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Energy Project

By Jackson Glover

What is Hydropower and how does it


work?

Hydropower is one of the most developed and used renewable


energy's in the world. It is used in many country's and in some
make up a majority of the electricity produced. Hydropower is
very simple and works by flowing water producing electricity.
Hydropower is cheap and convenient to produce and doesn't
consume natural resources.

The concept and idea of using flowing water to move a turbine


which then powers something has been around for over a
thousand years. The ancient Greeks then Europeans during the
medieval period used water to turn mills which then powered a
mill. In the 1800 this method evolved to a to a state where
stream water was used to cut timber. In the year 1979 the first
Hydropower plant which produced electricity was made in
Niagara falls. Ever since then Hydropower plants have become
more advanced and more common. Today the methods used is
very efficient and there are many Hydropower plants around the
world.

Figure 1:
The above image shows a
example of a flour mill
which was powered by
water.

What is Hydropower and how does it


work?

Today there are two main types of hydropower plants, there


are ones that use dams and ones that use regular rivers. The
Hydropower plants that run off regular rivers are not usually
connected to the grid but for other smaller uses. The
Hydropower plants that are used most commonly for
generating electricity for the main power grid are ones that
use dams. These hydro plants are built on dams so that the
water can be controlled and all flow through the plant. These
hydro plants allow the flow of water to be changed to suit the
amount of electricity needed. This is a very useful feature that
Hydropower has that not many other energy sources have
which means that no extra electricity is being produced.
Hydropower plants produce the electricity by directing water
through turbines which makes them turn. The turbines have a
shaft connected to them which rotates and connects to a
motor. This motor then produces energy which then flows into
the main grid. This process of generating electricity has
proven to be very efficient, especially with todays advanced
technology, and can have an energy efficiency of 95%.

Figure 2:
The above image shows a
current Hydropower plant
made using a dam.

Hydropower Usage

Hydropower is used in many places around the world and


produces the most electricity out of all the renewable energy
sources. On average, Hydropower produces 97% of the
renewable energy sources with the other 3% being solar, wind,
geothermal and wind.

Hydropower can be produced anywhere where there is a


substantial amount of rain and rivers. By having this rain and
rivers, reservoirs can be made which are ideal for Hydropower
plants. By hydro plants requiring large amounts of water it
means that while some places have great hydropower
potential, other places dont and are to dry and arid to have
Hydropower plants. This results in Hydropower producing a
global average of 20% of the total electricity production.

Some countries heavily rely on Hydropower while some dont.


Norway, for example, gets 99% of its power for Hydropower
and New Zealand gets 75% of it from Hydropower. This is all
while Australia gets 7 % of its electricity from Hydropower.

Figure 3:
The above graph shows
electricity production of
Australia as of 2015.

What is Coal Power and How Does it


of electricity in many places around
Coal power is biggest producer Work?
the world. Since a few hundred years ago, we have been burning
coal to power things. In the 1800 when the industrial revolution took
place, coal became immensely used in the production of electricity
to keep these factories going. Coal, however, is a fossil fuel and
when it is burned to create electricity it emits a lot of pollution.

Coal power plants run on coal which is found in the ground. When
plants die and fall into a swamp or other low lying areas, the plants
decompose and then become coal. To become coal this plant matter
Figure 4:
needs to be under the ground and in there for millions of years.
The above image
After a while in the ground, the plant become peat which then can shows a major coal
be further turned into brown coal, then sub-bituminous coal, then
power plant in
bituminous coal, and finally anthracite.
Victoria.
When coal is to be producing electricity in a coal plant it bets
crushed into a fine power, allowing it to burn faster and hotter. This
fine powder is pumped into a fire box where is burns and produces
heat well over 500 degrees Celsius. The heat from the burning coal
then boils water and turns it into steam. This steam has so much
force that it then is used to turn a turbine which is connected to a
generator, producing electricity. This method is quite inefficient and
only has an energy efficiency of around 50%.

Coal power Usage

Coal power is used all around the world quite


commonly. It is often used because we already have the
infrastructure for coal power built, unlike renewable
power plants. Because it doesn't require any special
climate or land, coal power plants can operate in
almost all areas.

In Australia coal is used very commonly and provides


most of the electricity we consume. 73% of the
electricity production in Australia comes from coal
power where as country's like Norway use no coal
power what so ever.

Figure 6:
The above graph shows electricity
production of Norway as of 2015.

Figure 5:
The above graph shows
electricity production of
Australia as of 2015.

