power Plant A Power plant is an industrial manufacturer of electricity. It generates electricity by using various sources of energy. A power plant contains all the apparatuses which are used to generate electricity like alternators or solar cells. Simply speaking, a power plant is a producer and a supplier of the electricity of a country. Some types of Power Plant are:

  • Hydropower Plant
  • Wind Power Plant
  • Nuclear Power Plant
  • Thermal Power Plant
  • Solar Power Plant

Hydro Power Plant: In Hydropower Plant the water is used as a source to produce electricity.  The stream flow of water helps to rotate the turbine through which rotor of generator rotates and hence the electricity is produced. The inflow of water is controlled by the control gate. Most hydro power plants rely on the dam.Wind Power Plant:  In this power plant the wind energy is used to produce electricity. The wind speed rotates the fans of the wind mill due to which rotor rotates. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins generator to generate electricity.

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Wind Power Plant:
 In this power plant the wind energy is used to produce electricity. The wind speed rotates the fans of the wind mill due to which rotor rotates. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins generator to generate electricity
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 Nuclear Power Plant: In this case the nuclear energy is used to produce electrical energy. We are aware of the fact that the atomic reaction results in some release of energy i-e heat energy. The heat energy released by atomic reactions in nuclear reactor is utilized to produce electrical energy. This heat energy converts the water into the steam at the reactor core. The pressure of steam makes the turbine to rotate due to which rotor rotates and hence the electricity is produced

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Thermal Power Plant: Thermal Power plants use water as a working fluid. The burning of fossil fuels or coals or the atomic reactions (nuclear reactor) is used to produce heat energy. Now this heat converts the water into high pressurized and high temperature steam. This pressurized steam rotates the turbine and electricity is generated.
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  • Solar Power Plant: These power plants utilize the light energy coming from sun to generate electricity. The solar cells are used for this process. A solar cell is an electronic device that directly converts the sun light into electrical energy. Sun light is composed of minute particles known as photons. These photons posses some energy and when these photons fall upon the solar cell (that is actually a semiconducting material) the photons transfer their energy to electron causing them to knock out towards the conduction strip (Photoelectric effect) and hence generating the electricity.

Written by : 
      Shahrukh Gul 
      Department of Electrical Engineering
      MUET

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