WHY US POWER RECOMMENDS DIESEL OVER GAS GENERATORS
Diesel Powered Electric Generators
Diesel fuel is an excellent fuel for generators. Diesel has historically been less expensive than gasoline (although that may be changing) and is readily available almost anywhere. Diesel Fuel, (when stored correctly) is very stable, has acceptable shelf life, and allows for a completely independent backup power system, unlike natural gas. Another major advantage to diesel is the lower operating temperature of the diesel engine itself. Diesel fuel enables combustion at a lower temperature and thus the entire engine does not have to endure the effects of a high temperature operating environment, this adds significantly to the overall expected life of the engine and greatly reduces the maintenance cost of engine repair and / or rebuilds (which are to be expected at some point). For these and other r reasons, manufacturers of industrial backup and emergency generators usually make this diesel the primary fuel source on their industrial stand-by generator models. These generators are suitable for small businesses and farms all the way up to large factories, hospitals and telecommunications facilities.
US POWER Typically Recommends Diesel Generators Due To a Diesel's:
a) Longevity – Diesel engines have lower operating temperatures. The analogy we always use is that of an 18-wheel semi-truck capable of nearly 1,000,000 miles of operation before major service.
b) Lower fuel costs (lower fuel consumption per kilowatt (kW) produced)
c) Lower maintenance costs – lower operating temperatures, no spark system, more rugged and more reliable engine,
Today’s modern diesels are quiet and normally require less maintenance than comparably sized gas (natural gas or propane) units. Fuel costs per kW produced with diesels is normally thirty to fifty percent less than gas units. 1800-rpm water-cooled diesel units operate on average 12-30,000 hours before major maintenance is required. 1800-rpm water-cooled gas units normally operate 6-10,000 hours because they are built on a lighter duty gasoline engine block. 3600-rpm air-cooled gas units are normally replaced – not overhauled at 500 to 1500 hours. Because the gas units burn hotter (higher btu of the fuel) you will see significantly shorter lives than the diesel units.
How does a diesel generator provide so much power with lower fuel consumption?
The main differences between the gasoline engine and the diesel engine are:
1. A gasoline engine intakes a mixture of gas and air, compresses it and ignites the mixture with a spark. A diesel engine takes in just air, compresses it and then injects fuel into the compressed air. The heat of the compressed air lights the fuel spontaneously.
2. A gasoline engine compresses at a ratio of 8:1 to 12:1, while a diesel engine compresses at a ratio of 14:1 to as high as 25:1. The higher compression ratio of the diesel engine leads to better efficiency.
3. Gasoline engines generally use either carburetion, in which the air and fuel is mixed long before the air enters the cylinder, or port fuel injection, in which the fuel is injected just prior to the intake stroke (outside the cylinder). Diesel engines use direct fuel injection -- the diesel fuel is injected directly into the cylinder.
Industrial Diesel Generators
Large stationary industrial backup / standby generators generally run on diesel fuel, but some can be powered by Natural Gas depending upon the application and setup. Diesel is preferred because of the lower operating cost and longer useful life of the overall generator unit. These units are usually engineered specifically for their particular application. The manufacturer can assist you with unit configuration. Large fuel storage tanks are generally engineered to fit the needs of the particular customer needs. Diesel fuel can contain stabilizer additives that extend its shelf life for those applications where the generator may not be used for long periods of time (emergency / backup). However, even these installations usually "swap" out their old fuel supply with a fresh supply at least once a year.
Diesel engine-driven generator systems are often ideal for industrial, data center, healthcare, utility, mining and agricultural applications including confinement house operations, dairy farms, and greenhouse facilities. Rugged and reliable, these generators are designed for use in many applications requiring a standby power supply
For instance, Baldor Industrial Diesel Liquid Cooled generators are at work all over the globe. For peak shaving duty, an IDLC generator can supply prime power in parallel with the utility. In the standby mode, the Baldor IDLC generator can supply emergency power to all critical loads and selected loads as desired. Every IDLC power system is designed, engineered, built and tested to the customer's specifications. Baldor's IDLC diesel generator sets include ratings from 30kW to 2000kW using John Deere, Mitsubishi, Cummins, or Detroit diesel engines. Solid-state engine controls and switchgear systems are designed to meet application requirements.
Portable Diesel Generators
Some portable generators are powered by diesel fuel as they come from the manufacturer. The small contractor portable generators (3-13kW) are powered by gasoline, however; most industrial-strength "jobsite" generators are built to run on diesel fuel. This includes hand-portable (sometimes on a wheeled cart) and small and large trailer mounted generator sets. Diesel powered portable units can be expected to have a much lower overall operating cost when compared to a gasoline powered unit of this size and class. Eventually an air-cooled gasoline engine will require major overhaul or replacement, where an air-cooled diesel powered unit will require less maintenance and have a much longer useful life because of their lower operating temperatures and speeds. This lower "long term cost of ownership" helps to explain why diesel generator sets are preferred by jobsite contractors who depend on their equipment to operate for long periods of time. The math is simple: longer useful asset life equates to increased Return on Investment.
