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What is power plant and types of power plants? (power plants introduction)

March 14, 2018
What is power plant and types of power plants? (power plants introduction)

What is power plant

What is power plant and types of power plants, it’s a very important question when we take about how electricity is generated and In few words power plants  is just an industrial facility (location) where electrical power generated with the help of generators which convert the different energy sources to electric power, as we know from the article  how electricity is generated,  we use renewable (solar, wind, thermal,…)  or non renewable (coal, oil, gas)  sources to generate electricity and this process happens in the power plant.

what is power plant

And we take care to build power plants in sub-urban regions away from cities because they need vast area and in most times water, and the electricity produced in power plants is alternating current (AC).

After we answer this question (what is power plant) … Now we will explain different types of power plants

Types of power plants:

As we use two types of sources to produce electricity (renewable and nonrenewable) there would also be two types of power plants depends on the type of the fuel used:

Conventional power plants:

Which may be:

  • Fossil fuel power plants: in these plants, we burn fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, diesel) to produce electric power.
  • Nuclear power plants: in these plants, we maintain nuclear reaction to generate electricity.
  • Hydroelectric power plants: in these plants, we produce electricity by building dams on rivers.

Non-conventional power plants:

Which may be:

  • Wind power plants: in these plants, we use the kinetic energy of wind to produce electricity.
  • Solar power plants: in these plants, we collect the solar radiation to generate the power.
  • Geothermal power plants: in these plants, we use the natural heat in the deep of the earth to generate electricity.
  • Biomass power plants: in these plants, we burn natural matter to produce electricity.

And of course each power plant has its advantages and disadvantages let’s discover together;

types of power plants

Conventional power plants:

1- Fossil fuel power plants:

fossil fuel power plants

Gas power plants: we use the gas turbines to generate electricity from 1939 and today gas turbines are one of the most widely used technologies for power generation, and it’s a combustion engine where we bur air-fuel mixture to produce hot gases to spin a turbine that produces the power.


Coal-fired power plants: in these plants, we use steam coal to generate electricity, but they emit a huge amount of harmful gases into the atmosphere.

coal_fired power plants

Diesel-fired power plant: It is a combination of one or several electric current generators driven by diesel engines, and it’s used for the small_scale production of electric power, and also in places where it’s difficult to have alternative power sources.

And there are two types of diesel plants:

Stationary diesel power plants which use 4-stroke plants which have power ratings of 110, 220, 330, 440, and 735 KW.

Advantages of diesel power plant:

  • It requires a small area for installation.
  • It has a stable operating characteristic.
  • Also, Start-up is easy and quick.
  • It also offers higher thermal

Disadvantages of diesel power plant:

  • The cost of diesel and maintenance is high.

2-Thermal power plant:

Thermal plant is the most used conventional type with a high efficiency and it converts heat into electrical power, as we use coal to boil the available water and converts it into steam which used to turn a turbine which in turn generate the electric power.

thermal power plants

Advantages of thermal power plants:

  • The fuel used is cheaper enough.
  • The low initial cost.
  • Also, We need less space to build these stations.

Disadvantages of thermal power plants:

  • They produce smoke and steam which pollute the atmosphere.
  • The running cost is high.



3- Nuclear power plants:

It’s a thermal power station where we use a nuclear reactor using uranium and thorium to get the heat used to generate the steam, which is used to drive a steam turbine connected to an electrical generator which used to produce electricity.

nuclear power plants

Advantages of nuclear power plants:

  • They are environmentally friendly as they emit low greenhouse gas emission.
  • Also, They generate enormous amounts of electricity using low fuel quantities.

Disadvantages of nuclear power plants:

  • They require a huge setup investment.

4- Hydroelectric power plants:

the Hydroelectric plant is the most widely used form of renewable energy, it uses the kinetic energy of flowing water to rotate a turbine which used to produce electricity, but this plant has lower capacity comparing to thermal and nuclear stations.

hydroelectric power plants

Advantages of hydroelectric power plants:

  • They emit lesser amounts of greenhouse gases compared to other plants.
  • We use water instead of fuel which is a permanent renewable source.
  • Also, Construction is simple and requires less maintenance.

Disadvantages of hydroelectric power plants:

  • The huge investments needed for construction.
  • The transmission cost is also high.
  • Also, It depends on the weather conditions.

Non-conventional power plants:

5- Wind power plants:

A wind plant consists of a group of wind turbines …  we set them in the same location to produce electricity,

wind power plants

Advantages of wind power plants:

  • They are cost effective as the cost of operation and maintenance is low.
  • Also, They can build on agricultural lands without any interruption to cultivation activities.

Disadvantages of wind power plants:

  • They need huge capital expenditure.
  • Also, They need frequent checks and maintenance.

6- Solar power plants:

The first solar power plant used in the world appeared in the 1980s and it based on the conversion of sunlight (directly using photovoltaics or indirectly using concentrated solar power) into electricity.

Solar power Plants

Advantages of solar power plants:

  • It’s one of the most abundant cleanest renewable sources.
  • They don’t require high maintenance.
  • Also, Solar plants may last for about 20-25 years.

Disadvantages of solar power plants:

  • The high initial cost for setting up.
  • Also, They require a lot of space for installation.

7- Geothermal power plants:

what is power plant … In geothermal plants, we produce electricity using the steam produces from reservoirs of hot water found below the earth’s surface, as the steam rotates an electric turbine which in forward activate a generator which produces the electricity.

And there are three types of geothermal plants which are:

  • Dry steam power station.
  • Flash steam power station.
  • And binary cycle power station.

Advantages of geothermal power plants:

  • They are environmentally-friendly because they emit a lower level of harmful gases.


There would be more types of power plants which will be discovered later but Do you know the strange question which I asked to myself is ” what is the difference between produce, generate and create electricity”, do you know?

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