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Have i got this correct about electrical generators?

  1. Sep 23, 2011 #1
    ok so i am trying to come up with an alternative energy source but first i have to know how generators work.
    so in a solar powered generator. the solar enegy gets transferred into heat energy and then the heat energy boils water which creates steam. the steam then turns a turbine and then the turbine turns the generator which creates the electricity.
    is this right or am i completely wrong. please answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2011 #2


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    Yes that is essentially how it would work.

    Alternatively the photovoltaic cell is another way to harness solar energy whereby that solar energy is converted into electrical energy due to the release of electrons.
  4. Sep 23, 2011 #3


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    Fossil Fuel generators and Nuclear generators generally work by making steam which turns a turbine.

    But often for renweable sources, there is a more direct way of using the energy. For example, hydroelectric power has water flowing downhill that turns the tubrines.

    In the case of solar power, usually PV cells or similar collect the energy (so turbines are not necessary). There are some systems which use focussing mirrors to heat up a substance and this generates the electricity. Look it up on wikipedia, I'm sure they'll have more detail.
  5. Sep 24, 2011 #4
    thanks guys
  6. Sep 24, 2011 #5
    burning wood is also an "alternative" energy source, as is wind, water temperature differences, and waves....Photosynthesis is also one.
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