Thermal power plants are one of the main sources of electricity in both industrialized and developing countries. These plants have drawn flak on consumption of non-renewable sources of energy at a rapid rate and also since they release huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The anti-greenhouse gas activists are calling for thermal power to be replaced by other cleaner sources of energy. Functioning of thermal power plant:
In a thermal power plant, one of coal, oil or natural gas is used to heat the boiler to convert the water into steam. The steam is used to turn a turbine, which is connected to a generator. When the turbine turns, electricity is generated and given as output by the generator, which is then supplied to the consumers through high-voltage power lines. Detailed process of power generation in a thermal power plant: 1) Water intake: Firstly, water is taken into the boiler through a water source. If water is available in a plenty in the region, then the source is an open pond or river. If water is scarce, then it is recycled and the same water is used over and over again. 2) Boiler heating: The boiler is heated with the help of oil, coal or natural gas. A furnace is used to heat the fuel and supply the heat produced to the boiler. The increase in temperature helps in the transformation of water into steam. 3) Steam Turbine: The steam generated in the boiler is sent through a steam turbine. The turbine has blades that rotate when high velocity steam flows across them. This rotation of turbine blades is used to generate electricity. 4) Generator: A generator is connected to the steam turbine. When the turbine rotates, the generator produces electricity which is then passed on to the power distribution systems. 5) Special mountings: There is some other equipment like the economizer and air pre-heater. An economizer uses the heat from the exhaust gases to heat the feed water. An air pre-heater heats the air sent into the combustion chamber...
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