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M. A.

S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673

Appraisal of the challenges at the frontiers of electric power generation


Over the coming decades, the power generation industry faces a daunting challenge in meeting global energy needs. By 2030, electricity use will double globally and triple in developing countries. In order to cater the limitations of supply of electric power to the world dwellers is becoming a challenging task, due to the lack of reusability of the modern power generation mechanisms. As the population increases in the world the need for the electric power is becoming more and more vital. Hence it is a great dead to study and foresee the challenges that will the human race have to face in the upcoming future. Electric power generation had been a fascinating task since it can be done with different sources. Those sources can be stated as follow. Major Sources y Coal y Oil y Nuclear y Hydro (Water) Medium Sources y Solar y Wind Small Scale Sources y Geo- Thermal y Tidal y Denro All these sources of energy used to generate electricity are given by the Mother Nature. Hence nature is the major source of energy, which has to be used wisely and respectfully.  Conventional Methods of power generation and their limitations The contemporary non-conventional sources of energy like wind, tidal, solar etc. were the conventional sources until James Watt invented the steam engine in the eighteenth century. In fact, the New World was explored by man using wind-powered ships only. The nonconventional sources are available free of cost, are pollution-free and inexhaustible. Man has used these sources for many centuries in propelling ships, driving windmills for grinding corn and pumping water, etc. Because of the poor technologies then existing, the cost of harnessing energy from these sources was quite high. Also because of uncertainty of period of availability and the difficulty of transporting this form of energy, to the place of its use are some of the factors which came in the way of its adoption or development. The use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy replaced totally the non-conventional methods because of inherent advantages of transportation and certainty of availability; however these have polluted the atmosphere to a great 1|P ag e

M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 extent. In fact, it is feared that nuclear energy may prove to be quite hazardous in case it is not properly controlled. Comparatively let us consider pros and cons of the major conventional modes of electric power generation that in practice in today s world. Mode Coal Advantages Low cost Apparently plentiful: we will probably not run out of easily mined coal in the next few decades. It has been believed that the world's coal reserves would last a century or more, but some recent research has indicated that this was optimistic. Disadvantages Not sustainable Requires around 1.7 million liters of fresh water for each Giga Watt-hour of electricity generated. Produces more carbon dioxide (CO2) per Watt-hour of energy than any other generation method. The methods of mining coal can be very destructive; although responsible coal miners do a remarkably good job of restoring the land after the coal has been mined out. Very large quantities of ash have to be disposed of and a lot of smoke is produced, although in modern power stations most of the latter is separated from the waste gas stream and disposed of with the ash. Coal contains substances such as sulfur, arsenic, selenium, mercury and the radioactive elements uranium, thorium, radium and radon. When the coal is mined and burned these substances can be released into the environment. Burned sulfur is one of the main causes of acid rain, but most modern coal-fired power stations remove most of the sulfur oxides from the released gasses. War time - For maximum efficiency coal fired power stations must be big. They therefore present a desirable target for enemy attack. Not sustainable Produces carbon dioxide (CO2), which is an important greenhouse gas. Requires a substantial amount of cooling water. The world's oil reserves are limited. Oil spills, especially at sea, cause severe pollution.

Oil

Low cost Generators are very compact. Produces less CO2 than coal and requires much less water than coal

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M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 Some oils contain high levels of sulfur. See the note on sulfur under coal, above. The world's supply of oil is limited. Requires substantial amounts of cooling water. It is expensive, especially in capital costs, maintenance costs, and due to the long lead time in planning and construction. The equipment needed to produce the fuel for power reactors is the same as is used to produce fissile material for bombs. Large amounts of fossil fuels are used in mining and processing the uranium fuel; with consequent release of greenhouse gasses. There is a danger of radiation release, either from the reactors or from the waste. This can be enormously expensive; the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been estimated to cost US$257 billion. While there are few accidents the consequences of some accidents may be very serious. Decommissioning a nuclear power station at the end of its useful life is very difficult and expensive. Safe long-term disposal of nuclear waste is difficult. (It must be kept away from the biosphere for several tens of thousands of years). The lead time in building a nuclear power station is around ten to 15 years. A tempting target for terrorist attack. War time - Nuclear power stations would produce a huge amount of radioactive contamination if bombed. The building of dams is usually environmentally destructive river valleys are important ecosystems; it often requires great changes in many peoples' life styles; river valleys are often fertile and densely populated.

Nuclear

Compact; a large amount of electrical power can be produced by a moderately sized station. Low fuel costs. Normally does not produce any significant atmospheric pollutants. Quantity of waste produced is small.

Hydro

Compact; a large amount of electrical power can be produced by a moderately sized station. Sustainable