Natural Gas Generators
Natural Gas is the fuel of choice to operate emergency generators with. Natural Gas is clean burning, readily available in many neighborhoods, and since natural gas pipelines are underground they are usually not affected by the elements or mechanical disruptions that cause most residential power outages. For these reasons, emergency generator manufacturers usually make this fuel option as a primary fuel source on their outside premise installed home stand-by generator models. Where a homeowner is already using natural gas for heating, cooking, or other uses, the use of a natural gas powered electric generator is always a good idea! The photo above gives you a good idea of what such a unit would look like.
In addition to used options, US Power offers new Baldor GLC generators for Natural gas or LP operation. These units provide reliable standby power for industrial and commercial applications including telecommunications, banking, medical, nursing homes, schools, etc. Applications include peak shaving and interruptible. US Power offers Baldor GLC power generator systems in open configuration, weather protective and fully sound attenuated enclosures. Other accessories are available to meet application requirements.
Here are a few features and benefits of our Baldor GLC generator line:
• All GLC generators are prototype engineered, factory-built and production-tested.
• Ratings from 30kW to 105kW (Larger GLC ratings up to 880 kW available—see IGLC for details)
• UL2200 standard
• Heavy Duty Gaseous GM Industrial engine with block heater for easier starting.
• Electronic Isochronous governor.
• 12V DC electric start with battery rack and cables standard.
• Circuit breakers come as standard for easy connection and protection.
• NFPA 110 operator control and run relay standard.
• Standard configuration is open skid mount without exhaust silencer.
• Fixed installation or Mod Express options are available including battery chargers, exhaust silencers, and enclosures.
• The best warranty in the business.
Home Backup Generators
Natural gas is the fuel of choice to operate home standby generators, sometimes called "home backup generators”. Although it is possible to configure a home backup system that runs on diesel fuel, mainly due to fuel storage and delivery issues. This is due to the widespread availability of Natural Gas in many residential neighborhoods. Since these units are installed outside the residence they have ready access to the existing fuel lines. Where natural gas does not exist in a neighborhood the homeowner may decide to install a large propane gas tank that can be periodically refilled by a local gas vendor.
Several manufacturers provide these types of generators, such as: Baldor, Cummins, Generac and others.
For instance, the Baldor Automatic Emergency product line has models ranging from 8-25kW. When used with an automatic transfer switch, these units continuously monitor the electrical current and start up automatically if the utility power supply is interrupted, automatically cooling off and shutting down off when the utility service is returned.
Here a few features and benefits of the Baldor AE line:
• Attractive Design – Aesthetically pleasing after installation.
• Fully Automatic System – When connected to an Automatic Transfer Switch.
• Convenient Fuel Source – Runs on your existing fuel supply (NG/LP).
• Weekly Exerciser – Starts and runs unit to check for operation.
• Powder Coat Paint Finish – State-of-the art painting system ensures long and beautiful enclosure life.
• Dual Side or Open Top Serviceability – Provides ease of maintenance.
• Advanced Noise Technology – Weatherproof enclosure is constructed of heavy gauge steel and has special sound insulation to reduce operating noise.
• Operational Efficiency – All engines are direct coupled to high efficiency brushless generators for dependable operation when needed.
• The best warranty in the business.
Industrial Gaseous Standby Generators up to 880kW
The Baldor Industrial Gaseous Liquid Cooled generators are custom configured to customer’s specifications and offered from 30kW to 880kW in Natural Gas or LP. IGLC power generation systems are available in open configuration, weather protective and fully sound attenuated enclosures. Every IGLC generator is designed, engineered, built and tested to the customer's specifications. Solid-state engine controls and switchgear systems are designed to meet application requirements. These units are manufactured in Wisconsin and are made with Cummins Engines and Baldor Alternators and completely assembled to Baldor specifications.
Portable generators are "generally" powered by either gasoline or diesel fuel as they come from the manufacturer. There are however; some conversions kits available that can be installed in order to make these units operate on propane (LPG) gas, or natural gas. We believe that the use of natural gas through such a conversion might be impractical for a portable generator. Owners should be aware that installing these conversion kits should be done only by an experienced and qualified repair technician and that in some case the conversion will void the original manufacturer's warranty. Please consider these factors before you decide to "convert" any generator to operate on natural gas or propane.