There are many different types of electricity, including solar, wind, fossil fuel, hydro, and nuclear. Most of the electricity generated in the world comes from fossil fuel, nuclear and hydro power plants, although, as of 2014, renewable energy is quickly increasing in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.Continue Reading
Most power plants that run on fossil fuels, such as coal, gas or oil, burn the fuel to create steam. The steamis then used to spin massive turbines to create electricity. Nuclear power plants work in a similar way, except the heat comes from the splitting of radioactive atoms. Although nuclear power doesn't produce CO2 or other greenhouse gases, there are still concerns about its potential environmental impact.
Hydro and wind energy is also generated using turbines, which are powered by water and air respectively. Hydro power plants require a dam and a large reservoir of water, which passes through the turbines and back out into the river. These plants also produce no emissions, but the damming of the river still causes a major impact to the surrounding environment.
Solar electricity is generated by harnessing the power of the sun, either in the form of photovoltaic solar panels or solar thermal power plants. Solar thermal plants use a huge array of mirrors to concentrate the sun's heat, which is used to create steam to power a turbine.Learn more about Electricity
Bloom Energy's solid oxide fuel cell uses high temperatures to convert hydrocarbon fuel and air into electricity without combustion, corrosive acids, molten materials or precious metals. The electrolyte is a solid, ceramic material which functions as a catalyst in reacting the oxygen in heated air coming in through the cathode with hydrocarbon fuels such as ethanol, methane or natural gas coming in through the anode to generate electricity and produce the steam and heat necessary to maintain the process.Full Answer >
A solid oxide fuel cell, or SOFC, uses hydrocarbons to generate electricity with a cathode, an anode and an electrolyte. Unlike normal batteries that have a limited shelf life, SOFCs always generate electricity if the fuel supply continually runs through the material. Most SOFCs operate at temperatures between 1,100 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.Full Answer >
As of 2015, it is not necessary to use coal to generate electricity, given the alternatives available; however, the United States is dependent upon coal as a fuel source. Coal generates 44 percent of the nation's electricity, and, according to NPR, is both inexpensive and efficient.Full Answer >
The two types of electricity are static and current. Static electricity is the buildup of an imbalanced electrical charge on the surface of objects that causes objects to be attracted to each other. Current electricity is the flow of electrons through a conductor.Full Answer >