Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

Hydroelectric power, or hydroelectricity, is generated by the force of falling water. (Hydro comes from the Greek word for water.) It’s one of the cleanest sources of energy, and it’s also the most reliable and costs the least. Water is needed to run a hydroelectric power-generating unit. The water is held behind a dam, forming an artificial lake, or reservoir. The force of the water being released from the reservoir through the dam spins the blades of a giant turbine. The turbine is connected to the generator that makes electricity as it spins. After passing through the turbine, the water flows back into the river on the other side of the dam. Electricity is produced by spinning electromagnets within a generator’s wire coil that creates a flow of electrons. To keep the electromagnets spinning, hydroelectric stations use falling water. Hydroelectric power plants convert the kinetic energy contained in falling water into electricity. The energy in flowing water is ultimately derived from the sun, and is therefore constantly being renewed. Energy contained in sunlight evaporates water from the oceans and deposits it on land in the form of rain. Differences in land elevation result in rainfall runoff, allowing some of the original solar energy to be captured as hydroelectric power. Most hydroelectric stations use either the natural drop of the river or build a dam across the river to raise the water level and provide the drop needed to create a driving force. Water at the higher level (the fore bay,) goes through the intake into a pipe, called a penstock, which carries it down to the turbine. The turbine is a type of water wheel that converts the water's energy into mechanical power. The turbine is connected to a generator and (4 when the turbine is set in motion it causes the generator to rotate, producing electricity. The falling water, having served its purpose, exits the generating station through the draft tube and the tailrace where it rejoins the river. At Ontario Power Generation (OPG), hydroelectric generation is their lowest-cost power source, producing approximately 34 terawatt-hours in 2002. OPG operates 36 hydroelectric stations, as well as 29 small hydroelectric plants and 240 dams on 26 river systems. The smallest station has a generating Capacity of just 1 megawatt; is the largest more than 1,300 megawatts. A Hydro-electric Power Station uses the 'Potential Energy' (P.E.) of a large, dammed lake situated at a high point above the Power Station. When the water is released (under control) and is allowed to flow by a pipeline to the power station, the P.E. is converted to 'Kinetic Energy' (K.E.) due to the force of the flowing water. This energy is converted to 'Mechanical Energy' in driving powerful water turbines. The turbines are connected by shafts to the 'Power Generators' where the mechanical energy is converted to 'Electrical Energy' which is then fed into the Power Grid and distributed to Industrial and Domestic users who convert the electrical energy into Heat, Light, Mechanical Energy of appliances, motors, compressors,etc.

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com

Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

The Oil Fired stations have exactly the same sequence of conversions but, start with Fossil Fuel-fired boilers, (coal or oil), that produce high pressure, superheated steam which is used to perform the same function as the K.E. of the water (above), in driving the turbines. Gas turbines (very similar to jet-engines), are also used in the same way...these use burning gases in a stream of compressed air. This increases the thermal energy of the air (to about 900°C) and, greatly increases its volume. This high energy air is then used to drive the gas turbines after which follow the same energy conversions as above).

Outflow during a test at the hydropower plant at the Hoover Dam, located on the Nevada-Arizona border. It's hard sometimes to imagine air as a fluid. It just seems so ... invisible. But air is a fluid like any other except that its particles are in gas form instead of liquid. And when air moves quickly, in the form of wind, those particles are moving quickly. Motion means kinetic energy, which can be captured, just like the energy in moving water can be captured by the turbine in a hydroelectric dam. In the case of a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades are designed to capture the kinetic energy As early as 3000 B.C., people in wind. The rest is nearly identical to a hydroelectric setup: used wind energy. See more wind power pictures. When the turbine blades capture wind energy and start moving, they spin a shaft that leads from the hub of the rotor to a generator. The generator turns that rotational energy into electricity. At its essence, generating electricity from the wind is all about transferring energy from one medium to another.

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com

Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

Wind power all starts with the sun. When the sun heats up a certain area of land, the air around that land mass absorbs some of that heat. At a certain temperature, that hotter air begins to rise very quickly because a given volume of hot air is lighter than an equal volume of cooler air. Faster-moving (hotter) air particles exert more pressure than slower-moving particles, so it takes fewer of them to maintain the normal air pressure at a given elevation (see How Hot Air Balloons Work to learn more about air temperature and pressure). When that lighter hot air suddenly rises, cooler air flows quickly in to fill the gap the hot air leaves behind. That air rushing in to fill the gap is wind. If you place an object like a rotor blade in the path of that wind, the wind will push on it, transferring some of its own energy of motion to the blade. This is how a wind turbine captures energy from the wind. The same thing happens with a sail boat. When moving air pushes on the barrier of the sail, it causes the boat to move. The wind has transferred its own energy of motion to the sailboat.

