Hydroelectric Power and the City of Ember

Power up! An underground hydroelectric generator powers the entire City of Ember. This week, Everyday Einstein explains the science behind the popular series.

Lee Falin, PhD
3-minute read
Episode #45

I’m a Big Fan

You might be surprised to learn that most electric fans are in fact just miniature wind power generators running in reverse. Electrical energy enters the coils on the stator, which causes a fluctuation in magnetic field, which then exerts a force on the magnets, causing the rotor to spin. The spinning rotor turns the turbine, which converts the rotating mechanical energy into wind.

If you’re interested, you can find all kinds of projects on the Internet that show you how to turn old electric fans into miniature generators.


So now you know how hydroelectric generators (and all generators) work. Anytime you see a mechanical device generating electricity, be it via wind, steam, coal, or river power, there's a pretty good chance that these same steps are involved.

If you liked today’s episode, you can become a fan of Everyday Einstein on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, where I’m @QDTeinstein. If you have a question that you’d like to see on a future episode, send me an email at everydayeinstein@quickanddirtytips.com.

Michael Faraday and Steam Turbine images from Shutterstock


About the Author

Lee Falin, PhD

Dr. Lee Falin earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, then went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology from Virginia Tech. 

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