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M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 Once established it is fairly environmentally benign. Fermenting vegetation in hydro dams releases the greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere. The water released from a hydro-power station often comes from the bottom of a dam. If so, it is cold and may not suit species native to the region. Water is often released from a hydro-power dam at times that depend on power consumption (or possibly to suit down-stream irrigators). The natural occasional high-flows or a flood that the river s ecosystem has adapted to is disrupted.  Human Aspirations of holistic living To start with, let us offer a basic definition: Holistic Living: "To live in a manner which honors the whole self, recognizing the mind-body-spirit connection, and the importance of balancing all aspects of one's life in order to be one's best self." At New Holistic Living, we explore some unique approaches to a healthy lifestyle, along with tools, tips, and resources for restoring balance to each area of your life. Once you have achieved this, you will find your life as a while becomes much simpler, more fulfilling, and a lot more enjoyable. So the electric power plays a major role in the aspirations of modern man since each and every need of their daily life strictly dependent on any means of electric power. From birth to death of a certain person the electric power can be considered as a major mode of doing daily chores.  The role of electric power and its inputs in meeting these aspirations Everywhere in the world, reliable electric power is the key to economic development, education, and medical care. In developing countries, electricity is fundamental for many essential services, including those that increase income and benefit rural areas. Major uses for electrical power are: y Agricultural: Electrical energy is important for the enhancement of rural production and food security through land preparation, fertilization, irrigation, agro-processing and conservation. In many rural areas, energy needs are, at present, predominantly supplied in the form of traditional biomass fuels and human and animal labor. This inequitable scenario severely limits many rural people from enhancing their agricultural productivity and quality of life. Water Purification and Distribution: Energy is required for water collection, distribution, and purification. It is well accepted that drinking unclean water is one of the biggest killers in the developing world. Around 10% of children fewer than five years of age die each year

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M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 from water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, bilharzia, typhoid and cholera. Applications of electrical energy in this field include both mechanical pumping and filtering of the water supply and its ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. y Health care: Modern energy services are the key to improving the health of people in rural areas of many developing countries. In health clinics, access to electricity provides for wellequipped maternity facilities and medical equipment and safe storage for vaccines. Electricity in housing accommodations makes it more likely that doctors, nurses and other skilled staff will be retained. Education: In rural schools, electricity is needed in order to make use of modern learning technologies. These include computers, lighting to facilitate adult education and literacy classes in the evenings, community access to educational audio and video media, as well as helping to retain teachers. Commercial and Industry Application: Reliable electricity should be scalable to communities, not just adaptable to individual farms or households. Uses will include small factories and commercial enterprises with power needs up to at least 100 kW. Bidirectional Communications: The wireless phone is the predominant personal and business two-way communications tool in developing countries. In some areas, handheld, two-way radios (walkie-talkies) are also used. Charging these portable communications devices requires electrical energy. The desire for communications is so great that people will walk for miles to find a charging station for their phone batteries. Residential and Community Quality-of-Life: Rural households and communities use electrical power for lighting, television, and radio. Many households without access to electricity routinely use dry cell and lead-acid car batteries for modest power needs. The average household needs on the order of 0.1 to 1 kW.

 Investigation and analysis of further methods of electric power generation and their prospects Mode Solar photovoltaic (Solar electrical panels) Advantages Sustainable It is a well proven technology. Disadvantages While the panels are environmentally benign once they are built, the manufacturing process requires large amounts of energy.

Well suited to providing power in home One less common, expensive, but highly efficient or single building applications. type of solar panel, gallium arsenide, contains toxins that need to be disposed of carefully at the end of Roof-top installations are well suited to the life of the panel.

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M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 high-consumption urban areas where it has the additional advantage of saving Solar energy is spread relatively thinly. If a on the cost of building new photovoltaic generator is to produce much transmission lines. electricity (ie. several Mega Watts) it has to cover a large area. Peak generation matches peak consumption fairly well. Does not produce much power when the sun isn't shining. Electricity generated by solar panels is q quite expensive, US$0.47 to US$0.70/kWh. Uses a renewable fuel. A large area of land is required for the production of the fuel (eg. wood lot or cane field) per MW of No net addition of carbon to the power generated. atmosphere (CO2 released by burning one crop is taken out by growing the Because of the above point, this method can never generate enough power to satisfy a major part of next). current demands. Burns organic matter that might be better returned to the land for soil improvement

Biomass (including firewood)Denro

Geothermal

Sustainable

It can only be developed in selected volcanic areas, so it can never be a major contributor to the world Relatively low cost for renewable energy supply energy, US$0.06 to $0.08/kWh. Non-polluting; little environmental impact since the steam would be released to the atmosphere with or without the power generation.

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Biogas

Uses a renewable fuel. Non-polluting

M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673 Very limited in the quantity of electricity it can produce on the global scale.

There is little or no control on the rate of gas Waste is disposed of at the same time production, although the gas can, to some extent, be stored and used as required. and in the same operation. Consumes methane that might otherwise leak into the atmosphere and increase the greenhouse effect. Biogas can also be used on a small scale, eg. A pig farm.

Wave (Tidal) Sustainable, non-polluting

Not

proven

on

commercial

scale

War time - Spread over a large area, Installation would damage the sea-bed locally and some types completely under water, so they would be difficult to destroy Wind, large turbines Sustainable, non-polluting Does not produce power when the wind isn't blowing. If a large proportion of a power system's A well proven technology and low- electricity is wind power then there will be a need priced for a sustainable energy: US$60 for a correspondingly large backup power supply. to US$80/MWh at the wind farm. To generate large amounts of electricity wind Wind farms can be built by moderately turbines must be numerous and spread over large sized local or regional businesses. areas. This creates visual and noise annoyance and a significant public opposition has developed. Requires little water, no cooling water. Reduces the exposure of an economy to fuel price volatility. Very resistant to damage earthquakes and tsunamis. from

War time - The scattered layout of turbines in wind farms would make it difficult for enemies to destroy more than a few at any one time.

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M. A.S Aravinda Principles of Electric Power Generation PH4102 2008/S/1092 S9673

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