How gas turbines produce electricity

In order to generate electricity, the gas turbine heats a mixture of air and fuel at very high temperatures, causing the turbine blades to spin. The spinning turbine drives a generator that converts the energy into electricity.

The gas turbine can be used in combination with a steam turbine—in a combined-cycle power plant—to create power extremely efficiently.

1. Air-fuel mixture ignites:

The gas turbine compresses air and mixes it with fuel that is then burned at extremely high temperatures, creating a hot gas.

2. Hot gas spins turbine blades:

The hot air-and-fuel mixture moves through blades in the turbine, causing them to spin quickly.

3. Spinning blades turn the drive shaft:

The fast-spinning turbine blades rotate the turbine drive shaft.

4. Turbine rotation powers the generator:

The spinning turbine is connected to the rod in a generator that turns a large magnet surrounded by coils of copper wire.

5. Generator magnet causes electrons to move and creates electricity:

The fast-revolving generator magnet creates a powerful magnetic field that lines up the electrons around the copper coils and causes them to move.

The movement of these electrons through a wire is electricity.

Fast fact: The GE 7F.05 gas turbine generates 225 MW, equivalent to 644,000 horsepower, or the power of 644 Formula One cars.