We all are familiar with power inverters. Today, they are a common sight in every house hold. But apart from being used in homes, power inverters are also widely used for commercial purposes in large scale industries. In fact, in some industries, power inverters play a very important and key role. In this article we will discuss such industrial applications of power inverters.
- Used in solar power plants:
Deriving electricity from solar cells is a very green and clean way of producing power. Unlike the traditional resources used in power generation, solar energy is much more than abundant and it is pollution free. You must have seen solar cells installed in some households on their roof tops. Similar solar cells are used on a large industrial scale to produce electricity of a colossal scale. The only requirement for generating electricity from solar cells is the presence of sunlight. Places like deserts are extremely suitable for installing such power plants. Today, solar cell power plants are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to power plants fueled by gasoline or nuclear rods. The only problem is that solar cells produce direct current while most of the electronic devices in our homes run on alternating current. To convert this direct current produced by solar cells in to alternating current, power inverters are installed on a large scale. These power inverters can also step up the voltage of the thus produced alternating current so that it can be effectively transmitted over long distances. It is important to step up the voltage with the help of power inverters as there is significant loss of energy through cooper wires used for transmission of electricity over long distances.
- Used in induction heating:
You must have seen electric heating devices known as induction heaters. These heaters don’t have any flame and so don’t require any fuel. They operate on the principle of electromagnetic induction. The principle is simple, when a conductor is subjected to a varying magnetic field; there is generation of voltage in it. This voltage generation results in the conductor to heat up and thus anything that is put on it can be heated. Power inverters find their application in induction heating because in order to heat up the conductor effectively, we require a high frequency alternating current. But the current supplied through the main lines is not of such a high frequency, even though it is alternating in nature. To achieve this, first the alternating current is converted in to direct current. This is done by installing another electronic device known as rectifier. It is important to convert the alternating current in to direct current because power inverters do not operate on alternating current. For their proper functioning, they need direct current as input and will give alternating current as output. The direct current, thus obtained from the rectifier is now fed in to the power inverter. The power inverter is pre programmed to give out high frequency alternating currents. The high frequency alternating current thus produced is then fed in to the induction heater.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Dan Rowe is an electrical engineer at a major power generation station in North America. He specializes in thermal power generation and is very well versed with all the aspects of electrical devices employed in the process especially power inverters.