Infrastructure Needed for Hydropower

Hydropower requires on a few things to convert potential


gravitational energy into electrical energy though there are other
pieces of infrastructure put in place to make it more efficient. The
large electricity producing plants require a water reservoir
surrounded by a dam. this water reservoir is usually a man made
one using a dam though there are natural reservoirs which have
had dams added to them. This dam allows the water to be
channelled through the intake of the hydropower plant. The
amount of water which goes through the intake is controlled by the
control gate which can be adjusted to suit the electricity demand.
The water, one going through the intake and control gate, then
flows down the penstock which is a pipe or passage that directs
the water to the turbine. The water then spins the turbine and
continues flowing through the pipe and out through the outflow.
The turbine is connected to a shaft which runs into a power house.
In the power house the shaft connects to a generator, producing
electricity which then goes through a transformer (something that
can change the voltage of an AC current). This electric current then
connects and travels down power lines.
In a Hydropower plant there are many of these set ups which allow
more electricity to be generated.

Figure 6:
The above diagram
shows the
infrastructure of a
hydropower plant.

Infrastructure Needed for Coal Power

The production of Electricity via Coal requires a large amount of infrastructure for a small job.
The first piece of infrastructure needed in a coal power plant. Inside this plant you will need
the coal supply which will travel on a conveyer belt. This conveyer belt will need to take it to
a mill or pulveriser to be turned into a fine coal powder. The coal powder will be blown into
the fire box of the boiler where it is burned. There is a stack or chimney which vents of
pollution cased by the burning of coal and also a system which removes excess ash. A pump
is used to pump water through pipes of which run through the boiler, turning to steam inside
the pipes. This steam continues traveling through pipes where a turbine is rotated by the
force of the steam. The steam then continues to move through pipes until it reaches a
chamber where it is cooled by a condenser (cold water pumped through a pipe into the
chamber) and turned back into water where it is pumped into a water purifier and back
around the cycle. Just like in Hydropower plants, the turbine is connected to a shaft which is
connected to a generator sending electricity through a transformer and into power lines.

Figure 7:
The right diagram
shows the
infrastructure of a Coal
power plant.

Cost of the Infrastructure

The cost to build a large Hydropower plant and dam is largely


varied for there are many different sizes of dams. The size of a
Hydropower plant depends on the size of the reservoir and the
dam that can be built. Large Hydropower plants also have
different electricity outputs from under 1,000 mega watts to
over 20,000 mega watts. This variation means that Large
Hydropower plants built to supply power to the pain grid can
cost from $100 million to $100 billion.

Just like Hydropower plants, Coal power plants are also varied in
size and out put in watts. Coal power plants arent varied in size
because of land reasons as much as Hydropower plants though
they still are varied in size. Coal power plants do not produce as
much electricity, per plant, as Hydropower plants but they also
dont cost as much either. Large Coal power plants can produce
from around 1,000 mega watts to about 5,000 mega watts. Coal
power plants can cost from hundreds of millions to a maximum
of 10 billion.

Comparison
Hydropower

Coal power

Energy efficiency

95%

50%

Percentage of
electricity
production (Aus.)

14%

73%

Environmental
effect

Energy transfers
and
transformations

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Land cleared and flooded to build


them
Large amount of recourses to build
them and pollution created during
build
Plants have been known to flood land
and force towns to relocate
Plants have created water shortages
further down the river which may
cause animals and plant life to die
Causes harm to aquatic life

Potential gravitational (water in the


dam)
Kinetic (water flowing through the
penstock)
Kinetic (water making the turbine
rotate)
Kinetic or mechanical (the magnet
moving in the generator)
Electric (the electricity produced in
the generator)
Electric (the electricity traveling
through power lines).

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Causes major air pollution and is the largest producer of CO2 emissions.
Plants use a lot of water in the production of electricity.
Plants pollutes water in the process and pumps it back out into steams.
Generates a large amount of solid waste such as ash which is disposed in
land.
Surrounding land becomes heavily polluted.

Chemical potential (the coal from the coal supply).


Kinetic (the coal being transported on the conveyer belt).
Kinetic (the pulveriser crushing the coal)
Kinetic (the coal powder being blown into the fire box)
Heat and light (the chemical potential energy from the coal released when
burned).
6. Heat (the water is heated through conduction)
7. Kinetic (the water turns to steam and because is expands it speeds along
through the pipes)
8. Kinetic (the air making the turbine rotate)
9. Kinetic or mechanical (the magnet moving in the generator)
10. Electric (the electricity produced in the generator)