What is hydroelectric?

What Does hydroelectric Mean

The adjective hydroelectric refers to what belongs to or related to hydroelectricity . This term is linked to the electricity obtained through hydraulic energy , which is the type of energy generated by the movement of water .

Hydraulic or hydro energy, therefore, takes advantage of the kinetic and potential energy of the waterfalls, the tides and the water currents, forming part of the renewable energies since it is not exhausted with its use.
The infrastructure that uses hydraulic energy to generate electrical energy is known as a hydroelectric power station . Its operation is based on a waterfall that generates two levels of a channel: when the water falls from the upper to the lower level, it passes through a hydraulic turbine that transmits the energy to a generator in charge of transforming it into electrical energy.

The exploitation of hydraulic energy through a hydroelectric power station can be developed in two different ways. On the one hand, it is possible to divert a river to take advantage of the speed of its flow and generate electricity. Another option is to build a dam and intercept the stream.
It is possible to distinguish between various types of hydroelectric power station, depending on the point of view of the analysis. If they are studied according to their flow regime, the following four are recognized:
* Flowing water : it is also known by the name of filo water plant and uses part of the flow of a river in order to produce electricity. His work is continuous since, because he does not have a reservoir, he does not have the capacity to store water. Its turbines work directly on the water that is available at all times and can have a vertical axis (for rivers with steep slopes) or horizontal (for low slopes);
* Reservoir : it is the most common type of hydroelectric power station. It uses a reservoir to store water and regulate the flow through the turbine. In this way, as long as you have a sufficient reserve, you can produce energy throughout the year. On the other hand, the investment necessary for its creation and maintenance is greater than the alternatives;
* Regulating : it is used to store the water that flows from the river and can supply a consumption of several hours;
* Pumping : also called reversible , this type of hydroelectric power station can not only transform the potential energy of water into electricity, but is also capable of carrying out the reverse process, that is, increasing its potential energy through the consumption of electrical energy . This makes it a tool for storing energy, as if it were a battery of colossal dimensions.

On the other hand, four types of hydroelectric power plant can be distinguished according to the height of the water fall:
* high pressure : the water fall height is greater than 200 meters and they used to be associated with Pelton turbines, which are among the most efficient in the field of hydraulic energy;
* medium pressure : using Francis or Kaplan turbines, its drop height ranges from 20 to 200 meters;
* low pressure : their water slopes do not exceed 20 meters and they use Kaplan turbines ;
* Very low pressure : they use more recent technologies since Kaplan turbines are not suitable for slopes of less than 4 meters.
Finally, there is the tidal power station (which uses the ebb and flow of the tides, especially in coastal areas with very different tides from each other), the submerged tidal power station (which uses underwater currents to obtain energy and dates from the year 2002) and a class that takes advantage of the movement of the waves (tested for the first time in 1995, in Scotland, after almost two decades of investigation)

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