Energy Production: Where Does It Come From And How Is It Produced?


Energy refers to the ability to work. It exists in different forms, including electrical, potential energy, light, kinetic energy, and heat. Sources of energy are classified into non-renewable and renewable energy.


Energy:  How Is It Produced?


Nuclear Energy

Water is heated in nuclear power plants to produce steam. The produced steam is then used to spin turbines and generate electricity. Power plants use the heated water using the heat produced during nuclear fission. Energy is released upon the split of the atoms produced by nuclear fission.
Renewable Energy Sources

Sources of renewable energy include natural processes that allow for constant replenishment. They include wind, biofuels, hydrogen, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and porno ocean.

Solar Energy

The earth’s energy primary energy source is the sun. Sunshine is always clean and renewable. It is a sustainable energy source and never runs out. Maintaining energy from the sun is always easy, given that the sun shines every day. Solar energy experts use solar Photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy into electricity. Energy from the sun can be used directly or stored in batteries.

Wind Energy

Wind power is freely and abundantly available. It is also friendly to our surroundings. The power from the wind can be used to turn the shafts to which a windmill is attached, generating energy. Electricity is usually generated as the shaft moves through a generator or pump.


Sunshine produces biomass through photosynthesis. Then the biomass passes through cycles meant to produce different forms of energy. For instance, animal fodder produces dung, which can be converted into agricultural waste used for cooking. Biomass is a reliable energy source that accounts for most of the fuel used in rural areas. Most people use it for heating and household cooking. Other forms in which biomass is used for household heating include dried dung, charcoal, wood, and agricultural waste.


The ocean tides and flowing rivers can be reliable sources of energy. Water covers the largest part of the universe, so it can be a reliable energy source. While currently under-utilized, ocean tides and flowing rivers and streams can produce a lot of energy. Constructing a barrage across an estuary can help capture tidal water, which can be used to turn hydro-turbine used for energy production. Placing a floating device on the surface of water or attaching it to the ocean’s floor can help capture tides and waves. These tides and waves can produce energy used to turn turbines in a power plant.

Geothermal Energy

There exists so much heat in the earth’s crust. Geothermal plants convert this heat into electricity. In some cases, it can be used for direct heating. Geothermal power is eco-friendly and severe climatic conditions such as winter can’t affect it. That said, geothermal is a more reliable energy source than solar energy and hydropower.

Non-Renewable Energy

Non-renewable energy sources include coal, natural gas, and oil. They are also known as fossil fuels and are obtained from the remains of animals and plants that died thousands of years ago. These are the world’s top sources of energy. Though widely used, fossil fuels cause significant harm to the environment in the form of pollution.

Energy comes from different sources, and it is produced using different technologies. Main energy sources are categorized into renewable, non-renewable, and nuclear energy.


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Power plant size

Large (50 to 500 MW for instance):
• Commonly, oil is burnt to generate high pressure steam in a steam boiler. Power generator is steam turbine driven.
• It is mandatory to burn only very heavy fuel or residue, to avoid wasting money with unnecessary increase of operating costs.
Medium (3 to 30 MW for instance):
• Electricity generator may be driven by steam turbine or diesel engine.
• Once again, steam turbine means burning very heavy fuel-oil to avoid unnecessary waste in plant operating budget.
Diesel engine generator drive:
• Very often engine manufacturer has designed diesel engine to accept fuel specification up to bunker C.
• To reduce operating cost, the heaviest fuel oil acceptable to engine manufacturer must be supplied.

Fuel oil heating value

When generating thermal electricity, only recovered kilocalories or BTU are important: the additional qualities of the fuel oil are not improving the produced KWH quality. In other words, burning LPG , gas oil , domestic fuel or any oil product that could be better used, means burning its better properties… and wasting the differential part between thermal content value and total real cost .

Imported fuel

If fuel was available at power plant fence door, it may be assumed every plant manager would decide buying the cheapest heaviest fuel offered.

Unfortunately usually fuel is imported from overseas and sea tanker tranported .

Here start transport limitations, whatever their name:

Pour point, freezing point, paraffins content.
High viscosity ( Redwood, Saybolt, furol, engler, ..) absolute or kinematic, centipoises or centistokes.
Each fuel has its own specific properties, but as first estimation:

Light fuel, such FO 180, is usually easy to transport
Heavy fuel, such FO 380, is usually difficult and may be impossible to transport
Extra heavy fuel , such pitch, is not intended to be transported
Burned fuel

Thermal power plant usually burns fuel in a steam boiler to generate high pressure steam for the alternator steam turbine. Any fuel can be supplied to the boiler burners, provided the required viscosity is respected.

Typical example . Economical Feasibility

An excellent image of distillates and fuel prices correction with properties and specially viscosity is the spot price in various harbours where they are exported. In june 2003 for instance, an average range is:

Heavy fuel FO380 153 US $/T
Heavy fuel FO180 160 US $/T
GO cut MDO 240 US $/T
For the example , following is assumed:
Depending on imported heavy fuel characteristics, transport of FO180 is possible
but transport of FO380 not possible.
Power plant FO consumption: 400 000 T/Y

As shown on the simplified flow scheme hereafter, it is possible to import a fuel at 160 US $/T
and burn a transformed fuel costing only 153 US $/T:
Positif result # 400 000 T/Y * 7 $/T = 2.8 MM $/Y

A simple skid mounted distillation unit is necessary to achieve the gas-oil separation from the imported fuel.( mini-refinery type fractionation unit).

Pay-out time # 3 years