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Most of the electricity that we use in this country is generated by large power stations using coal as fuel. Efficient as they are at converting the energy from coal into electricity, they waste at... least forty percent of the energy as heat from their cooling towers. The out-flowing clouds of steam from these giant towers is now a familiar part of our landscape, but with the pressures to conserve our energy resources, it would make sense to try to harness this waste heat for our domestic needs. To find out how viable it would be in practice to tap off the waste heat as part of a so-called Combined Heat and Power Scheme, Rosalind Armson (OU) takes us around Didcot Power Station, Didcot. Didcot is one of the biggest coal-fired Stations in Europe and supplys enough electricity to the national grid to meet the needs of 10 cities the size of Oxford. We look round all major parts of the plant because it's important to understand how electricity is generated by these stations before we can begin to appreciate any problems that might be associated with conversion to CHP. An animation sequence summarizes the key stages of electricity generation and Peter Todd of the CEGB explains to us in the control room about the fine adjustment that constantly have to be made to keep the plant running at maximum efficiency. As well as describing how the station works, the film gives an impression of the enormous scale of the operation, It's the size of Didcot that could present problems for a CHP scheme because, as we find out, the heat is produced as a by-product of electricity generation and consumer demand for heat and electricity doesn't always coincide. The film begins with an introduction for T101 Students from John Naughton.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T101, Living with technology: a foundation course
Item code: T101; 08; 1982
First transmission date: 1982
Published: 1982
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: Aileen Llewellyn
Contributors: Rosalind Armson; John Naughton
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Coal pulverising mills; Coal trains; Control room; Cooling towers; Didcot power station; Maximun theoretical efficiency; National Grid; Rotterdam; Steam cycle; Turbine hall
Master spool number: HOU3896
Production number: FOUT138W
Videofinder number: 2197
Available to public: no