Contents

List of figures ix

List of tables xi

1 Introduction to electricity generation 1

History of the electricity generation industry 1

The evolution of electricity generation technologies 2

The politics of electricity 4

The size of the industry 5

2 Environmental considerations 8

The evolution of environmental awareness 8

The environmental effects of power generation 10

The hydrogen economy 13

Externalities 14

Life-cycle assessment 15

The bottom line 17

3 Coal-fired power plants 18

Types of coal 19

Traditional coal-burning power plant technology 21

Emission control for traditional coal-burning plants 27

Advanced coal-burning power plant technology 33

Environmental effects of coal combustion 37

Financial risks associated with coal-fired power generation 38

The cost of coal-fired electricity generation 40

4 Gas turbines and combined cycle power plants 43

Natural gas 44

Gas turbine technology 46

Advanced gas turbine design 50

Distributed generation 53

Combined cycle power plants 53

Micro turbines 55

Environmental impact of gas turbines 55 Financial risks associated with gas-turbine-based power projects 57

The cost of gas turbine power stations 59

5 Combined heat and power 62

History 63

Applications 64

CHP technology 65

Environmental considerations 71

Energy efficiency 72

Financial risks 73

Cost of CHP 73

6 Piston-engine-based power plants 75

Piston engine technology 76

Co-generation 81

Combined cycle 82

Environmental considerations 83

Financial risks 85

Costs 86

7 Fuel cells 89

The fuel cell principle 90

Fuel cell chemistry 90

Types of fuel cell 93

Phosphoric acid fuel cell 94

Proton-exchange membrane fuel cell 96

Molten carbonate fuel cells 97

Solid oxide fuel cells 99

Environmental considerations 101

Financial risks 102

Fuel cell costs 102

8 Hydropower 104

The hydropower resource 105

Hydro sites 106

Dams and barrages 107

Turbines 109

Small hydropower 113

The environment 114

Financial risks 117

The cost of hydropower 119

9 Tidal power 122

Tidal motion 122

The tidal resource 123

Tidal technology 124

Environmental considerations 129

Financial risks 130

The cost of tidal power 131

10 Storage technologies 134

Types of energy storage 135

Pumped storage hydropower 136

Compressed air energy storage 139

Large-scale batteries 143

Superconducting magnetic energy storage 146

Flywheels 147

Capacitors 148

Hydrogen 149

Environmental considerations 149

Costs 151

11 Wind power 153

Wind sites 155

Wind turbines 156

Offshore wind technology 163

Constraints on wind capacity 164

Environmental considerations 164

Financial risks 166

The cost of wind power 167

12 Geothermal power 170

The geothermal resource 171

Geothermal energy conversion technology 175

Environmental considerations 179

Financial risks 180

The cost of geothermal power 181

13 Solar power 184

The solar energy resource 184

Sites for solar power generation 185

Solar technology 186

Solar thermal power generation 186

Photovoltaic devices 192

Solar cell deployment 196

Environmental considerations 198

Financial risks 199

The cost of solar power 200

14 Ocean power 204

Ocean energy resource 204

Ocean thermal energy conversion 206

Wave energy 210

Ocean current generation 215

15 Biomass-based power generation 219

Types of biomass 220

Biomass energy conversion technology 224

Environmental considerations 229

Financial risks 231

The cost of biomass generated power 232

16 Power from waste 235

Landfill waste disposal 235

Waste sources 236

Waste composition 237

Waste collection 238

Waste power generation technologies 239

Environmental considerations 243

Financial risks 246

The cost of energy from waste 247

17 Nuclear power 249

Fundamentals of nuclear power 251

Nuclear reactors 254

Nuclear fusion 260

Environmental considerations 260

Financial risks associated with investing in nuclear power 264

The cost of nuclear power 265

Index

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