How to Generate Electricity – How is Electricity Generated

Electricity is the energy made available by the flow of electric charge through a conductor. It is carried by wires or produced by batteries and is used to power machines. Electricity is lifeline of modern world. There are different types of electricity generated through renewable and non-renewable sources of energy.

What is Electricity?

Electricity is flow of electrons from one body to another. In order to understand this is some detail, it is important to understand the structure of an atom. An atom consists of three elements – electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons are negatively charged (-) particles, protons are positively charged particles (+) and neutrons are neutrally charged or they have no charge. Example: A and B are two objects with 10 electrons and 10 protons each. Due to friction or any other reason, 2 electrons from the outer orbit of object A flows away to object B. Now there are 8 electrons in object A and 12 electrons in object B. The net result of this flow of electrons is that object B will get negatively charged due to excess electrons and object A will get positively charged because of deficit of electrons. This is how electricity is generated.

History of Electricity

In Physics, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. This means that in order to generate electricity, another kind of energy should be used as fuel.

  • Thomas Seebeck (1770-1831): Discovered the “Seebeck Effect”.
  • Michael Faraday (1791-1867): Electromagnetic induction. He also explained how electric currents works.
  • James Maxwell (1831-1879): Translated Faraday’s theories into mathematical expressions.
  • Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931): Invented the electric bulb
  • Nikola Tesla: Devised the polyphase alternating-current systems that form the modern electrical power industry.
  • Otto Hahn (1879-1968): Explained the process of nuclear fission by which nuclei of atoms of heavy elements can break into smaller nuclei, in the process releasing large quantities of energy.
  • Albert Einstein (1879-1955): Explained that one gram of mass can be converted into a torrential amount of energy

Modern day electricity is a result of all the hard work done by above mentioned great people.

Static Electricity

Static electricity is an electrical charge at rest. This is created by an imbalance of electrons that stay on a specific surface, or in the environmental air. The imbalance of electrons is caused by absence or surplus of electrons. This creates an electrical field that is capable of influencing other objects at a distance. Lightening is an example of static electricity.

Static Electricity

Static Electricity

Current Electricity

Current electricity can be defined as electricity that flows through a circuit, or a continuous unbroken path. This path is a good conductor of electricity such as copper. Read: How Electronic / Electrical Circuit Works

Current Electricity

Current Electricity

How to Generate Electricity

Generating electricity need knowledge about electronics, electronic components, engineering, physics and chemistry. There are various sources to generate energy – renewable and nonrenewable.

Hydroelectricity / Hydro Electric Power

Hydroelectricity is the most common method of generating electricity. Water is stored is a high dam or an artificial or natural lake or reservoir. This water stored in a high place has gravitational potential energy. Down this source of falling water is a power station equipped with water turbines. Potential energy is converted to kinetic energy when water falls down. This kinetic energy rotates the water turbines to generate electricity.

Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectricity

Wind Energy or Wind Power

Wind is a renewable source of generating energy. Kinetic energy of moving air rotates fan blades of windmills. These blades are connected with turbines. Rotating blades of windmills rotate the turbine to generate electricity.

Wind Energy

Wind Energy

Solar Energy or Solar Power

Solar energy is a renewable source to generate electricity. Artificially created solar cells store and convert solar energy into electricity. These solar cells are mainly of two types: Crystalline silicon solar cells and “Thin-film” or polycrystalline PV cells.

Solar Electricity

Solar Electricity

Generating Electricity with Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels such as coal and oil is used to generate heat. This heat converts water into steam at very high temperature and high pressure. This steam at high pressure drives a steam turbine. The rotating shaft of the steam turbine is coupled to the armature of the alternator to generate electricity.

Generating Electricity with Fossil Fuels

Generating Electricity with Fossil Fuels

Generating Electricity with Tidal Power / Wave Power

This a new technology to extract energy from movement of water in a tidal estuary and from motion of waves. The basic principle behind generating electricity the same – to drive a mechanical turbine.

Generating Electricity with Tidal Power / Wave Power

Generating Electricity with Tidal Power / Wave Power

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is energy from within the earth. The earth from inside is too hot. This heat from within the earth can be used to turn turbines and produce electricity. This technology is still a subject matter of further research and engineering.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear fission is a process in which radioactive atomic nuclei break down and release energy in the form of radiation. This energy is further used to turn turbines and produce electricity.

