In its simplest understanding, Steam Turbine is a machine that converts Pressure Energy into useful work. Understanding a steam turbine and a generator separately is the best way to understand Steam Turbine Electric Generators, also known as “Turbo Generators.” A steam turbine may be called a rotary engine that is powered by steam. To turn water into steam, it is heated to a very high temperature in steam boilers. The steam turbine converts the energy created by highly pressurized steam into mechanical energy, which rotates a generator. A generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. A generator’s coiled wires spin inside a magnetic field, causing an electric current to flow.
When a Steam Turbine is connected to a Generator, the result is a Steam Turbine Electric Generator, which produces electricity. The built-in auxiliary systems allow them to operate safely and efficiently.
Solar thermal electric power plants, coal, geothermal, nuclear, and waste incineration plants all use steam turbine-driven generators. They’re also widely used in industries like cement, sugar, steel, paper, chemicals, and others. Steam Turbine Electric Generators are generally high-speed machines. Most of the electric power in the world is produced by steam turbine-driven power plants.
Working principle of a Steam Turbine Generator
Water is heated in a boiler to higher than boiler temperature of water to water into it to steam. The water flow rate, pumping pressure, and heat transfer area of the boiler, as well as the heat of combustion used, all influence steam production. The steam from the boiler enters the turbine via steam pipelines. This steam is pushed through nozzles inside the turbine to increase the steam velocity to the desired level. The high-velocity stream passes over the blades mounted on the steam turbine rotor. The velocity of steam is converted into the rotational movement of the turbine shaft. The Steam Turbine shaft is connected to Generator using couplings. Sometimes a Gear Box or Gear Reducer is used between the Steam Turbine and the Generator. Gearbox or Gear Reducer reduces the turbine shaft speed to desired generator shaft speed. Steam Turbine is made up of a casing with stationary blades inside and a rotor with moving blades around the perimeter.
Efficiency of a Steam Turbine generator
The efficiency of a steam-driven generator depends on many factors such as the type of steam turbine, its size, the inlet steam pressure and temperature, the exhaust steam pressure and temperature, and the steam flow rate.
Steam Turbine Electric Generators are commonly used for Power Generation from various energy sources such as renewable energy, coal, oil, and gas. Steam Turbines are installed in centralized power plants and in manufacturing industries.