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Translations of Encyclopedia about Physics

 

Thermal Power Stations and Incinerators

Thermal power stations and incinerators are electric power stations in which the chemical energy of solid, liquid or gaseous fuels, as with atomic energy, are transformed into electrical energy.

At the outset, raw materials used in thermal power stations are burned and the working substance (medium) or water, which is under pressure in the boiler, is converted into steam. This steam then drives turbines, whose mechanical energy, at a later stage, is used to drive generators, which in turn generate electrical energy. The electrical current generated in this manner eventually attains its desired force and voltage through the use of transformers. Any waste heat which may be created during this process is turned into liquid by cooling within condensers and sent back to the boiler. The condensing heat which is generated through this process can also be used.

These types of electric power plants also make it possible to generate long-distance heat. The principle behind this type of heat works by transporting steam through large pipes to a distant location, where it releases its heat energy to heat up buildings. The condensed water is then piped back to the electric power plant, where it serves once again as a working and transport medium.

The most varied of substances, in the form of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels, are used as fuels in thermal power plants and incinerators. A fuel is a substance whose atomic bond energy can be burned to be transformed into electrical energy and includes such fuels as brown coal, black coal, wood and peat. Crude oil is considered a liquid fuel and natural gas is considered a gaseous fuel.

At present, Germany covers 95% of its electrical needs through the use of thermal power stations and incinerators. Considering the increasing contamination and pollution of the environment, this issue is becoming a serious problem. By burning fuels, harmful substances are released, made up mostly of compounds of coal, sulphur and nitrogen which contaminate the air, soil and water, in turn causing harm to people and animals.

Thanks to photosynthesis, plants are able to remove these contaminants. However, with the advancement of industrialisation and the increase of contaminants, plants are not capable of processing all the pollution, disturbing the balance of the natural cycle.

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