Electrical Power Generation

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In thermal energy, we saw that whenever there is a temperature gradient, a heat engine can be designed that converts thermal energy to work. According to the second law of thermodynamics, the efficiency of any heat engine can be improved by increasing the temperature differences between the two heat reservoirs. In the case of fossil or nuclear power plants, the chemical energy in the fossil fuel or the nuclear energy in the uranium is used as a heat source to boil water into steam. Solar power plants work in a similar fashion except that the heat energy comes from the sun.



Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Additional Comments

Further Reading

Markvart, T., and Castanar, L., Solar Cells: Materials, Manufacture and Operation, Elsevier Publishing Company, 2005.

Galloway, T., Solar House, Elsevier Publishing Company, 2004.

Stine, W. B., and Harrington, R. W., Solar Energy Systems Design, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1985.

Solar Energy, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, the official journal of the International Solar Energy Society, covers solar, wind and biomass energies.

External Links

National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Solar Research (http:// www.nrel.gov/solar).

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Solar Energy, US Department of Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov).

American Solar Energy Society (http://www.ases.org).

Solar Electric Power Association (http://www.solarelectricpower.org).

California Solar Center (http://www.californiasolarcenter.org).