What is a Prime Mover for an Electrical Generator?

Prime Mover for an Electrical Generator
Fig-Prime Mover for an Electrical Generator

Prime Mover Who Rotates the Electrical Generator Shaft Constantly to Generate Electrical Energy Converting the Mechanical Rotating force:

Simple idea about prime mover that can be anything to provides mechanical input to a machine.

Better understanding we can say, Yes, even human can be act as a prime mover if anyone rotate the machine by himself and give mechanical input to the machine.

But for machine a good prime mover is something that maintains to provide a constant speed irrespective of the load applied on a generator.

Actually the prime mover is a primary source of power, means all the machinery that provide power for performing different mechanical work.

So, prime mover is a group of machines that transform energy from thermal, electrical, or pressure into mechanical form for use in different sources for some mechanical work to generate electrical energy by electrical generator.

Wikipedia Prime mover (locomotive)In engineering, a prime mover is an engine that converts fuel to useful work. In locomotives, the prime mover is thus the source of power for its propulsion. In an engine-generator set, the engine is the prime mover, as distinct from the generator.

What is the Common types of Prime Mover for Electrical Generator?

AC synchronous generator at a power plant will be driven / turned / spun by the prime mover. In the field of electrical generator the more common types of energy resources used to generate electricity and their associated prime movers classes are as below:

Steam turbines
Fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil)
Solar-heated steam 

Hydro turbines
Dams and rivers
Pump storage 

Combustion turbines
Natural gas
Combined cycle

Wind turbines
Solar direct (photo-voltaic)

Major Classification of Prime Mover

Prime movers are classified as follows: 

a.External combustion engine. Ex. Steam Engine b.Internal Combustion engine i) Petrol engine ii) Diesel engine 

a.Steam turbine b.Gas turbine c.Water turbine d.Wind turbine

Electric Motor Also Called a Prime Mover

Prime mover is something that provides motion/rotation or mechanical power to move a shaft; converts energy from a source energy, into mechanical energy, usually, as a motive power source providing traction to move a vehicle.

An electric motor is an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. The reverse of this is the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy and is done by an electric generator, which has much in common with a motor.

The fan over the stove and in the microwave oven;
The blender;
The mixer; etc. are the example of electric motor used as prime mover.

What Happen If Electric Generator Prime Mover Rotates in Opposite Direction?

Electric generator generates electricity that maintains phase sequence and it's direction is universal. The phase 1,2,3 or R-Y-B is apart 120 degree from each other, following this rules all generators synchronize together.

Now consider one generator's prime mover rotating opposite direction, then phase difference between phases remain the same but the phase sequence of the power generated will change :)

Suppose R-Y-B is the phase sequence in normal operation then after rotating of prime mover in opposite direction phase sequence would be R-B-Y, because magnetic field of rotor poles will be firstly cut by R winding then B and then Y.


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