Electricity defines the modern world. Everything that we think of as modern, from electric lights, through radio and television to home appliances, electronic devices, computers and all the paraphernalia of the information age depends for their operation, for their existence, on electricity.
Today the citizens of developed countries take electricity for granted while those of under developed countries and regions yearn for it. Yet the supply of electricity is both a complex and an expensive business. Increasingly, also, electricity has become a security issue. While people untouched by modernity can still live their lives without electricity, a modern industrial nation deprived of its electricity supply is like a dreadnought without it engines. It becomes helpless.
This book is primarily about the ways of generating electricity. It does not cover the means of transporting electricity and delivering it to those who wish to use it. Nor does it treat, except obliquely, the political issues that attach themselves to electricity supply. What it does attempt, is to provide an explanation of all the myriad ways that man has devised to produce this most elusive of energy forms.
The book is divided into chapters with one chapter devoted to each type of electricity generation. The explanations provided are thorough and technical where necessary but do not resort to overly technical language where this can be avoided. Readers, who are seeking a full analysis of the thermodynamics of the heat engine, or the differential equations for solving the problem of turbine flow, will need to look elsewhere.
The aim of the book is to provide a description of every type of power generation in an easily digestible form. There are occasional lacunas; there is no description of magneto-hydrodynamic power generation, for example. This was considered too obscure, even for a comprehensive text of this type. Otherwise, all practical and some still experimental forms are included.
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