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Barking and Dagenham College

BTEC National Diploma in Construction

Unit 13: Environmental Science

Assignment: Electrical Power: Generation & Transmission


Alternating Current (a/c) is an electrical current whose magnitude and route differ cyclically as opposed to direct current (d/c), whose direction remains constant. The natural wave form of a/c power circuits a sine wave, which is a smooth repetitive wavy line, as this result in the most proficient transmission of energy. A/C is energy efficient and good for long distance transmission. It is mostly delivered to commercial and residential structures. Some appliances, such as radio and audio, use A/C electrical power. Electricity in houses is the most important aspect that helps people lives comfortably in their own homes. We require electrical power to cook, clean, keep our houses warm in winter season, and to bath. Electricity is delivered to our homes at 230-240V. Electrons flow through a conductor which serves as electricity. It is generated at power stations. Power stations commonly consist of revolving electrical generators which produces the electricity, through revolving.


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Alternating Current is generated in a power station with the use of alternating electric generator. The generator transforms mechanical energy to electrical energy. It also regulates the frequency. Alternating current can be presented as a sine curve or wave with a frequency of 50Hz. Energy can be produced from different sources. The most common energy sources in recent times are fossil fuels, nuclear power, water turbines, and solar power. Energy can be generated or renewed using modern technology such as solar powers and water turbines. Other resources such as fossil fuels, which include coal, oil and gas, are organic matters. When the energy is gathered, it goes through a process which transforms chemical energy to Electrical energy which we use to power appliances and machineries.

Chemical Energy Boiler

Kinetic Energy Steam Turbine

Mechanic al Energy Alternator

Electrical Energy Transformer and pylons

A transformer is a static machine which transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through active conductors (transformer's coils). However, the transformation of energy can be altered. It is depending on the energy source.


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Properties of Alternating Current:-

Frequency (f) Number of repetitions, or cycles, of output per second: hertz (Hz).

Peak Value Highest value of alternating voltage or current, measured in either direction. The Peak values occurs temporarily and merely twice in a full cycle.

RMS Value The mathematical average of a sine wave output is zero. However, an alternating supply does generate an effective voltage or current which is measured by RMS value.

RMS Value is the rate of direct current that has the same heating effects of the alternating current.

Power Factor

This is the ratio of the actual power or watts to perceptible power or volt amps. It is measured with a wattmeter. It ranges from 0.0 to 1.0, as the lower value can result to higher electricity cost.

Potential difference or Voltage (pd or V) A measure of the ability to move electricity between two points in a conductor.

Power (p) Watts Energy

= = =

Current (A) x Potential Difference (Volts V) or (Watts W) Amps x Volts P x time in joule (J)


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Transmission is the act of transferring electrical energy, from generating power plants to substations located near to population area. Transmission lines commonly use alternating current (AC) because AC is more efficient due to its capability to be transformed to higher voltages for less power. The following is where the electricity gets transmitted: Super Grid Existing high voltage transmission grid. Previous transformer where the electricity came from. Original Grid Secondary transmission High distribution Commercial consumer supplies Transformer near industrial units. Transformer near houses, which can operate 5-7 houses. Domestic consumer supplies

The distribution of electricity is carried out with a complex system of underground cables and overhead cables. The cables transfer the electricity to the transformers which control the amount of voltage. The distribution systems:-

1. High voltage transmit through overhead power cables 2. Low voltage transmit electricity at 132 V or below


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When AC has been generated, it will undergo a transformer which will amplify the voltage to higher levels prior to transmitting of electricity to the National Grid. Electricity is then is transmitted to the alternators, which is about 25.000 V (25 kV) and transforms it up to 400 kV, 275 kV for the super grid, 132 kV for the original grid, 66 kV and 33 kV for secondary transmission, 11 kV for high distribution, 415/400 volts for commercial consumer supplies (Industrial units and shops) and finally 240/230 volts for domestic consumer supplies (houses).

Transformation of Electrical Power

A transformer is an electrical apparatus by which electric currents are changed; one voltage to another voltage. It is very essential that electricity is transformed; due to the possible high risk it can put occupants in a mere household. As soon as Electricity is generated, it is wise to use it presently due to economical issues. Electricity is generated from power plants, then transformed and transmitted with the use of a network of cables. There is also a possibility of power losses, which can occur due to conflict on the wires to the flow of the current, during transmission. To prevent power losses, the voltage should be controlled by transformers. Furthermore, by keeping the amperage to minimal can also decrease the chance of any power loss in transmission and distribution cables. Control of Transformers Step up transformers are in the power plants, which is use to raise voltage and reduce amperage. The effectiveness will be improved and smaller transmission cables can be used, this serves as an advantage. Step down transformers are used to lessen the voltage and amplify the amperage, which is the opposite of the step up transformer. It is carried out prior to the electricity arrive at a property. Step down transformers are use once the


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power is transported from transmission to distribution lines and also when the electricity is transferred from distribution to service lines.

Why AC must be used?

Alternating current (AC) is frequently used in domestic units, i.e. houses, due to the fact that it is far more efficient than direct current. The use of alternating current power started in the 19th century due to the untrustworthiness of direct current. AC can be simply transformed to either high voltage or low voltage levels with the use of a transformer, with minimal loss of energy. High voltage current is more efficient in the distribution of electricity in distant spaces; this signifies that the high voltage can be concentrated at the power station to a more suitable voltage to use on domestic properties. The transformer is used to modify the voltage in AC electrical circuits. Usually, a transformer is piece of iron bonded with a wire; AC is required to pass through it for it to function. It is essential to a power station as it controls the electrical voltage for extensive distance transmission and lessening the voltage prior to the current reaches its destinations. There are diverse methods of how substations broadcast electricity. For example, one method is when a substation is significantly amplified the alternating current for long distance transmission via transformer at the power station. Another substation decreases the high voltage towards the end of the transmission cable and then the electricity is linked to the local grid. Prior to the entry of electricity to a structure, the voltage must be decreased to preserve safety. There are also advantages to AC, which is why it is frequently use than direct current (DC). The following is its advantages:-

It is cheaper to transfer AC to DC than DC to AC. Alternating current can be simply changed to a higher or lower voltage with minimal loss of power.

AC can be transmitted in longer distances than DC. AC can be generated at higher voltages than DC with less trouble. It is easy to complete the transmission of bulky quantity of power over long distances.


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Direct current (DC) has several disadvantages, which also offset its advantages and made AC more frequently used than DC. The following are the disadvantages:-

It is extremely complicated to transmit DC over long distances. Bulky amount of power can be lost due to the conflict of the transmission wires used
to transfer current from the power station to the consumer.

Transformers cannot change DC from high voltage to low voltage.

Alternating Current Transformer Super grid Direct current


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