use of heat in power generation



Conventional power stations operate at efficiencies between 30% and 50%. That is, only one third to one half of the primary energy input is converted into electric power. The remainder is given off as heat. Another 5% or so of electric power is lost in transmission and transformation of electricity.

While it is possible to improve the overall efficiency of power stations by making use of waste heat, this can only be done successfully if a large consumer of heat is situated close to the power station. Otherwise, a significant proportion of the heat is lost during transport to the consumer. The consumer also has to be able to use the heat when it is available - usually all the time!

Several cleaner options present themselves: one is the generation of power close to where both electricity and heat are needed, and making use of the 'waste' heat; another is the use of renewable technologies, which do not require fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Interested in cleaner power generation?