– Why is every power generation basically just turbines?


Ugga is confused. Ugga needs help. Why basically only turbines?

* Nuclear power. Turbines.
* Water power (waterfall, dams and so on). Turbines.
* Wind power. Turbine (This one i accept).
* Wave power. Turbines.
* Coal power. Turbines.

The only one i can think of that doesnt use turbines is solar power. Have we not in our 250+ years of harnessing energy come up with a way of getting said power without using turbines except for solar power? Or is it just that, its our most effective way?

How do we extract energy from our fusion trial chambers? Is it just the heat being funneled to a watertank with a turbine?

RTGs in satellites uses thermocouple. Im guessing solar works in a similar way?


In: 63

Have you ever done the experiment in science class where electricity was generated with a coil and a magnet. In fact, by moving a magnet in the vicinity of a coil, electricity is generated due a phenomenon called “electromagnetic induction.” Basically, this process also occurs in the case of a generator. Based on this principle, by using an engine to rotate a component called a power-generating body, an alternating current is produced.

That is still the most efficient way we know of to generate electricity.

All the generation methods listed make use of the kinetic energy in moving fluids to generate power.

The best way to convert the kinetic energy in a moving fluid into rotation, so that it can spin a generator, is to use a turbine.

There are other ways, such as using pistons – but that is not as efficient as a turbine.

An easy way to generate power is to turn kinetic energy into electricity with a spinning magnet and conductive coil, aka a generator. Anything that uses this style of generator has to be good at creating that spinning movement. On the small scale we have piston engines, but that’s inefficient and inflexible.

Turbines are efficient, work with liquid or gas, and steam turbines specifically just need a source of heat. Conceptually anything that uses a heat source and steam turbine is very simple, so actually building one becomes a matter of details.

You’re right, and it does seem a little weird that so many energy sources all seem to end up doing the same work on the same mechanism.

The most direct answer is that, no matter what fuel is used, the common factor in all these processes is that the end product is alternating electrical current, and we still use spinning turbines for the same reason we still use electric motors: it’s a reliable way to exchange mechanical energy for electrical current. You’re right about solar panels being the exception here, but what they lack in spinning turbines they make up for in expensive inverters.

> RTGs in satellites uses thermocouple.

RTGs are very inefficient at converting heat into electricity so we don’t use those … except in where devices need an extremely long life with zero servicing. Even there the inefficiency of RTGs is motivating research to [replace them with Stirling engines](https://www.nasa.gov/feature/glenn/2020/stirling-convertor-sets-14-year-continuous-operation-milestone).

> Im guessing solar works in a similar way?

Solar cells use the photovoltaic effect whereas RTGs use the Seebeck effect. They’re similar in that they’re explained by the behaviour of subatomic particles where two different materials meet but the details differ.