Term: Electricity Generation

Electricity Generation

Electricity generation is the process of generating electricity from primary sources of energy. The process takes place at power plants where electromechanical generators, mostly driven by heat engines, produce electricity by turning a central electromagnetic shaft (rotor) that is surrounded by a series of insulated coils. As the rotor turns it causes an electric flow within each coil and the coil becomes a separate electric conductor. The currents then merge and become a single current of electricity used by energy consumers. The mechanical generators are fueled by combustion, nuclear fusion, or by kinetic energy supplied by wind or water.

Types of Turbines

Steam Turbine: Steam turbines produce the majority of the world’s electricity. These turbines use a boiler to burn fuel to produce hot water and steam within a heat exchanger. The steam powers the turbine which in turn powers a generator. In the case of nuclear power, nuclear fuel rods are used to produce steam.


Combustion (gas) Turbine: Combustion turbines burn gaseous or liquid fuels to generate hot gasses to turn the turbine blades.


Hydraulic Turbine: Hydraulic turbines use the force of running or falling water to spin the turbine blades to generate electricity.


Wind Turbines: Wind turbines use the wind to generate electricity.


Other Types of Generators: 


Solar photovoltaic cells directly convert sunlight into electricity. This is currently the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in the world.


Internal Combustion Engines: This type of electricity generation is good for remote areas and is often used as an emergency power supply or mobile power supply.

Types of Energy Sources

There are various sources upon which to draw in order to produce electricity. 


Fossil Fuels: The fossil fuel category consists of coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The majority of production comes from these sources.


Nuclear Energy: One=fifth of the US electricity was produced through nuclear power in 2021.


Renewable Energy: Accounting for 20% of the US electricity production, renewable energy includes biomass, hydropower, geothermal power, wind, and solar.

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