To know the advantages and disadvantages of electric generators, first of all, you have to know the fundamental of generator basic. Let’s dive in!
What is an Electric Generator?
An electric generator, also known as a dynamo is an electric machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The electric generator’s mechanical energy is usually provided by steam turbines, gas turbines, and wind turbines.
They are useful appliances that supply electrical power during a power outage and prevent the discontinuity of daily activities or disruption of business operations.
The reverse conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy is done by an electric motor. Both motors and generators have many similarities. But in this, the article let us focus mainly on electric generators and how they convert mechanical energy to electrical energy.
Types of Electric Generators
The classification of electric generators depends on the type of electrical energy that is produced, which is either direct current or alternating current.
- AC generators: AC generators are known as single-phase generators and are limited to 25 kW.
- 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.
How Does an Electric Generator work?
It is important to understand that a generator does not actually ‘create’ electrical energy. Instead, it uses the mechanical energy supplied to it to force the movement of electric charges present in the wire of its windings through an external electric circuit.
This flow of electric charges constitutes the output electric current supplied by the generator. This mechanism can be understood by considering the generator to be analogous to a water pump, which causes the flow of water but does not actually ‘create’ the water flowing through it.
The modern-day generator works on the principle of electromagnetic induction discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831-32. Faraday discovered that the above flow of electric charges could be induced by moving an electrical conductor, such as a wire that contains electric charges, in a magnetic field.
This movement creates a voltage difference between the two ends of the wire or electrical conductor, which in turn causes the electric charges to flow, thus generating electric current.
Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of electric generator with the effect in our real life.
Advantages 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
Disadvantages of an Electric Generator
Inherently, both AC and DC generators work on Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction. Whenever the conductor cuts the magnetized area, emf is induced inside it. Now, the voltage induced within the armature for the DC generator is AC, but that is transformed into the Dc kind through Commutator.
Therefore, basically, that transformed voltage is supplied into load through the brush and slip-ring construction.
- This poses a challenge when it comes to handling because of the greater voltages needed to supply a fixed level of power
- These systems require additional insulation because of the greater voltages needed to supply a fixed level of power
- In addition to all these risks, an AC generator is not as durable as a DC generator type
- Working with an alternating current system has some distinct risk and difficulties as compared to what can be expected from DC motors
- In addition to all these risks, an AC generator is not durable as a DC generator type
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
An Electric generator is an electrical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy in the form of alternative emf or alternating current.
You can use a generator inside an apartment as long as it’s battery-powered and NOT gas-powered. Gas-powered generators should only be used outside in open spaces. There are many safe-to-use battery-powered generators available for apartment living that will work to keep things running.
There are two types of electric generators.
1. AC generators
2. DC generators
One of the top-rated apartment generators is the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 3000X– with a superhero name like that, it better be. This portable power station is specifically designed for emergencies, so you don’t have to panic when the power goes out! Just make sure it’s charged up and ready to go, of course- and that only takes 14 hours from a wall outlet.