In conventional power plants, by firing fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), high-pressure steam is generated in boilers, which drive a turbine. The turbine is connected to a generator, which generates electricity. The electricity is transmitted into the power grid via an electric current transformer.
Among others, state-of-the-art examples for the conventional power generating technology are the open cycle or combined cycle gas turbine power plant units. The gas turbine, where thermal energy is converted into mechanical energy during the combustion of the fuel (natural gas or oil), drives the power generator rotated on a common shaft with the gas turbine.
While in case of open cycle units, the flue gases generated in the gas turbine are exhausted directly into the atmosphere, in case of combined cycle units the thermal energy of the flue gases is directed into a so called heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), where steam, capable of driving the steam turbine-generator set, is generated.
A state-of-the-art combined cycle gas turbine power plant unit may even achieve 60% electrical efficiency.
The open cycle gas turbine power plant units may be started up very quickly, and thus, in case of disturbances power losses may be compensated within a short time.
Recently, the technologies used in coal fired power plants have largely developed. The state-of-the-art units may achieve efficiencies of more than 42% by meeting the strict environmental protection requirements.
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