A Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generator produces electrical power. As in a conventional generator, it produces power by moving a conductor through a magnetic field. The moving conductor in a standard generator is a coil of copper wire. Unlike a standard electrical generator, the MHD contains no moving parts. In the MHD, the conductor is a fast moving hot plasma gas.
Figure 1 illustrates the basic operation of the MHD generator. The high temperature electrically conductive gas flows past a transverse magnetic field. An electric field is generated perpendicular to the direction of gas flow and the magnetic field. The electric field generated is directly proportional to the speed of the gas, its electrical conductivity and the magnetic flux density. Electricity can be siphoned off with electrodes placed in contact with the flowing plasma gas.
The MHD generators require a strong magnetic field. In order to make MHD generators a practical energy supply, superconductive magnets must be used.