Power station

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A power station (also referred to as a generating station, power plant, powerhouse or generating plant) is an industrial facility for the generation of electric power.[1][2][3] At the center of nearly all power stations is a generator, a rotating machine that converts mechanical power into electrical power by creating relative motion between a magnetic field and a conductor. The energy source harnessed to turn the generator varies widely. It depends chiefly on which fuels are easily available, cheap enough and on the types of technology that the power company has access to. Most power stations in the world burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity, and some use nuclear power, but there is an increasing use of cleaner renewable sources such as solar, wind, wave and hydroelectric. Central power stations produce AC power, after a brief Battle of Currents in the 19th century demonstrated the advantages of AC distribution.

Big Bend Power Station in Florida, United States.

1 History 2 Thermal power stations 2.1 Classification 2.1.1 By fuel 2.1.2 By prime mover 2.1.3 By duty 2.2 Cooling towers 3 Power from renewable energy 3.1 Hydroelectricity 3.2 Pumped storage 3.3 Solar 3.4 Wind 3.5 Marine 3.6 Osmosis 4 Typical power output 5 Operations 6 See also 7 References 8 External links
"Camouflaged" Power Station (conceptual design)

limited by voltage drop in the feeders. were developed.[4] The station consisted of 24 dynamo electric generators which were driven by a steam engine. and rotating frequency changers and rotating converters were particularly common to feed electric railway systems from the general lighting and power network. For example. and more labor intensive to operate than much larger central AC generating stations. using higher steam pressures to provide greater efficiency. Edward Johnson. The first public power station was the Edison Electric Light Station. It was used to illuminate a grotto in the gardens of Linderhof Palace. and relying on interconnections of multiple generating stations to improve reliability and cost. The advent of the steam turbine in central station service. and traction systems and heavy motor load systems preferring lower frequencies. This was an initiative of Thomas Edison that was organized and managed by his partner. lighting load using higher frequencies. Because of the DC distribution. could feed commuter railway systems during rush hour and then serve lighting load in the evening. Another important customer was the Telegraph Office of the General Post Office. which started operation in January 1882. Thermal power stations Main article: Thermal power station . Generators were no longer limited by the power transmission of belts or the relatively slow speed of reciprocating engines. Holborn Viaduct. around 1906. and could grow to enormous sizes. AC systems used a wide range of frequencies depending on the type of load. High-voltage AC transmission allowed hydroelectric power to be conveniently moved from distant waterfalls to city markets. which was the monopoly of the gas companies. but scrapped the plans when turbines became available in the necessary size. The customers included the City Temple and the Old Bailey. the Pearl Street Station was established by Edison to provide electric lighting in the lower Manhattan Island area. This supplied electricity to premises in the area that could be reached through the culverts of the viaduct without digging up the road.History The world's first power station was built and designed by Sigmund Schuckert in the Bavarian town of Ettal and went into operation in 1878. Many exceptions existed. The same generating plant that fed large industrial loads during the day. The War of Currents eventually resolved in favor of AC distribution and utilization. Pioneers of central station generation include George Westinghouse and Samuel Insull in the United States. the service area was small. via Holborn Tavern and Newgate. operating at a common frequency. allowed great expansion of generating capacity.[5] In September 1882 in New York. although some DC systems persisted to the end of the 20th century. but this could not be reached though the culverts. Building power systems out of central stations required combinations of engineering skill and financial acumen in equal measure. Johnson arranged for the supply cable to be run overhead. built in London at 57. A Babcock and Wilcox boiler powered a 125 horsepower steam engine that drove a 27 ton generator called Jumbo. The station ran until destroyed by fire in 1890. Ferranti and Charles Hesterman Merz in UK. and many others. less efficient of fuel consumption. Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti planned what would have been the largest reciprocating steam engine ever built for a proposed new central station. Throughout the first few decades of the 20th century central stations became larger. The economics of central station generation improved greatly when unified light and power systems. thus improving the system load factor and reducing the cost of electrical energy overall. generating stations were dedicated to power or light by the choice of frequency. after the celebrated elephant. The station used reciprocating steam engines to turn direct-current generators. DC systems with a service radius of a mile (kilometer) or so were necessarily smaller.

