Booklet explains basics of power plant technology

A primer on the inner workings of power plants provides a basic view of how power plants work for non-specialists in the industry.

The publication, entitled “Power Plant Primer,” is available in updated form from Power Engineering Magazine and PennWell Publishing Co.

The 20-page instructional booklet is designed to be a first look at the industry for new employees just entering the field or for students.

Opening the lesson with a teakettle and candle illustration, the booklet details how steam can cause a turbine to turn, thus generating electricity. Simple graphics are used throughout the literature as the complexity of each plant design shows the progression that inventors of electric generation systems must have gone through to end up with today’s more efficient and safer power plants.

With each new design, the efficiency improves and generation technology choices multiply. Charts and formulas explain how steam temperature affects the overall efficiency of the plant.

An entire section is devoted to exploring the various water and steam circulation systems.

After each of the systems is explained separately, they are reintegrated to resemble a modern power plant.

The primer wraps up the explanation by explaining the automation necessary to control a multimillion dollar power plant in a precise way so that no equipment is damaged and power quality is maintained.

So much precision is required, the booklet states, that the generator speed serves as our time standard, because our synchronous electric clocks depend upon the constant speed of the generator to keep accurate time.

The 20-page primer is available from the publishers of Power Engineering magazine for $25, with larger orders earning discounts. For more information, call Glenda Harp at 1-800-331-4463 Ext.6301 or e-mail at

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