A coal-fired power station burns coal to generate electricity. There are many such power plants around the world, including in Israel. Their operating principle is simple: Burning coal heats water in a closed system. The water evaporates and becomes steam. The steam is used to drive a turbine, driving the magnet array that creates an electric field. In fact, this is the transformation of the potential chemical energy in the coal into energy in the form of heat (thermal kinetic energy), which is then transformed into mechanical kinetic energy and finally, into electrical energy. The video clip below describes how a coal-fired power plant works. Hydroelectric and nuclear power stations employ a similar principal (see other articles from our department).

The video was generously donated by the Canadian electricity company: Ontario Power Generation (OPG).


By Erez Garty
Biological Chemistry Department
Weizmann Institute of Science

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