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Materials and processes for energy: communicating current research and technological developments (A. Méndez-Vilas, Ed.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Current status of electricity generation at thermal power plants Professor Igor Pioro1 and Professor Pavel Kirillov2

1Faculty of Energy Systems & Nuclear Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Str. N., Oshawa ON L1H 7K4 Canada. E-mail: igor.pioro@uoit.ca

2State Scientific Centre of the Russian Federation - Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE) named after A.I. Leipunsky, Obninsk, Russia. E-mail: kirillov@ippe.ru

Keywords: Electricity generation; thermal power plants; coal-fired power plants; combined-cycle power plants; diesel generators.

1. Introduction

It is well known that the electrical-power generation is the key factor for advances in any other industries, agriculture and level of living (see Chapter 1) [1]. In general, electrical energy can be generated by: 1) non-renewable-energy sources such as coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear; and 2) renewable-energy sources such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and marine. However, the main sources for electrical-energy generation are: 1) thermal - primary coal and secondary natural gas; 2) “large” hydro and 3) nuclear. The rest of the energy sources might have visible impact just in some countries. In addition, the renewable-energy sources, for example, such as wind and solar and some others, are not really reliable sources for industrial-power generation, because they depend on Mother nature and relative costs of electrical energy generated by these and some other renewable-energy sources with exception of large hydro-electric power plants can be significantly higher than those generated by non-renewable-energy sources. Therefore, in this chapter various thermal power plants will be considered (renewable-energy power plants are considered in Chapter 1 and nuclear power plants – in Chapters 3 and 4).

Usually, all thermal power plants are based on the following thermodynamic cycles [2]: 1) Rankine steam-turbine cycle (the mostly used in various power plants; usually, for solid and gaseous fuels, however, other energy sources can be also used, for example, solar, geothermal, etc.); 2) Brayton gas-turbine cycle (the second one after the Rankine cycle in terms of application in power industry; only for clean gaseous fuels); 3) combined cycle, i.e., combination of Brayton and Rankine cycles in one plant (only for clean gaseous fuels); 4) Diesel internal-combustion-engine cycle (only for Diesel fuel) (used in Diesel generators); and 5) Otto internal-combustion-engine cycle (usually, for natural or liquefied gas, but also, gasoline can be used for power generation, however, it is more expensive fuel compared to gaseous fuels) (also, used in internal-combustion-engine generators).

In general, the term “thermal power plants” can include: 1) solid-fuel-fired power plants based on Rankine steam- turbine cycle, fuels - coal, lignite, peat, oil-shale, etc.; 2) gas-fired power plants – (a) Rankine steam-turbine cycle, (b) Brayton gas-turbine cycle and (c) combined cycle (combination of Brayton and Rankine cycles in one plant); 3) geothermal power plants (usually, Rankine steam-turbine cycle used; for details, see the previous chapter); 4) biofuel thermal power plants (usually Rankine steam-turbine cycle used; for details, see the previous chapter); 5) Diesel- and Otto-cycle-generators power plants; 5) concentrated-solar thermal power plants (Rankine steam-turbine cycle used; for details, see the previous chapter) and 6) recovered-energy generation thermal power plants (electricity at these plants is generated from waste energy such as high-temperature flue gases, etc.; Rankine steam-turbine cycle used) (http://www.ormat.com/recovered-energy).

The major driving force for all advances in thermal power plants is thermal efficiency [2]. Ranges of thermal efficiencies of modern thermal power plants are listed in Table 1 for references purposes.

796 ©FORMATEX 2013

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