Today, we’re going to look
at what a Power Plant is, different types, and why automation is
important in the Power Plant business. Here at RealPars, we love making videos that
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of new RealPars videos when they become available, so you’ll never miss another one! In its simplest form, a Power Plant, known also as a Power Station, is an industrial facility
used to generate electricity. To generate power, a power plant
needs to have an energy source. One source of energy is from
the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Then we also have nuclear power, and finally renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, wave and hydroelectric. Originally, the only source of power
was Direct Current, or DC systems, but it wasn’t until Alternating Current, or AC systems were introduced that the power could be carried
the distances necessary to be suitable for
distribution to the masses. Hydroelectric Power Plants generate power by converting the force of water
to turn large generators. Hydroelectric Power Plants fall
into three different categories. First up is “Impoundment”. An Impoundment facility typically
uses a store of river water from a dam in a reservoir. When water is released from the reservoir, it flows through a turbine
which generates motion. This turning motion activates a
generator to produce electricity. Next up we have “Diversion”. A Diversion is fairly similar
to an Impoundment facility, but may not need the use of a dam, but works by channeling a portion of a
river through a canal or a penstock. The last type of Hydroelectric
Power Plant is “Pumped Storage”. Pumped Storage stores its energy by
pumping water uphill to a reservoir at a higher elevation. When there is a demand for power, the water is released from
the high elevated reservoir into a lower reservoir. This generates electricity when
it flows through a turbine generating motion, and electricity. Thermal Power Plants generate electricity by converting heat into electricity, essentially by burning a fuel. One example of this is
a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power plants use reactors
heat to turn water into steam. The steam is then sent through a turbine, which, as we’ve already learned, generates movement of a generator, which in turn generates electricity. A coal power plant works
in much the same way, but instead of a nuclear reactor
heating water to make steam, the heat from the burning
coal powers a steam turbine. The next type of power
plant we will look at is a solar power plant. This type of plant uses the suns energy to convert into electricity. This is achieved by using
Photovoltaic, or PV panels, made up from a number
of semiconductor cells that release electrons when they are
warmed by the thermal energy of the sun. Solar energy is one of the cleanest
ways of generating electricity. The solar panels get connected to the grid and can be used to supplement a
thermal power plant resources. They can be used in
domestic environments too, and with the aid of batteries, can reduce households energy
consumption drastically, without burning any fossil fuels. Last, but not least, we
have Wind Power Plants. Wind Power Plants, or Wind Turbines, get their energy from the wind by connecting a generator to the blades The rotational movement of the blades caused by the wind, powers a generator. Like solar power, they are
a clean source of energy, but require much more
hardware to work effectively, and with many more parts, are more likely to fail. Like many things nowadays, Power Plants are controlled using a PLC, Programmable Logic Controller, or DCS, Distributed Control System. The ability for condition
monitoring of all the plant items enables us to determine what
is running efficiently, and what could fail. This enables us to proactively maintain
plant equipment before it fails, rather than reactively
fixing broken equipment. From within a control room, a full SCADA, or a Supervisory Control And
Data Acquisition system can monitor and control temperatures, speeds of pumps and motors
and open and close valves. This can be especially useful in the
case of fossil fuel burning plants where the precise control of system devices can increase the plant availability. Availability is the amount of time that
the plant is able to produce electricity over a certain period of time, divided by the amount of
the time in the period, which is often a Key
Performance Indicator, or KPI. This also ensures the most
efficient use of the plant which maximizes power generation. By monitoring the demand, and trending at which times of
the day the demand is highest, plants can adjust the speed
of pumps automatically according to the time of the day, something that wouldn’t be possible without
the use of an automation control system. That’s it for this video! I hope you enjoyed learning about the
different types of Power Plants, and how we use automation to
make them more efficient. Want to learn PLC programming
in an easy to understand format and take your career to the next level? Head on over to realpars.com