The Almost Mystical Way Dams Produce Energy

Hint: it has to do with gravity and kinetic energy.

Did you know that 16% of the world’s electricity is produced through hydroelectric power plants, most of which are located inside, on, or near dams? Dams are indeed very useful marvels of engineering but we don't often think of the fact that they actually serve to produce energy.

It might seem confusing since at first glance these large constructions seem to only have one purpose: to keep water from flooding areas downstream. However, most dams do indeed support the hydroelectric power plants that produce our precious energy by taking advantage of one simple thing: gravity.

They do this with the help of wind turbine generators which harness the kinetic energy of the water as it falls from high up behind the dams. These generators convert kinetic energy into mechanical energy which is then further converted into electrical energy with incredible efficiency.

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In fact, hydropower plants can convert energy from the water held by a dam into electricity with up to 95% efficiency. Wow! How exactly do they achieve this level of efficiency? Up to how much power can they produce depending on their size? And how specifically do they work? Watch the video to find out the answers to all these questions and more.

If the video does not play on this page, you can watch in on our YouTube channel here.

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