Thermal Power Plant
The thermal Power plant is a power generation station which burns fossil fuels like coal, petroleum etc to produce electricity. It does so by utilizing the chemical energy stored in the fuel, burning it and then converting it into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is utilized to operate an electrical generator to generate electricity. Such thermal power plants are designed on a large scale for continuous operation for years. The device here used to converts the thermal energy released by the fuel to mechanical energy is called a Turbine. In most of the thermal power plants, the fuel is used to heat water. This water on heating turns to steam which is then pressurized and used to run the turbines. Depending on the medium used to obtain mechanical energy, the turbine can be classified into Steam turbines and Gas turbines.
A turbine is a long column consisting of many rows of small blades; one row of which is fixed called ‘stators’ and one row is movably called ‘rotors’, alternatively. This arrangement of blades is mounted on a rotating horizontal axis, one end of which is connected to the electrical generator. The movement of the turbine results in the generation of electricity. Now pressurized steam is let out into the row of blades. The impulse of the hot pressurized gas on the rotating blades makes the blades go round. This movement is transferred via a shaft to the generator which converts the mechanical energy to electrical. The typical efficiency for large scale thermal power plant is around 20-25% for the plant using coal and oil and 40% for gas-powered turbines.