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What are Conventional Energy Sources?

by Sonali

The Conventional Energy Sources are helpful in producing electrical power generation. The types of these energy sources are Hydro, Thermal, Nuclear and Diesel power stations.

The power system has mainly three stages i.e. its generation, transmission and distribution. In everyday life we require electricity, it has become a major system evolving in today’s era with advancement in technology. As there is advancement in electronic technology, we need electricity for all those equipment and appliances to run. We can generate this electrical energy from various natural sources. These sources are renewable and non-renewable sources. In the present system most of the energy is produced from non-renewable systems like coal, oil and natural gas. These non-renewable sources need to be limited and hence energy from renewable sources is generated. The renewable sources are solar, wind, water, tidal and biomass. Below discussed plants use conventional energy sources like nuclear, hydro and thermal.

Hydro power plants:

We use water in hydro power plants to run the turbine connected to the generator. The water head needed for running the generator may be available naturally in some areas or they can also be created artificially in the form of dams. These plants are eco-friendly because no fuel is required to run them. 

The above figure shows a hydro plant. The water from the dam is supplied to the water turbine, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy making the turbine run. It converts this kinetic energy from the turbine to electrical energy through a generator. Since, we have seen that the water turbines run at lower speed therefore they require less number of poles of alternator when operated at high speed.

Thermal Plant:

At very high temperature and pressure by burning coal the thermal power plants produces steam in boilers. The turbine experiences a rotational motion when this steam passes through it. Hence, when the turbine rotates there is generation of electricity. As coal is abundantly available in India. The plant’s installation cost reduces as coal is available easily. This is because it is very easily available. As the burning of coal produces smoke it results in pollution of the environment. The chimneys are compulsory part of the thermal power plants as the coal burns and there is leftover ash.

The conversion of chemical energy from coal to heat and steam is in this plant. The generation of electricity takes place when the heat and steam convert turbines energy to mechanical energy.

Nuclear Power Plants:

The nuclear power plants use radioactive elements like U235 and thorium as fuel. We use boilers in thermal power plants for exchanging heat. The nuclear power plants use heat exchanger tubes.

The radioactive elements in the nuclear reactors undergo Fission reaction in the nuclear reactors. The fission reaction generates a large amount of heat as it is a chain reaction. The heat generated passes through the heat exchanger tubes and produces steam of very high temperature. The steam generated produces steam which in turn produces electricity.

Diesel power station:

The generator or alternators move using diesel engines to generate power. The mechanical power required for driving the alternator comes from combustion of the diesel engine. Due to the high cost of diesel these plants are not useful for large scale. Mainly during power cuts in industries, hospitals and commercial buildings these plants are useful.

Then fuel supply system in the plant are storage tanks where we use oil. Mainly we use strainers to remove solid impurities from oil before passing them to the dry tank. The air intake system provides necessary air to the engine for fuel combustion. Some parts in the plant have high temperatures also coolant systems reduces the temperature. We use Compressed air for starting the engine.

They are simple in design and are portable. According to our needs we can stop these power stations. They have high thermal efficiency compared to coal. They also require less space. 

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