Electricity is all around us, it lights our rooms, runs our technology and generally makes modern living a breeze. We’re so used to it that it almost feels as natural as the air we breathe, but it wasn’t always this way. Scientists only figured out how to harvest electrical energy in the 19th century, using natural metals such as copper, silver and gold to conduct currents. Over the last few hundred years the process of creating electricity has developed significantly, and each year energy sources are refined more and more.
Electricity is all around us, and we use it constantly throughout our days, yet it’s easy to take for granted. Let’s take a closer look at this precious resource and how it’s created.
So What is Electricity?
Before we delve too far into the source of electricity, it’s first important to be aware of what it actually is. Electricity is the stimulation of negatively charged electrons that surround an atom. When electrons are stimulated they move from atom to atom, creating electromagnetic energy. Metal materials have a loose hold on their outlying electrons, meaning the electron charge is easier to transfer, therefore they have better conductibility. On the other hand materials such as wood and glass have a strong hold on there electrons so they are less conductible.
How is Electricity Created?
The creation of electricity must be generated through other energy sources, such as coal, gas, hydropower, solar power and wind and the same principle of generation applies to all sources of energy. Power pushes a turbine which rotates a series of magnets within copper wire coils. This movement excites the electrons, creating charge and thereby generating electricity.
Types of Generation
Let’s take a bit of a closer look at some of the forms of energy that are used to generate electricity.
• Gas, coal and nuclear plants both work in a similar ways. Fuel is used to create heat, which boils water and creates steam which in turn pushes the turbine.
• Windmills operate differently, using the natural force of wind to push a turbine.
• Hydropower uses the power of waves to move turbines.
• Solar energy is different as it generates electrical power by converting solar radiation into electricity via semiconductors.
What Happens Next?
After energy is generated it needs to be transferred to the electrical grid. The newly generated electricity leaves generators and flows along large transmission lines. Substations increase volts for long distance travel, and on the other end secondary substations decrease voltage for different domestic, commercial and industrial purposes. By the time that you switch on a light bulb, the charge created in a generator has likely travelled hundreds of kilometres.
If you have any questions about how electricity is created or would like to know more about installation or maintenance of electrical items please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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