Power Plant Operations > How Power Plants Work

How Power Plants Work

Course Number: 111

The How Power Plants Work textbook covers the basic steam generation system, how thermal energy is converted into electrical energy, components of the system, and design features for gaining thermal efficiency. It includes handling of water, fuel, and wastes, and the operating features of a power plant.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Steam-The Primary Force

Topics: Energy conversions; Combustion; Ash and fuel gas removal; Heating air; Boiler design; Water level; Feedwater heaters; Economizers

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the basic concepts involved in converting energy to electricity through a steam power plant.
  • Explain why air is important in combustion and describe how air is heated.
  • Describe the basic design of a boiler.
  • List the methods commonly used to create efficiency in a boiler.

Chapter 2: How Heat is Converted to Power

Topics: Turbines; Generators; Using exhausted steam to heat feedwater; Using condensate; Coal handling; Boiler efficiency

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the components of an elementary turbine.
  • List the uses of exhaust steam.
  • Explain how a vacuum is produced in a boiler system.
  • Describe how condensate is formed in a boiler system and how it can be used to create a closed cycle system.
  • Explain how boiler efficiency is related to steam temperature and pressure.
  • Calculate absolute temperature values using Fahrenheit and Celsius readings.

Chapter 3: Power Plant Efficiency

Topics: Thermodynamic efficiency; Pumps; Feedwater and air heating; Superheaters; Circulation problems; Gaining efficiency; Condenser performance

Learning Objectives:

  • List the kinds of pumps used in a boiler system and explain the function of each.
  • Describe the common processes by which boiler feedwater can be heated, and explain how such processes increase boiler efficiency.
  • Explain the process by which air is heated in a boiler system.
  • Explain the purpose of a superheater.

Chapter 4: Handling Water, Fuel, and Wastes

Topics: Boiler water requirements; Water softening and purification; Water disposal; Fuel wastes; Flue gases; Particulate removal systems

Learning Objectives:

  • List the two main uses for water in a power plant.
  • Describe the physical and chemical properties of water.
  • Explain the past and present methods used to purify water for use in a power plant.
  • Explain the common handling procedures for flue gases and solid wastes, and describe the problems involved in disposing of these wastes.
  • List some of the ways in which power plant waste problems might be resolved in the future.

Chapter 5: Power Plant Operation and Control

Topics: Power plant operating features and controls; Temperature, pressure, and special measurements; Other power sources; Nuclear power

Learning Objectives:

  • Give a detailed description of the arrangement of a modern steam generating plant and explain the progression of the steam cycle from one end to the other.
  • Compare and contrast the common instruments for measuring temperature.
  • Compare and contrast the common instruments for measuring pressure.
  • List some of the special measurement devices that are important in a steam generating plant.
  • List the alternate power sources described in the Lesson.
  • Explain the concept of nuclear power and describe the operation of a nuclear power plant.

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Select Chapter(s):

  •    Chapter 1: Steam-The Primary Force
  •    Chapter 2: How Heat is Converted to Power
  •    Chapter 3: Power Plant Efficiency
  •    Chapter 4: Handling Water, Fuel, and Wastes
  •    Chapter 5: Power Plant Operation and Control

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