Physics P1 Generating Electricity

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  • Created by: Phoebe
  • Created on: 17-06-12 20:16

4.1 Fuel for Electricity

  • Electricity generators in power stations are driven by turbines
  • Water is heated to produce steam, which drives the turbine
  • Coal, oil and natural gas are burned in fossil fuel power stations
  • Uranium or plutonium is used as fuel in nuclear power stations
  • The nucleus of the atom undergos a process called nuclear fission which releases a lot of energy
  • Much more energy is released by kg from nuclear fuel than from fossil fuels
  • In some gas-fired power stations, hot gases drive the turbine directly
  • A gas-fired turbine may be switched on very quickly
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4.2 Energy from wind and water

  • A wind turbine is an electricicty generator on top of a tall tower
  • Waves generate electricity by turning a floating generator
  • Hydroelectricity generators are turned by water running downhill
  • A tidal power stations traps each high tide and uses it to turn generators
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4.3 Power from the Sun and Earth

  • Solar cells are flat solid cells that conbert solar energy directly into electricty
  • Solar heating panels use the Sun's radiation to heat water directly
  • Geothermal energy comes from the energy released by radioactive substances deep inside the Earth
  • Water pumped into hot rocks underground produces steam to drive turbines that generate electricity
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4.4 Energy and the Environment

  • Fossil fuels produce increased levels of greenhouse gases which could cause global warming
  • Nuclear fuels produce radioactive waste which has to be stored safely for centuries
  • Renewable energy resources can affect plant and animal life
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4.5 The National Grid

  • The National Grid is a network of cables and transformers that distribute electricity to our homes from power stations and renewable energy generators
  • Step-up transformers are used to step up power station voltages to the (higher) grid voltage and lower the current
  • Step-down transformers are used to step the grid voltage down to 230 V for use in our homes and increase the current
  • A high grid voltage allows us to reduce the current, therefore reducing energy loss through the cables and making the system more efficient
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