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What is Advantage and Disadvantage of Steam Turbines – Definition

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steam Turbines. Although approximately 90% of all electricity generation in the world is by use of steam turbines, they have also some disadvantages. Thermal Engineering

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steam Turbines


  • Since the steam turbine is a rotary heat engine, it is particularly suited to be used to drive an electrical generator.
  • Thermal efficiency of a steam turbine is usually higher than that of a reciprocating engine.
  • Very high power-to-weight ratio, compared to reciprocating engines.
  • Fewer moving parts than reciprocating engines.
  • Steam turbines are suitable for large thermal power plants. They are made in a variety of sizes up to 1.5 GW (2,000,000 hp) turbines used to generate electricity.
  • In general, steam contains high amount of enthalpy (espacially in the form of heat of vaporization). This implies lower mass flow rates compared to gas turbines.
  • In general, turbine moves in one direction only, with far less vibration than a reciprocating engine.
  • Steam turbines have greater reliability, particularly in applications where sustained high power output is required.


Although approximately 90% of all electricity generation in the world is by use of steam turbines, they have also some disadvantages.

  • Relatively high overnight cost.
  • Steam turbines are less efficient than reciprocating engines at part load operation.
  • They have longer startup than gas turbines and surely than reciprocating engines.
  • Less responsive to changes in power demand compared with gas turbines and with reciprocating engines.
Steam Turbine
Steam Turbine. Source wikipedia.org License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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Steam Turbine

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