Types of Prime Mover | Explanation and Example

To generate power, a prime mover uses electrical energy to generate electricity and creates a magnetic field, as well as an armature with a coil of wire on top that is rotated by the magnetic field.

Definition of Prime Mover

The prime mover is the machine that allows it to rotate. Turbines, for example.

Prime movers rotate around themselves and assist in the generation of energy for others. Because one of the characteristics of the prime mover is that the mechanical energy is taken from the natural mover, it cannot be called a prime mover if you turn it around and help others generate energy.

Steam turbines, gas turbines, water turbines, and inbound and outbound engines are examples. In a power plant, the prime mover normally rotates the shaft of the AC generator.

An electric motor, on the other hand, turns various pumps, lathe machines, boring bars, and other items, but it is not a primary mover because it is powered by electricity rather than natural energy.

‘A prime mover is a device that takes energy from natural sources and turns it into mechanical energy.’

The literal meaning of the term “prime mover” is a primary source of power. It refers to all of the machinery that generates power in order to do various mechanical activities.

It is a set of devices that convert energy from thermal, electrical, or pressure to mechanical form, which can subsequently be used to perform mechanical work in a variety of ways. Turbines and engines are two examples of such machines.

Why is the Prime Mover Needed

Humans had to rely on their physical strength and animals to accomplish various tasks in the early phases of mechanical machinery development, when there was no scientific progress or inventions in the field of mechanical machinery development.

Our culture’s distinguishing feature, which sets it apart from all previous civilizations, is the widespread use of mechanical power. Animals were formerly taught to assist people in a range of duties, including travel and agricultural labor.

The wind energy industry saw a revolution as a result of this. Ships, for example, were propelled by the wind. The use of power generated by running streams began after a period of time.

Humans revolutionized the world when they discovered how to convert heat created by chemical reactions into mechanical energy. Heat engines are the machines that have been used for this purpose, while prime movers refers to the entire system of machines that have been utilized for this purpose.

Types of Prime Mover

Prime movers can be divided into two main categories. Namely:

  1. Thermal Prime Mover
  2. Non-thermal Prime Mover

From those two types above, we still have a lot of subtypes, they are:

1. Thermal prime mover

This thermal prime mover uses heat engines as its main mechanism.

Heat engines: These engines employ various fuels such as gasoline, gasoline, oil, coal, and so on to generate mechanical power.

Thermal prime mover uses heat engines which can be divided into:

  • External combustion engine
    • Reciprocating steam engine
    • Steam turbine
    • Closed cycle gas turbine
  • Internal combustion engine
    • Reciprocating I.C. engine
    • Open cycle gas turbine

These are the main generators that use thermal energy from the source to generate electricity. Some examples of thermal primary movers are as follows:

  • Nuclear
  • Geothermal
  • Bio gas
  • Solar energy

2. Non-thermal prime mover

Furthermore, the non-thermal prime mover can divided again into three types:

  • Hydraulic turbine
  • Wind turbine
  • Tidal turbine

Nuclear Prime Mover

This prime mover generates mechanical energy from thermal energy using atom fission or fusion technologies.

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It’s typically found in nuclear power reactors. Some radioactive elements, such as uranium and thorium, have been employed in this fission or fusion process in a nuclear reactor.

Geothermal Prime Mover

The needed engine converts heat energy derived from a particular depth of this type of prime mover or the heated portion of the earth beneath the earth’s surface into mechanical power.

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Biogas Prime Mover

Biogas is made mostly from rubbish or any other waste that is utilized in a biomass plant to generate power using prime movers.

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Solar Prime Mover

The planet receives solar energy in the form of radiation or electromagnetic waves. This energy was trapped using solar panels made of semiconductor material. This thermal energy is subsequently converted into electricity.

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Hydraulic Turbine Prime Mover

Another common and valuable energy source. Water falling from a specific height contains latent energy. This potential energy is converted to kinetic energy when it reaches the prime mover. The power-generating hydraulic turbine is the principal mover here.

The other application is to create steam in a boiler with water running through it. Steam is utilized to generate mechanical power in steam turbines and steam engines once more.

Hydraulic turbines are machines that convert river kinetic energy into mechanical work at the turbine’s shaft. Tidal (wave) sea energy and river water energy are both renewable energy sources.

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In nature, they are the products of a water circuit, and they are gravitational, respectively (tide energy).

Hydraulic turbines are one of the oldest types of primary movers known to man. Water is employed as both an energy source and a working fluid; in general, water’s kinetic energy is utilized.

Wind turbines are similar to hydroelectric turbines, with the exception that the kinetic energy of the wind air replaces that of the water. Wind turbines, on the other hand, will be treated individually due to their numerous variances. In their applications, hydraulic turbines are frequently utilized as prime movers, or motors.

There are also reversible hydraulic machines that, depending on the purpose, can be utilized as a turbine or a pump. Hydraulic turbine pumps are another name for these pumps.

Hydrodynamic transmissions are made up of two or more hydraulic machines that can be readily mounted on a single frame. They work in the same way as mechanical gearboxes, except they are controlled by the user.

Wind Turbine Prime Mover

This power source has been increasingly popular in recent years because to its widespread availability. It is a sort of green energy produced power.

Wind turbines have been in use for centuries in countries such as Holland, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, and other European countries. The best locations are in the highlands, along the sea, or right on the water’s edge (or offshore).

As you gain altitude, the wind speed increases and becomes more uniform. More uniform flow and better energy extraction are achieved with larger height/turbine diameter designs than with smaller height/turbine diameter designs.

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This, however, comes at the expense of more expensive towers that are subjected to higher structural vibrations.

The wind’s uniformity and strength are determined by the wind’s speed and direction, as well as its location, height above the ground, and size of local terrain flaws. Wind-driven airflow can be defined as turbulent in nature in general.

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