As the world moves away from high-polluting fossil fuels towards low-carbon options, how and where energy plants operate is continually changing.
FREMONT, CA: There are many means to produce electricity. Electrons can flow between different materials offering a current, as in a common battery. While reliable and portable, chemical batteries run down rapidly. To offer large amounts of steady power demanded by today’s societies, large power plants have been developed. Most power plants make power with a generator. But as countries continue to move away from high-polluting fossil fuels towards low-carbon options, the dynamic of how and where power plants function is constantly changing. Here is a compilation of the different types of power plants each power source requires to generate energy.
• Nuclear Power Plants
Using a nuclear fission reaction, nuclear energy plants produce a high amount of power. As nuclear power plants are treated as a low-carbon power source, the technology is extensively thought of as an environmentally-friendly option. Compared to renewable sources of energy, the power generation from nuclear power plants is also considered reliable. Although the investment needed to bring a nuclear power plant online is important, the costs involved in operating them are considerably low. Nuclear energy sources have a higher density than fossil fuels and release massive amounts of energy.
• Hydroelectric Power Plants
Hydroelectricity is generated by leveraging the gravitational force of flowing water. Compared to fossil fuel-based energy plants, hydroelectric power plants emit lesser greenhouse gases. But the construction of hydroelectric power plants requires massive investment.
• Coal-Fired Power Plants
Coal-fired power plants accounted for about 37 percent of global electricity. Coal-fired energy plants use steam coal to produce electricity and consequently emit a considerable amount of harmful gases into the atmosphere. In a bid to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, many developed nations have already announced plans to phase out coal-fired energy plants.
• Diesel-Fired Power Plants
This type of energy plant is used for small-scale production of electric power. They are deployed in places where there is no easy availability of other power sources and are mainly utilized as a backup for uninterrupted power supply whenever there are outages. Diesel plants need only a small area to be deployed and offer higher thermal efficiency than coal-fired plants. Due to increased maintenance costs and diesel prices, energy plants have not gained popularity.