If this loss is employed as useful heat. there are dedicated heat plants called heat-only boiler stations. For the same steam conditions. into rotational energy. municipal solid waste. Rotor of a modern steam turbine. there is always heat lost to the environment. About 20% of electric generation in the USA is produced by nuclear power plants. mechanical power is produced by a heat engine that transforms thermal energy. usually in a steam boiler and turbine. Most thermal power stations produce steam. Most commonly. landfill methane. Solar thermal electric plants use sunlight to boil water and produce steam which turns the generator. if a system is on constantly (base load) it will be more efficient than one that is used intermittently (peak load). operate a steam turbine generator. fuel. United Nuclear power plants[6] use a nuclear reactor's heat to States.In thermal power stations. Waste heat from industrial processes is occasionally concentrated enough to use for power generation. blast furnace exhaust gas is a low-cost. In integrated steel mills. The combination of a "top" cycle and a "bottom" cycle produces higher overall efficiency than either cycle can attain alone. In countries where district heating is common. Clair Power Plant. Overall. The efficiency of a steam turbine is limited by the maximum temperature of the steam produced and is not directly a function of the fuel used. A coal-fired power station produces electricity by burning coal to generate steam. which contributes to global warming. a large coal-fired USA is produced by coal-fired power plants generating station in Michigan. one way to improve overall efficiency of a power plant is to combine two different thermodynamic cycles. Biomass-fuelled power plants may be fuelled by waste from sugar cane. according to the second law of thermodynamics. coal. Geothermal power plants use steam extracted from hot underground rocks. or other forms of biomass. nuclear and gas power plants all have the same theoretical efficiency. . used in power station. Therefore. exhaust gases from a gas turbine are used to generate steam for a boiler and steam turbine. although low-energy-density. About 50% of electric generation in the St. Classification By fuel Fossil-fuel power stations may also use a steam turbine generator or in the case of natural gas-fired plants may use a combustion turbine. An important class of power stations in the Middle East uses by-product heat for the desalination of water. Not all thermal energy can be transformed into mechanical power. often from combustion of a fuel. and has the side-effect of producing large amounts of sulfur dioxide which pollutes air and water and carbon dioxide. Besides use of reject heat for process or district heating. the power plant is referred to as a cogeneration power plant or CHP (combined heat-and-power) plant. and these are sometimes called steam power stations. for industrial processes or district heating.

such as landfill gas. which can be started up rapidly when system peaks are predicted.By prime mover Steam turbine plants use the dynamic pressure generated by expanding steam to turn the blades of a turbine. Baseload plants can be highly optimized for low fuel cost. the hot exhaust gas from the gas turbine to produce Iceland. Combined cycle plants have both a gas turbine fired by natural gas. These may be comparatively small units. These are usually fuelled by diesel oil. Hydroelectric plants may also be designed for peaking use. electricity. and sometimes completely unmanned. Peaking power plants meet the daily peak load. digester gas from water treatment plants and waste gas from oil production. By duty Power plants that can be dispatched (scheduled) to provide energy to a system include: Base load power plants run nearly continually to provide that component of system load that doesn't vary during a day or week. natural gas. This type was pioneered by the UK. industrial plants. heavy oil. and other critical facilities also use them to provide backup power in case of a power outage. but may not start or stop quickly during changes in system load. at lower . Natural-gas fuelled (and oil fueled) combustion turbine plants can start rapidly and so are used to supply "peak" energy during periods of high demand. Internal combustion reciprocating engines are used to provide power for isolated communities and are frequently used for small cogeneration plants. commissioned in 1959. and many new baseload power plants are combined cycle plants fired by natural gas. being remotely operated. About 90% of all electric power produced in the world is by use of steam turbines. Almost all large non-hydro plants use this system. gases (air and combustion products) to directly operate the turbine. Examples of base-load plants would include large modern coal-fired and nuclear generating stations. Peaking plants include simple cycle gas turbines and sometimes reciprocating internal combustion engines. office buildings. they are required to ensure security of the system during load peaks. Hospitals. Stirling engine and internal combustion reciprocating engines are low-cost solutions for using opportunity fuels.[7] Gas turbine plants use the dynamic pressure from flowing Ikata Nuclear Power Plant. Microturbines. While their incremental operating cost is always higher than base load plants. Princetown[8] being the world's first. or hydro plants with a predictable supply of water. Load following power plants can economically follow the variations in the daily and weekly load. and landfill gas. which may only be for a one or two hours each day. and a steam boiler and steam turbine which use Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. Japan. This greatly increases the overall efficiency of the plant. though at higher cost than base-loaded plants.

