Electricity and mechanical power are largely used for powering our modern industrialized society. These are not stored in some natural form on earth in any great quantity. Other forms of energy must be converted. Different conversion technologies must be used. With some methods the electricity or mechanical power is produced directly in a single process. In others there are multiple steps involved.
Hydro turbines ..convert moving water from river and ocean dams into electricity
Wave generators ..use floats that move up and down with waves and produce electricity
Solar cells ..solid state materials that produce electricity directly from solar radiation impact
Thermocouples ..also called thermoelectric devices that produce electricity by heating dissimilar metals
Thermionic devices ..turn thermal energy into electricity by solid state means
Vapor turbines ..convert steam pressure into rotary motion then electricity
Piston vapor engines ..convert vapor pressure into rotary motion then electricity
Piston gas engines ..turn expanding gases to motion then electricity, Diesel, Otto, Brayton, Atkinson etc.
Gas turbines ..turn hot expanding gases to rotary motion then electricity
Stirling piston engines ..closed cycle engines turn thermal energy into motion then electricity
MHD ..turn moving charged fluids directly to electricity
Fuel cells ..turn chemical energy directly to electricity by the action of moving ions
Wind turbines ..turn moving air into rotary motion then electricity
Nuclear radiation cells ..solid state materials that produce electricity directly from nuclear radiation impact
Nuclear "ion" cells ..solid state materials that produce electricity directly from nuclear "ions"
Fig 1 Chart showing projected efficiencies of different future electricity generating powerplants