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What are Power Plants?

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 12/10/2008

The plant that produces electricity is called as power plant. The other names for the power plant are power station, power house, and generating plant. In power plants the chemical energy within the fuel is converted into electrical energy, which can be used for various domestic purposes.

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    Power Plants Defined

    The plant that produces electricity is called as power plant. The other names for the power plant are power station, power house, and generating plant. In power plants the chemical energy within the fuel is converted into electrical energy, which can be used for various domestic purposes.

    The power plants can be either small or large. The small power plants are usually installed in the industries to fulfill their daily power needs without having to depend on the external power agency for supplying of the power. The large power plants can fulfill the power needs of the whole city or a number of cities where millions of people reside. The large power plants can also fulfill the electric power requirements of number of industries. In the ships, aircrafts and large vehicles the power generation units are also called as power plants. Such types of power plants fulfill the power requirements of the individual vehicles.

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    Working principle of the Power Plants

    The working principle of all power plants is based on First Law of Thermodynamics and Second Law of Thermodynamics. As per the first law of thermodynamics the energy can neither be created nor it can be destroyed, but it can be converted from one form to the other. In all power plants one form of energy is converted into the other, which is electrical energy. The second law of thermodynamics states that the heat flows from body as high temperature to the body at low lower temperature. In most of the power plants this principle is used to generate electricity in the device which is at lower temperature.

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    Important Parts of Power Plants

    In almost all the power plants the generator produces the electric power. The generator is a rotating machine, usually the turbine, which converts mechanical energy into the electric energy. Due to mechanical energy there is rotation of the turbine blades, the shaft of which rotates in the generator creating relative motion between the magnetic field and conductor and producing electricity.

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    Types of Power Plants

    There are various types of power plants, some of the most commonly used are:

    1) Thermal power plants

    2) Hydroelectric power plants

    3) Renewable energy power plants like solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy power plants. In fact the hydroelectric power plants are also considered to be the renewable energy power plants.

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