Electricity Generated from Nuclear Energy

Electricity Generated from Nuclear Energy

Latest Trend to Generate Electricity

While there are several sources to generate electricity, hydro electricity is the most common. Clean and green energy generated through solar energy and wind energy is the latest trend in generating own electricity for residential use.

31 Responses to How to Generate Electricity – How is Electricity Generated

  1. […] electronic components are those that can control the flow of electricity. Most electronic printed circuit boards have at least one active component. Some examples of active […]

  2. […] The basic requirement of a semiconductor is that it should not be a very good conductor of electricity, nor should it be a very bad conductor of electricity. Its properties can be changed by adding or […]

  3. […] The basic requirement of a semiconductor material is that it should not be a very good conductor of electricity, nor should it be a very bad conductor of electricity. Its properties can be changed by adding or […]

  4. […] The basic requirement of a semiconductor is that it should not be a very good conductor of electricity, nor should it be a very bad conductor of electricity. It’s properties can be changed by […]

  5. […] conductive metal such as copper is used to make conductive pathway or traces to facilitate flow of electricity. Once PCB itching is done, it is termed as a “printed circuit […]

  6. […] the circuit causes the breaker to trip or the electrical fuse to blow. This interrupts the flow of electricity. It is easy to tell whether there is a short circuit or not. But it is not always easy to trace […]

  7. […] it is called a conductor. Copper wire is an excellent conductor since it allows a free flow of electricity with very little resistance. Other good conductor is […]

  8. […] wiring is quite simple to understand. It controls the flow of electricity and turns devices and appliances ON and OFF. A switch is installed only on hot wires. A switch […]

  9. […] have little or nor experience with 220v wiring and there are lots of confusion with this. 220v electricity is needed mostly for home appliances with higher amp. Some examples of such appliances are clothes […]

  10. […] grounding or electrical earthing is a wiring system to allow any spikes in electricity to be directed away from the electric circuit into the ground (earth) where it is harmlessly […]

  11. […] is explanation on how electricity is branched to the house and all the electrical appliances, lights, receptacles, appliances through […]

  12. […] You need a good quality soldering iron or temperature controlled soldering station that run on electricity. If you are dealing with ESD-sensitive PCB and electronic components, then you need an ESD-safe […]

  13. […] US Department of Energy estimates that in an average home, a whopping 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off but not unplugged. […]

  14. […] joints. If the solder joint is poor, there will be poor electrical conduction or poor flow of electricity through the […]

  15. […] conductive metal such as copper is used to make conductive pathway or traces to facilitate flow of electricity. Once these conductive traces are etched on the substrate, it is termed as “printed circuit […]

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  17. […] 70% to 90% energy for the same equipment. For instance, an Energy Star rated computer uses 70% less electricity than computers that are not rated. These desktop computers and laptops go into sleep mode when not […]

  18. […] is related to the control of electrons (electricity) and the study of their behavior and effects. This control is accomplished by Electronic Components […]

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  20. […] Electrons are negatively charged and protons are positively charged while neutrons are neutrally charged. At the same time the number of electrons and protons in an atom is always same. Now, if, by any means, few electrons can move away from the atom of object A to atom of object B, then object A will get positively charged due to deficiency of electrons while object B will get positively charged due to excess electrons. In such case object A will be called Positively Charged and object B will be called Negatively Charged. This is how electricity is generated. […]

  21. […] Electricity is basically flow of charge, positive charge (Protons) and negative charge (electrons). This charge is utilized by power tools, devices, gadgets and appliances to operate by means of circuit. Electricity is supplied to our home through a power line or through underground conduit. […]

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  23. […] electrical system is a simple wiring running across the bike to supply electricity to the required parts. Parts of components of a motorcycle that need electricity supply are – […]

  24. […] Electricity is generated or produced by turning or rotation of turbines. These turbines can be rotated by any means – coal, steam, nuclear energy, renewable energy etc. In most power plants, turbines are rotated by the pressure of steam. This steam is created by boiling water using burning coal in large boilers. The pressure of steam is such that is turns the turbines, which in turn generates electricity. Hydroelectricity uses the force of running water downstream a man-made water reservoir dam. The great force of the running water turns the turbines. The motive is to turn the turbines by any means. Read More: How to Generate Electricity – How is Electricity Generated […]

  25. […] Flow of electric charge from one terminal to another terminal is defined in electronics. This flowing electrical charge is called current electricity. […]

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