Baumeister, Theodore Formerly, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York; Editor in Chief, "Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers"
Last reviewed:November 2018
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The process of changing energy from one form to another. There are many conversion processes that appear as routine phenomena in nature, such as the evaporation of water by solar energy or the storage of solar energy in fossil fuels. In the world of technology, the term "energy conversion" is more generally applied to operations in which the energy is made more usable. Traditional examples include the burning of coal or natural gas in power plants to convert chemical energy into electricity and the burning of gasoline in automobile engines to convert chemical energy into propulsive energy for a moving vehicle. The conversion of energy in sunlight via solar cells into electricity, as well as the conversion of kinetic energy in wind into electricity, are further examples (Fig. 1). See also: Automobile; Coal; Electricity; Energy; Energy sources; Evaporation; Fossil fuel; Gasoline; Natural gas; Power plant; Propellant; Propulsion; Solar cell; Solar energy; Thermoelectric power generator; Thermoelectricity; Water
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