Parts of a Wind Turbine
The simplest possible wind-energy turbine consists of three crucial parts: Rotor blades - The blades are basically the sails of the system; in their simplest form, they act as barriers to the wind (more modern blade designs go beyond the barrier method). When the wind forces the blades to move, it has transferred some of its energy to the rotor. • Shaft - The wind-turbine shaft is connected to the center of the rotor. When the rotor spins, the shaft spins as well. In this way, the rotor transfers its mechanical, rotational energy to the shaft, which enters an electrical generator on the other end. • Generator - At its most basic, a generator is a pretty simple device. It uses the properties of electromagnetic induction to produce electrical voltage - a difference in electrical charge. Voltage is essentially electrical pressure - it is the force that moves electricity, or electrical current, from one point to another. So generating voltage is in effect generating current. A simple generator consists of magnets and a conductor. The conductor is typically a coiled wire. Inside the generator, the shaft connects to an assembly of permanent magnets that surrounds the coil of wire. In electromagnetic induction, if you have a conductor surrounded by magnets, and one of those parts is rotating relative to the other, it induces voltage in the conductor. When the rotor spins the shaft, the shaft spins the assembly of magnets, generating voltage in the coil of wire. That voltage drives electrical current (typically alternating current, or AC power) out through power lines for distribution. (See How Electromagnets Work to learn more about electromagnetic induction, and see How Hydropower Plants Work to learn more about turbine-driven generators.) Now that we've looked at a simplified system, we'll move on to the modern technology you see in wind farms and rural backyards today. It's a bit more complex, but the underlying principles are the same. •

History of Wind Energy
As early as 3000 B.C., people used wind energy for the first time in the form of sail boats in Egypt. Sails captured the energy in wind to pull a boat

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com

Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

across the water. The earliest windmills, used to grind grain, came about either in 2000 B.C. in ancient Babylon or 200 B.C. in ancient Persia, depending on who you ask. These early devices consisted of one or more vertically-mounted wooden beams, on the bottom of which was a grindstone, attached to a rotating shaft that turned with the wind. The concept of using wind energy for grinding grain spread rapidly through the Middle East and was in wide use long before the first windmill appeared in Europe. Starting in the 11th century A.D., European Crusaders brought the concept home with them, and the Dutch-type windmill most of us are familiar with was born. Modern development of wind-energy technology and applications was well underway by the 1930s, when an estimated 600,000 windmills supplied rural areas with electricity and waterpumping services. Once broad-scale electricity distribution spread to farms and country towns, use of wind energy in the United States started to subside, but it picked up again after the U.S. oil shortage in the early 1970s. Over the past 30 years, research and development has fluctuated with federal Photo courtesy GNU.org government interest and tax incentives. Photographer: Michael Reeve In the mid-'80s, wind turbines had a Pitstone Windmill, believed to typical maximum power rating of 150 be the oldest windmill in the British Isles kW. In 2006, commercial, utility-scale turbines are commonly rated at over 1 MW and are available in up to 4 MW capacity. tower - supports rotor and nacelle and lifts entire setup to higher elevation where blades can safely clear the ground • electrical equipment - carries electricity from generator down through tower and controls many safety elements of turbine From start to finish, the process of generating electricity from wind -- and delivering that electricity to people who need it -- looks something like this: •

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com

Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

Solar-powering a House
What would you have to do to power your house with solar energy? Although it's not as simple as just slapping some modules on your roof, it's not extremely difficult to do, either. First of all, not every roof has the correct orientation or angle of inclination to take advantage of the sun's energy. Non-tracking PV systems in the Northern Hemisphere should point toward true south (this is the orientation). They should be inclined at an angle equal to the area's latitude to absorb the maximum amount of energy year-round. A different orientation and/or inclination could be used if you want to maximize energy production for the morning or afternoon, and/or the summer or winter. Of course, the modules should never be shaded by nearby trees or buildings, no matter the time of day or the time of year. In a PV module, even if just one of its 36 cells is shaded, power production will be reduced by more than half. If you have a house with an unshaded, south-facing roof, you need to decide what size system you need. This is complicated by the facts that your electricity production depends on the weather, which is never completely predictable, and that your electricity demand will also vary. These hurdles are fairly easy to clear. Meteorological data gives average monthly sunlight levels for different geographical areas. This takes into account rainfall and cloudy days, as well as altitude, humidity, and other more subtle factors. You should design for the worst month, so that you'll have enough electricity all year. With that data, and knowing your average household

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com

Keiron Nanan

Trinidad W.I.

demand (your utility bill conveniently lets you know how much energy you use every month),there are simple methods you can use to determine just how many PV modules you'll need. You'll also need to decide on a system voltage, which you can control by deciding how many modules to wire in series. You may have already guessed a couple of problems that we'll have to solve. First, what do we do when the sun isn't shining?

You've probably seen calculators that have solar cells -- calculators that never need batteries, and in some cases don't even have an off button. As long as you have enough light, they seem to work forever. You may have seen larger solar panels -- on emergency road signs or call boxes, on buoys, even in parking lots to power lights. Although these larger panels aren't as common as solar powered calculators, they're out there, and not that hard to spot if you know where to look. There are solar cell arrays on satellites, where they are used to power the electrical systems. Your Browser Does Not Support iFrames You have probably also been hearing about the "solar revolution" for the last 20 years -- the idea that one day we will all use free electricity from the sun. This is a seductive promise: On a bright, sunny day, the sun shines approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet's surface, and if we could collect all of that energy we could easily power our homes and offices for free.

Photo courtesy DOE/NREL Photo credit SunLine Transit Agency

Solar panels absorb energy to produce hydrogen at SunLine Transit Agency. In this article, we will examine solar cells to learn how they convert the sun's energy directly into electricity. In the process, you will learn why we are getting closer to using the sun's energy on a daily basis, and why we still have more research to do before the process becomes cost effective.

20/11/2008

keirontt0301@hotmail.com