What is a power plant?

Usina is a concept that derives from usine, a French term. The notion is used in several South American countries with reference to an industrial plant that produces, on a large scale, electricity, gas, potable water or other element of social importance.

A mill, therefore, is a type of factory with a certain specialization. According to the context, a steel mill, a hydroelectric plant, an oil refinery, and other places can be called power plants. For example: “The authorities promised to carry out a thorough investigation into the contamination around the plant” , “We must position the region as a dairy factory” , “I worked for more than a decade in a chemical factory ” .

Power generation is the plant concept related to activity and involves the transformation into energy of a different type such as thermal, chemical, nuclear, solar or kinetic. In order to carry out this process, it is necessary to resort to the power stations, where some of these transformations, essential for the electricity supply networks, are carried out. The fundamental component for the generation of energy is the so-called electrical generator, a device used to ensure that a potential difference is maintained between two poles (also known as terminals or terminals), so that mechanical energy is transformed into electrical energy. Another field in which the term plant is used to refer to an industrial site is mining, the economic activity that consists of the exploration or extraction of minerals from the deposits, areas of the soil and subsoil in which they have accumulated. Mining can be metallic (when gold, copper, silver, lead, aluminum, mercury or iron are extracted, among others) or non-metallic (when looking for sapphire, granite, clay, mica, marble, emerald or quartz, among others). Metal mining focuses on the production of industrial items, while the other, also called quarrying and construction, aims at raw material for ornamentation and jewelry, as well as construction materials. In steel mills, iron ore is treated to generate other types of it or some of its alloys. Mineral extraction is the first step in this process, since iron is found in nature in the form of carbonates, hydroxides, oxides, sulfides and silicates. Another industrial platform commonly known as a power plant is the oil refinery, where a process is carried out to obtain various fossil fuels that can be used in asphalt, mineral oils and combustion engines (such as gasoline and diesel).

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On the other hand, in everyday speech, many people use the term power plant to refer to the room in a rural house in which, for example, the water pump and the light machine are located. The idea of ​​power plant is also used to refer to the environment, physical or symbolic, that contributes to the generation of ideas or intangible issues. A political analyst can say that a certain library is a “neoliberal power”, because, in that place, there are intellectuals who spread the precepts of neoliberalism. In a similar sense, a barrio can be named as a “cultural plant” if in its streets it houses cultural centers, theaters and exhibition halls. This is because there are multiple artistic expressions in this area. Lastly, the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina) contains a state space called Usina del Arte, consisting of a symphonic room, a camera room and a microcine, among other installations intended for the realization of cultural events, such as concerts, film projections, conferences and others.

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