What is Electric Generator?
The electric motor, generator, and transformers all work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical work. The electric generator works in the opposite way of an electric motor. It converts mechanical work into electrical energy. The source of mechanical energy varies from a wide range of hand cranks and combustion engines.
How does a Generator Work?
An electric generator is a device which is used for the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The principle of working of a generator is such that flow of electric charges can be induced by moving an electrical conductor in a magnetic field. Moving the conductor in the magnetic field or stationary conductor in a fluctuating magnetic field produces a voltage difference between the two ends of the wire (electrical conductor), thus producing an induced current.
This conversion takes place when the electric charges move in the winding. The modern generation generators work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. Voltage difference is created between the two ends of the wire, which results in the flow of electric charges resulting in production of electric current.
Components of an Electric Generator
The main components of an electric generator are given below
- The Frame – the structure
- An Engine – source of mechanical energy
- The Alternator – produces an electrical output from the mechanical input
- A Fuel System – to keep the generator operational
- A Voltage Regulator – to regulate the voltage output
- A Cooling System – to regulate heat levels that build up in the system
- A Lubrication System – for durable and smooth operations over a span
- An Exhaust System – to dispose of the waste exhaust gases produced in the process
- A Charger – to keep the battery of the generator charged
- Main Control – the control panel controlling generator interface
Types of Electric Generators
The classification of electric generators depend on the type of electrical energy that is produced, which is either direct current or alternating current.
- AC generators: These generators are known as single-phase generators and are limited to 25kW.
- DC generators: These generators are divided into three categories and they are shunt, series, and compound-wound. Shunt generators are used in battery chargers. Series generators are used in street lights. While most of the DC generators are compound-wound.
Uses of an Electric Generator
- They provide the power for most power networks across cities
- Small scale generators provide a good backup for household power needs or small businesses
- At construction sites, before the power is set up, they extensively make use of electric generators
- Energy efficient as fuel consumption is reduced drastically
- Since they give a range of voltage output, they are used in labs
- They are used to drive motors
- They are used in transportation
Below is a video explaining the problems with solutions related to electromagnetic induction: