Factors which affect the efficiency of power stations include fuel type
(brown coal, black coal, gas) the load factor (full load, part load) and
the technology employed. The figure is generally quoted as sent out
(electricity generated - used in station) / fuel higher
For cogeneration or CHP (combined heat and power) plants, the total
efficiency or energy utilisation factor can be quoted
(electricity generated - used in station + useful heat)
/ fuel higher heating value
The efficiency of Australian coal power stations has risen over
Selected 1988 national average thermal efficiencies are shown
Energy Balances of OECD Countries 1987 - 1988,
The highest efficiencies are being achieved by combined cycle plants.
In a combined cycle plant, surplus heat from a gas turbine is used
to produce steam which in turn drives a steam turbine. Efficiencies of
over 50% are routinely achieved and efficiencies approaching 55% are
Increasing efficiencies are being achieved with conventional single
cycle plants. The use of supercritical conditions and a cold final
cooling water source allows a power station in Denmark to attain over
45% efficiency, the world's highest for an operational, single cycle,
large coal-fired plant.
In cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) plants waste heat is
utilised, typically for district heating or for an industrial process.
Total efficiencies of 80% are typical.
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