We know that there are countless ways to generate electricity in the world, but each uses different raw materials as the main source. In this article we will show you some sources to generate electricity and explain the basic functioning of each one.
The hydroelectric plant uses the flow or fall of water from rivers as a “fuel” to generate electricity and start from the hydraulic source, thus moving the turbines that are connected to generators, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. To build a hydroelectric plant, it is necessary to have a civil, electrical, mechanical engineering project, professionals in the areas of hydraulics and a multitude of professionals from different areas, thus obtaining the best location for the construction of a hydroelectric plant, taking into account the engineering project. , environmental, social and economic impacts in the region, etc.
In the thermoelectric plant , the source of electrical energy is produced from energy released in the form of heat, obtained by burning renewable or non-renewable fuel in the combustion chamber. The steam produced is used to move the blades of the turbines connected to generators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The most widely used fuels are natural gas, biomass and mineral coal as they are abundant in the environment.
Natural gas is a mixture formed over the years, composed of gaseous hydrocarbons and originated from the decomposition of fossilized organic matter. Natural gas is widely used because it has advantages over other fossil fuels with, for example, high calorific value when burning, presenting low levels of pollutant emissions, in case of leaks it has rapid dispersion, low levels of odor and contaminants.
Mineral coal is a mixture of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur and ash, being found by mining process in rocky deposits located underground. Burning coal is harmful to the planet because it emits gases that contribute to the formation of acid rain, the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Biomass is all organic matter of vegetable or animal origin. When burning biomass, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, but as biomass is composed of plants that gave rise to the fuel, a balance of CO2 emissions occurs. In the thermoelectric plant, the most used biomass comes from sugarcane, on average to process one ton of sugarcane and uses 12 kWh of electric energy, which can be generated by the sugarcane residues.
Nuclear electrical energy is generated by dividing the uranium nucleus into two smaller nuclei by bombarding particles like neutrons, this process is called fission, which is carried out in a nuclear reactor at the nuclear plant. The operating principle of the nuclear plant is similar to that of a thermoelectric plant, but the heat is produced by the fission of uranium.
In the nuclear power plant, electricity is generated by heating the water to a temperature of approximately 320 ° C, under a pressure of 157 atm, then passing through pipes that go to the steam generator, then vaporize the water, the steam produced is used to drive turbines connected to generators, thus generating electricity.
Geothermal energy is energy obtained from the heat that exists inside the Earth. The geothermal is made in places that have large volumes of volcanic geothermal waters, where a drilling is made to extract the water vapor that is used to move the blades of the turbines connected to generators, thus generating electricity.
Solar energy is obtained by the sun’s light and heat, and can be used in solar heating, solar photovoltaic energy, heliothermic energy, artificial photosynthesis, etc. We currently have two ways to convert solar energy into electricity through:
Photovoltaic Solar Energy
Photovoltaic solar energy is the conversion of the sun’s light energy into electrical energy by photovoltaic effect, through photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic effect is the creation of electrical voltage or electrical current in a material due to its exposure to sunlight, resulting in the development of electrical voltage between two electrodes. Photovoltaic cells are solid-state electrical devices that convert sunlight into electrical energy, which is used together to form the solar plates used in power plants.
Heliothermic energy or concentrated thermal solar energy is the newest process to generate electrical energy, which is the conversion of thermal energy from the sun into electrical energy. The generation of electric energy in the heliotérmica, consists of several mirrors that are installed around a tower to mirror the sunlight, thus light is reflected and concentrated in the capture panels at the top of the tower, generating enough heat to heat tanks with water that release steam that turns the turbines that generates electric energy.
Maritime energy has its source in the sea, being able to generate electric energy from the sea using the tides, currents, waves, thermal energy, etc. This energy is still being studied and at the moment does not offer competitive costs to other sources of electrical energy. Portugal stands out in research with several pilot projects.
Wind energy is the transformation of kinetic energy obtained by the movement of the wind into useful energy. To transform wind energy into electrical energy, it is necessary to install several wind turbines in a wind farm with large space.
Wind turbines are electric generators connected to the axis of a “giant pinwheel”, which through the movement caused by the wind energy of the event in the pinwheel converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Unlike fossil fuels, wind energy is a renewable, clean energy source, does not produce greenhouse gases during production and the environmental impact is less than that of some energy sources.