Efficient energy conversion

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi,

I was wondeing if anyone could help me out here. What form of energy can most efficiently be converted to electrical energy (by current means)?

Cris
 

Answers and Replies

Andy Resnick
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I'd have to look around for more detail, but the efficiency of a gas turbine is around 50%. I think a nuclear reactor and coal plant are both around 30%. Hydrothermal is 50%, maybe? Wind is tough to gauge due to intermittency, solar is likewise, but commercial photovoltaics are 10%, IIRC.

Edit- you probably want to ask the engineers.
 
russ_watters
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Those numbers sound reasonable, but maybe the OP is looking for types of energy, ie mechanical, chemical, thermal, radiant, etc. A normal heat engine based power plant converts chemical (or nuclear) to thermal to mechanical to electrical. A solar cell, radiant directly to electrical. But less efficiently than a heat engine based power plant.
 
Chemical energy should have the highest efficiency. Ex. fuel cells.
 

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