How hydroelectric power plant works?

A power plant which utilizes the energy of falling water in order to generate electricity is called hydroelectric power plant. A turbine of the plant converts the potential energy of falling water into kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is a form of energy which is produced due to the motion of an object or particle. Then a generator of the plant converts this kinetic energy from the turbine into electrical energy. 

Parts of a hydroelectric power Plant

Most regular hydroelectric power plants incorporate following four significant parts:

  1. Dam: Raises the water level of the stream to make falling water. Likewise controls the progression of water. The repository that is shaped is, as a result, put away energy.
  2. Turbine: The energy of falling water pushing against the turbine's sharp edges makes the turbine turn. A water turbine is similar to a windmill, with the exception that the energy is produced by falling water rather than wind. The turbine converts the potential energy of falling water into kinetic energy.
  3. Generator: Associated with the turbine by shafts and conceivably outfits so when the turbine turns it makes the generator turn moreover. It converts  the kinetic energy from the turbine into electrical energy. Generators in hydroelectric power plants work very much like the generators in different kinds of power plants.
  4. Transmission lines: Transmission lines are used to transmit power from the hydroelectric power plant to homes and business.


How much power a hydroelectric power plant can produce?

Production of power by a hydroelectric power plant relies upon two factors:

  • How Far the Water Falls: The farther the water falls, the more power it has. By and large, the distance that the water falls relies upon the size of the dam. The higher the dam, the farther the water falls and the more power it has. Researchers would agree that that the force of falling water is "straightforwardly relative" to the distance it falls. As such, water falling two times as far has two times as much energy.
  • Amount of Water Falling: More water falling through the turbine will create more power. How much water accessible relies upon how much water streaming down the waterway. Greater streams have seriously streaming water and can create more energy. Power is too "straightforwardly relative" to stream. A stream with two times how much streaming water as one more waterway can create two times as much energy.

How to calculate the output energy of a dam 

We can compute the energy of a dam using following formulas:

Power = (Dam Height) x (Flow of Water) x (Efficiency) / 11.8


  • Power: The electric power in kilowatts (one kilowatt rises to 1,000 watts).
  • Dam Height: The distance the water falls estimated in feet.
  • Flow of Water: The measure of water streaming in the waterway estimated in cubic feet each second.
  • Efficiency: How well turbine and generator of the plant convert the energy of falling water into electrical energy. This efficiency ranges from 60% (0.60) to 90% (0.90) based on the product quality of the turbine and generator.
  • 11.8: Converts units of feet and seconds into kilowatts.

Lets consider that the dam height is 9 feet, the flow of water is 400 cubic feet each second) and we have a turbine and generator with an efficiency of 80%. In this case, the power for the dam will be:

Power = (9 feet) x (400 cubic feet each second) x (0.80)/11.8 = 244 kilowatts

To get a thought what 244 kilowatts implies, we should perceive how much electrical energy we can make in a year. As the unit of electrical energy basically in kilowatt-hours, the power from the dam is multiplied by the quantity of hours in a year.

Electrical Energy = (244 kilowatts) x (24 hours of the day) x (365 days out of every year) = 2,137,440 kilowatt hours.

Prasun Barua

Prasun Barua is an Engineer (Electrical & Electronic) and Member of the European Energy Centre (EEC). His first published book Green Planet is all about green technologies and science. His other published books are Solar PV System Design and Technology, Electricity from Renewable Energy, Tech Know Solar PV System, C Coding Practice, AI and Robotics Overview, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Know How Solar PV System, Know The Product, Solar PV Technology Overview, Home Appliances Overview, Tech Know Solar PV System, C Programming Practice, etc. These books are available at Google Books, Google Play, Amazon and other platforms.


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