Oil is the largest source of energy in the U.S., providing close to 40 percent of all of the nation’s entire power needs. Though most oil is used for transportation or home heating purposes, a small percentage is still used as a fuel for electricity generating plants.
Three technologies are used to convert oil into electricity:
1. Conventional steam – Oil is burned to heat water to create steam to generate electricity.
2. Combustion turbine – Oil is burned under pressure to produce hot exhaust gases which spin a turbine to generate electricity.
3. Combined-cycle technology – Oil is first combusted in a combustion turbine, using the heated exhaust gases to generate electricity. After these exhaust gases are recovered, they heat water in a boiler, creating steam to drive a second turbine.