A power station, also referred to as a power plant or powerhouse and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation of electric power. Most power stations contain one or more generators, a rotating machine that converts mechanical power into electrical power. In thermal power stations, mechanical power is produced by a heat engine that transforms thermal energy, often from combustion of a fuel, into rotational energy. Most thermal power stations produce steam, so they are sometimes called steam power stations. In a hydroelectric power station water flows through turbines using hydropower to generate hydroelectricity. Power is captured from the gravitational force of water falling through penstocks to water turbines connected to generators. Solar energy can be turned into electricity either directly in solar cells, or in a concentrating solar power plant by focusing the light to run a heat engine.
A solar photovoltaic power plant converts sunlight into direct current electricity using the photoelectric effect. Solar thermal power plants are another type of solar power plant. They use either parabolic troughs or heliostats to direct sunlight onto a pipe containing a heat transfer fluid, such as oil. Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity in areas with strong, steady winds, sometimes offshore. Many different designs have been used in the past, but almost all modern turbines being produced today use a three-bladed, upwind design. Marine energy or marine power refers to the energy carried by ocean waves, tides, salinity, and ocean temperature differences. The movement of water in the world’s oceans creates a vast store of kinetic energy, or energy in motion. This energy can be harnessed to generate electricity to power homes, transport and industries. Biomass energy can be produced from combustion of waste green material to heat water into steam and drive a steam turbine. Bioenergy can also be processed through a range of temperatures and pressures in gasification, pyrolysis or torrefaction reactions.