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Electrical power

Big Bend Power Station, near Apollo Beach, Tampa Bay, Florida, is a major coal-fired power plant. Warm water from the plant...Read More >>Big Bend Power Station, near Apollo Beach, Tampa Bay, Florida, is a major coal-fired power plant. Warm water from the plant attracts manatees during the winter. Electricity is a type of energy that gives us heat and light and drives machines. To be useful, electricity must be made to flow in a current. In 1831 the British scientist Michael Faraday used a magnet to produce electricity. He moved a loop of wire over the magnet, causing an electric current to flow along the wire. This principle is used to generate electricity in power stations today.


Cross-section through a generator. In a generator at a modern power station, the coil that produces the electric current,...Read More >>Cross-section through a generator. In a generator at a modern power station, the coil that produces the electric current, sometimes called the armature, is kept stationary: it is known as the stator. The changing magnetic field is produced by a rotating electromagnet: the rotor. The rotor is connected to a turbine.

Generator

Generators provide nearly all of the power for electric power grids. A generator makes electricity by converting motion (kinetic energy) into electrical energy. It does so by using the principle of electromagnetism: a magnetic field moving near a wire causes electricity to flow along the wire. In a generator, an electromagnet (the rotor) rotates inside an electric coil (the stator). The effect induces (creates) an electric current when it is connected to a circuit.
Diagram of a coal-fired power station. Water is heated by burning coal. It turns into steam and spins a steam turbine, which...Read More >>Diagram of a coal-fired power station. Water is heated by burning coal. It turns into steam and spins a steam turbine, which drives an electrical generator. After it passes through the turbine, the steam is condensed (turned back to liquid water) in a condenser and recycled before being heated once more.

Turbine

The world's first power station was built in the German town of Ettal in 1878. The station consisted of 24 electric generators, driven by a steam engine.

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