There are two aspects to remember from this lesson. First, the way electricity is generated is by steam boiler plants. Every power plant contains a way to introduce the fuel to the boiler; a boiler to heat steam to high temperature and pressure; and steam which turns the turbine, which turns the generator for electricity. Other parts of the power plant include a water cycle to condense the steam and then reheat it. There are also several systems in place to reduce the “bad” emissions that come out with the flue gas. We did not discuss the issues with CO2 emissions, what problems are caused by CO2, and how we might mitigate CO2 emissions, as that could be one lesson on its own. By using biomass, we mitigate CO2 use, and that will be discussed in a future lesson.
Many different fuels can be used to generate the heat for making the steam. The most common way here in the US is by coal, although plants have been switching to natural gas due to the low cost of natural gas currently. Coal, along with all fossil fuels, has issues with emissions. This lesson detailed the emissions from coal and how we deal with them in boilers for power plants.
You have reached the end of Lesson 3! Double-check the Road Map on the Lesson 3 Overview page to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before you begin Lesson 4.
If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on, or don't quite understand, please post your thoughts and/or questions to our Throughout the Course Questions discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. Remember that while you are there, you should also feel free to post your own responses if you are able to help out a classmate.