Contractual arrangements ( "take or pay") with independent power producers or system interconnections to other networks may be effectively non-dispatchable. petroleum refineries. The waste heat produces a temperature rise in the atmosphere which is small compared to that produced by greenhouse-gas emissions from the same power plant. boxlike structures filled with a material that enhances the mixing of the upflowing air and the downflowing water. the waste heat can cause the temperature of the water to rise detectably. United Kingdom. a lake.cost than peaking plants and with more flexibility than baseload plants. Where economically and environmentally possible. instead of a cooling tower. or a river. geothermal. the mechanical induced-draft or forced-draft wet cooling towers in many large thermal power plants. a dry cooling tower or directly air-cooled radiators may be necessary. Non-dispatchable plants include such sources as wind and solar energy. petrochemical plants. compared to a typical wet. or a cooling pond. nuclear power plants. evaporative cooling tower. Cooling towers Main article: Cooling tower All thermal power plants produce waste heat energy as a byproduct of the useful electrical energy produced. biomass and waste-to-energy plants use fans to provide air movement upward through downcoming water. These coolers have lower efficiency and higher energy consumption to drive fans. on a short-term (daily or hourly) base their energy must be used as available since generation cannot be deferred. Gas-fired power plants can achieve 50% conversion efficiency while coal and oil plants achieve around 30–49%. However. The amount of waste heat energy equals or exceeds the amount of energy converted into useful electricity . since the cost or environmental consequences of obtaining make-up water for evaporative cooling would be prohibitive. while their long-term contribution to system energy supply is predictable. Power plants using natural bodies of water . fossil-fired power plants. However. and are not hyperboloid chimney-like structures. This type of cooling can save the cost of a cooling tower and may have lower energy costs for pumping cooling water through the plant's heat exchangers. Natural draft wet cooling towers at many nuclear power plants and large fossil fuel-fired power plants use large hyperboloid chimney-like structures (as seen in the image at the left) that release the waste heat to the ambient atmosphere by the evaporation of water. The induced or forced-draft cooling towers are typically rectangular.[9][10] "Camouflaged" natural draft wet cooling tower In areas with restricted water use. Cooling towers evaporating water at Ratcliffe-onSoar Power Station. electric companies prefer to use cooling water from the ocean.

Pumped storage plants typically use "spare" electricity during off peak periods to pump water from a lower reservoir or dam to an upper reservoir. recycled wastewater. Unlike coal power stations. Water consumption by power stations is a developing issue.for cooling must be designed to prevent intake of organisms into the cooling machinery. Two substantial pumped storage schemes are in South Africa. A further environmental impact is that aquatic organisms which adapt to the warmer discharge water may be injured if the plant shuts down in cold weather. or in a concentrating solar power plant by focusing the light to run a heat engine. has been used in cooling towers. the hydroelectric plant can be brought into service in a few minutes. Pumped storage Main article: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity Three Gorges Dam A pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant is a net consumer of energy but can be used to smooth peaks and troughs in overall electricity demand. from the energy provided by difference in water level upstream and downstream. Power from renewable energy Power stations can also generate electrical energy from renewable energy sources. Natal Solar Main article: Solar power Solar energy can be turned into electricity either directly in solar cells. when the electricity price is high. Hydroelectricity Main article: Hydroelectricity Dams built to produce hydroelectricity impound a reservoir of water and release it through one or more water turbines. Because the electricity is consumed "off peak" it is typically cheaper than power at peak times. or grey water. connected to generators. This is because the "base load" power stations.[11] In recent years. cannot be switched on and off quickly so remain in service even when demand is low. ideal to meet a peak load demand. The Calpine Riverside and the Calpine Fox power stations in Wisconsin as well as the Calpine Mankato power station in Minnesota are among these facilities. which are typically coal fired. . and generate electricity. one to the East of Cape Town (Palmiet) and one in the Drakensberg. which can take more than 12 hours to start up from cold. During hours of peak demand. the water pumped to the high reservoir is allowed to flow back to the lower reservoir through a water turbine connected to an electricity generator.

