Electricity is considered to be the lifeblood of human being as everything now runs on electricity from watches to vehicles. All power generating plants have the same objective to generate electricity as efficiently as possible.
However, the energy sources used in power plants have also changed as technology advances. The implementation of more renewable forms of energy has increased the demand for more power plants.
How power plants use different resources to generate electricity?
There are various types of power stations in the world that works together to fulfil the rising need for electricity. A power plant mainly depends on the type of fuel used. Power plants can typically be classified into two groups: conventional and unconventional power plants.
Conventional power plants
Fossil fuel power plants
It generates electricity by combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, gas or diesel.
Coal-fired power plant
This type of power stations using steam coal as a power source, and thus discharge a substantial amount of toxic gases to the atmosphere. Many countries announced plans for phasing out coal-fired power plants in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Diesel fired power plant
This type of energy plants is used for small-scale electric power generation with diesel as fuel. These are installed in areas where alternative power sources are not readily available and are used primarily as a backup due to outages and reducing load pressure. Diesel plants need only a small area and have a higher heat output than coal-fired power plants. Due to high maintenance costs and diesel prices, power generation plants have been less common than other power production plant types such as steam and hydropower.
Gas power plant
A gas-fired powered station is a thermal power plant for which natural gas is used to produce electricity. Natural gas power stations produce a quarter of global energy and a major part of global emissions of greenhouse gas.
Nuclear power plants
Nuclear power plants are capable of producing massive amounts of energy. A nuclear power station operates through the transformation of nuclear energy into electricity.
Hydroelectric power plants
Hydroelectric power plants are among the most effective and environmentally friendly of all power plants. Electricity from water is produced at a hydroelectric power station. Electricity is generated by the construction of dams on suitable rivers. Hydroelectric power plants use water from rivers and reservoirs to spin a turbine and generate electricity. This source of energy tends to be more reliable than other renewable resources, especially when the facility runs off a reservoir.
Unconventional power plants are
Wind power plants
The number of wind farms around the world has grown rapidly in recent years, powered by advances in technology. Wind power plants are using wind turbines to convert wind power to electricity. They also deliver clean energy very efficiently.
Solar power plants
Solar power plants are using the sun’s energy to generate power. Solar panels absorb and transform sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. Most of the countries around the globe are finding solar power to compensate for their reliance on fossil fuels.
However, the initial costs for the set-up of solar plants are high, and the plants need a great deal of space.
Geothermal power plants
Geothermal power stations are similar to those of steam turbines. But generally, they use the natural heat stored in deep earth layers to generate electricity instead of fossil fuels. The three most important types of geothermal plants include dry steam, steam flash and binary cycle power plants, all of which are powered by steam turbines. Geothermal power plants are considered environmentally friendly and emit less toxic gases than coal-fired power stations.
Tidal power plants
Tidal energy is produced by the conversion of power from tides and such energy is seen as more reliable than wind and solar power. Still, even though the first large tidal power plant was operational in 1966, tidal power is still not widely used.
However, the increased focus on renewable energy generation will promote the development of new technologies for tidal energy generation. The production of the tidal power market is still in the developing stage.
Biomass power plants
Electricity is produced from natural organic matter. The bulk of bio-power plants are using direct combustion systems. They use biomass to make high-pressure steam directly that drives electricity generators. The produced or used steam is also used for manufacturing or heating processes in some biomass industries.