Classification of power plant types
During the 150-year or so history of power plant construction, several power generation technologies have been developed and optimised. These can be categorised on the basis of various criteria, such as:
- Operating principle
- Working medium
- Primary energy source
- Plant size
Compared with all the others, each of these technologies has various advantages and disadvantages in terms of efficiency, availability, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. The power generation type and dimensions need to be determined on the basis of the specific project parameters. The plethora of modern power plant variants available reflects this broad range of bespoke requirements.
At the global level, fossil fuels account for around 68% of electricity generation and some 30% of all CO2 emissions. The CO2 neutrality, sustainability and free "fuel" of renewable energies are countered by their heavy reliance on environmental factors such as sunshine, wind, and water availability and strength. The resulting fluctuations in energy production capacity and low utilisation levels have a negative impact on cost effectiveness.
Whilst it is true that the load profile of biomass and biogas power stations is easier to control, this advantage is countered by the limited availability of the specific fuel type.