which turns a turbine that drives an electrical generator. With larger turbines (on the order of one megawatt). The heated oil is then used to boil water into steam. USA. Wind turbines in Texas. such as oil. Marine Main article: Marine energy Marine energy or marine power (also sometimes referred to as ocean energy or ocean power) refers to the energy carried by ocean waves. but almost all modern turbines being produced today use a three-bladed. The oceans have a tremendous amount of energy and are close to many if not most concentrated populations. the heat is used to produce steam to turn turbines that drive electrical generators. Inverters change the direct current into alternating current for connection to the electrical grid. Many different designs have been used in the past. tides. Nellis Solar Power Plant in Nevada. the blades move more slowly than older. upwind design. Grid-connected wind turbines now being built are much larger than the units installed during the 1970s. and ocean temperature differences. depending on size. transport and industries. The central tower type of solar thermal power plant uses hundreds or thousands of mirrors. or energy in motion. and so produce power more cheaply and reliably than earlier models.A solar photovoltaic power plant converts sunlight into direct current electricity using the photoelectric effect. as wind power is derived from the wind. even if the wind turbines are placed over water. The term marine energy encompasses both wave power — power from surface waves. Again. smaller. Offshore wind power is not a form of marine energy. United States. This type of plant does not use rotating machines for energy conversion. to direct sunlight onto a receiver on top of a tower.[12] Osmosis Main article: Osmotic power . Ocean energy has the potential of providing a substantial amount of new renewable energy around the world. sometimes offshore. This energy can be harnessed to generate electricity to power homes. and tidal power — obtained from the kinetic energy of large bodies of moving water. salinity. The movement of water in the world’s oceans creates a vast store of kinetic energy. They use either parabolic troughs or heliostats to direct sunlight onto a pipe containing a heat transfer fluid. units. steady winds. Wind Main article: Wind power Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity in areas with strong. which makes them less visually distracting and safer for airborne animals. Solar thermal power plants are another type of solar power plant.

The Medway Power Station. typically megawatts (106 watts) or gigawatts (109 watts). except at times of scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. have the following output: The country's largest solar facility at Kramer Junction has an output of 354 MW The planned Blythe Solar Power Project will produce an estimated 968 MW Large coal-fired. Some power plants are run at almost exactly their rated capacity all the time. Some examples: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in the USA has a rated capacity of 802 megawatts.[14] The rated capacity of a power station is nearly the maximum electrical power that that power station can produce.5 gigawatts when complete.5 MW of power. The Aswan Dam hydro-electric plant in Egypt has a capacity of 2. with a single gas turbine is rated 140 megawatts. As the pressure differences are compensated.Salinity gradient energy is called pressure-retarded osmosis. Freshwater is also pumped into the pressure chamber through a membrane. Power stations vary greatly in capacity depending on the type of power plant and on historical. The Three Gorges Dam hydro-electric plant in China will have a capacity of 22. is rated 700 megawatts. followed by the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center (735. Some examples: The Indian Queens simple-cycle peaking power station in Cornwall UK. Gas turbine power plants can generate tens to hundreds of megawatts. 2009. As of November 2010. As of April 2012. the Thanet Offshore Wind Project in United Kingdom is the largest offshore wind farm in the world at 300 MW. As of 2011. a combined-cycle power station in Kent. nuclear. which increase both the volume and pressure of the chamber. 18. The following examples offer a sense of the scale. followed by Horns Rev II (209 MW) in Denmark. the Roscoe Wind Farm is the second largest onshore wind farm in the world.S. This method is being specifically studied by the Norwegian utility Statkraft. the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are led by India's Gujarat Solar Park rated at 605 megawatts. producing 781.2 gigawatts capacity is operating as of 2010. many power plants usually produce much less power than their rated capacity. A planned installation in China will produce 2000 megawatts at peak. as a non-load-following base load power plant. UK with two gas turbines and one steam turbine. . Typical power output The power generated by a power station is measured in multiples of the watt. However.5 MW). Statkraft has built the world's first prototype osmotic power plant on the Oslo fiord which was opened on November 24. The coal-fired Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in the UK has a rated capacity of 2 gigawatts. geographical and economic factors. which has calculated that up to 25 TWh/yr would be available from this process in Norway.[15] In this method.[13] Solar thermal power stations in the U. seawater is pumped into a pressure chamber that is at a pressure lower than the difference between the pressures of saline water and fresh water. Many of the largest operational onshore wind farms are located in the USA.1 gigawatts. and hydroelectric power stations can generate hundreds of Megawatts to multiple Gigawatts. a turbine is spun creating energy.

