How Does a Power Plant Steam Generator Work?

Written by kirk reem
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How Does a Power Plant Steam Generator Work?
(DC Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Electricity is a necessity in modern society, and although alternative power sources, like solar or wind power, are increasing in popularity, much electricity comes from steam power plants. Steam power plants make use of generators to create their electricity.

Generating Electricity

The easiest way to create electricity is through induction. This basically involves rotating a metal wire through a magnetic field. While the wire rotates through the field, an electric charge is created. Power plant generators work on the same principle, although on an industrial scale.


In order to rotate the many loops of wire through the magnetic field, power plant generators use turbines. Turbines work in the opposite way to fans by turning as a result of air, water or steam moving over the blades, instead of rotating the blades to create moving air. In a steam power plant, steam is pushed against the turbines that are connected to a shaft that turns within the magnetic field.

Making the Steam

Many power plants use to steam to power generators. Water is heated by burning fossil fuels or through nuclear reaction, and when the water boils, steam is produced. The steam is then fed through the turbines, forcing them to rotate.

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