without upsetting the system. See also Battery-to-grid mini-power plants Combined heat and power Cooling tower system District heating Electricity generation Environmental concerns with electricity generation Flue gas stacks Fossil-fuel power station Geothermal power List of largest power stations in the world List of thermal power station failures Plant efficiency Relative cost of electricity generated by different sources Virtual power plant References 1. ^ British Electricity International (1991). They are able to synchronize and adjust the voltage output of the added generation with the running electrical system.e. Operators keep power plants turned off ("operational reserve") or running at minimum fuel consumption[citation needed] ("spinning reserve") most of the time. The cost of fuel to run a load following power plant may be relatively high. They must know the electrical and mechanical systems in order to troubleshoot solve/fix problems in the facility and add to the reliability of the facility. Modern Power Station Practice: incorporating modern power system . and the cost of fuel to run a peaking power plant is even higher—they have relatively high marginal costs. Operators are responsible for starting and stopping. and then feed more fuel into peaking power plants only when the demand rises faster than the load following power plants can follow. the generators depending on need. it may be zero during heavy storms at night.In some cases a power plant produces much less power than its rated capacity because it uses an intermittent energy source.. In some cases operators deliberately produce less power for economic reasons. Operators must be able to respond to an emergency and know the procedures in place to deal with it. because their marginal cost is practically zero. Operations The power station operator has several duties in the electricity-generating facility. Operators are responsible for the safety of the work crews that frequently do repairs on the mechanical and electrical equipment. intermittent and base load plants) can produce. pressures and other important information at regular intervals. Operators try to pull maximum available power from such power plants. but the available power varies widely—in particular. Operators feed more fuel into load following power plants only when the demand rises above what lower-cost plants (i. They maintain the equipment with periodic inspections and log temperatures.

gov/power/coalart.). Sustainable or Not? Impacts and Uncertainties of Low-Carbon Energy Technologies on Water.htm) Retrieved from "http://en. ^ Wiser. 190.php?title=Power_station&oldid=550913255" Categories: Chemical engineering Power stations This page was last modified on 18 April 2013 at 02:46. McGraw-Hill Professional. 2. 8.com/en/library/detail/cooling-tower-fundamentals/) 10. SPX Cooling Technologies.uk/books? id=bfVKt7UzjnEC&pg=PA89).).org/cgi-bin/db.tva. (http://spxcooling. (1967).bls. Robert Swanekamp (coauthors) (1997).industcards.vgb. European Commission.pl/pris. ed.org/db_kks_eng. Standard Handbook of Powerplant Engineering (2nd edition ed. January 2006 13. you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.wikipedia.). Pergamon. ^ Carbon Trust. "The electricity of Holborn" (http://books.page.oprconst. by International Atomic Energy Agency 7. Wendell H.co. ^ David Gugerli (1996). Elliott.iaea. Aqueous Wastes from Petroleum and Petrochemical Plants (4th Edition ed. ^ J. Distributors. By using this site. Redeströme: Zur Elektrifizierung der Schweiz 1880-1914.is (http://islandsmyndir. Energy resources: occurrence. ^ SWEB's Pocket Power Stations (http://www. Netherlands 12. New Scientist 6.). use (http://books. Kao Chen. ISBN 0-9634570-0-4. Results of the Marine Energy Challenge: Cost competitiveness and growth of wave and tidal stream energy. additional terms may apply. Petten. ^ http://blogs..org/climatechange/will-china-and-us-be-partners-or-rivals-new-energy-economy 14.google. JRC Institute for Energy.practice (3rd Edition (12 volume set) ed. 3. ^ CCGT Plants in South England (http://www. Future Marine Energy. Chronos Verlag 5. ^ Jack Harris (14 January 1982).com/cc-england-south. conversion. ^ Babcock & Wilcox Co. production. 4. ISBN 0-08-040510-X. ^ Thomas C.industcards. . (2005).). p. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation. Steam: Its Generation and Use (41st edition ed.google.org/w/index. (2000).org) Power Plants in Iceland.com/top-100-pt-1.worldbank.htm). Hensley (Editor) (2006).htm).C.uk/docs/news13su. ^ Beychok.htm) Largest Power Plants in the World (http://www.com/books? id=UmMx9ixu90kC&pg=PA190&dq=electrical+power+generators+steam+percent&hl=en&ei=JppoTpVexNmBB4 C72MkM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDgQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=steam&f=false) . ISBN 0-07-019435-1.co.html) 9. ISBN 978-0-387-98744-6.21 Feb 2011.htm) Database of carbon emissions of power plants worldwide (Carbon Monitoring For Action: CARMA) (http://www. Milton R. John Wiley and Sons. Dr Evangelos Tzimas . LCCN 67019834. ^ Nuclear Power Plants Information (http://www. (Includes cooling tower material balance for evaporation emissions and blowdown effluents.gov/oco/ocos227.swehs. Birkhäuser.carma. Available in many university libraries) 11. and Dispatchers (Occupational Outlook Handbook) (http://www.html) Power station diagram (http://www. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Inc.htm) Power Plant Operators. Washington DC. by Power Plants Around the World External links Identification System for Power Stations (KKS) (http://www. a non-profit organization. ^ AAAS Annual Meeting 17 . Photogallery by islandsmyndir. Cooling Tower Fundamentals (2nd Ed.is/html_skjol/annad/Virkjanir/forsida_virkjanir.