Diesel Generator Selection- The right way!
Diesel Generator selection is by no means an easy task. Purchasing the right diesel generator that fits in your scheme of things is one of the critical aspects that you need to make before investing in one. And the catch here is that your generator should not be underutilized or overloaded. If you choose a diesel generator that is too large for your power needs then it is a direct expenditure on its purchase, installation, maintenance and repairs including the added fuel cost to run the diesel generator. If you choose a diesel generator with a lesser power rating then it will not be able to run the essential appliances during a power cut. Also, overloading the diesel generator will not only lead to its breakdown but also damage the electric appliances.
What will happen when the diesel generator gets overloaded?
As a general rule, diesel generators should not be overloaded. When a diesel generator runs for long periods with a rating that is above the maximum rating of the generator set then-
- Diesel engine gets overheated
- Windings off the alternator burns out due to overheating of the alternator
- Engine failure due to breakdown in oil consistency and low oil pressure
- Lifespan of the diesel generator reduces.
How do you select the diesel generator size?
Know your power needs- The size of the diesel generator you require mainly depends on the type of electrical appliances that you intend to run during a power outage. Household appliances need smaller diesel generator whereas industries require a bigger generator to run the machines and heavy equipment. Anyways, be it for industrial or household purposes, it is always better that you reduce the list of items that you need to run during a power outage to save money on it.
Starting load requirements- The starting load requirements can be a bit complicated. Some appliances that have fan and pumps in them require more power during their initial acceleration startup but then do not consume more power when it functions continuously afterward. The rotor of the motor and the shaft driven load is at a standstill in the initial stage. It requires a greater power supply at the time of acceleration than it does to keep them rotating. Here, when you have a star-delta starter for the electric motor in your equipment, then you need to multiply three times the motor horsepower to your required steady-state load. When the motor starter is a direct-online (DOL) starter, then the load is obtained by multiplying six times the motor horsepower. For inverter or variable frequency drive (VFD) starter, the kick load will be nil and hence there is no need for spare load in the generator.
The diesel generator size also depends on whether you want to run it as a standby power, continuous or a prime power. Standby power is used in residential and commercial complexes when only there is a power outage. The continuous power generators will be used when there is no grid supply of power usually in remote locations or offshore destinations.
Diesel generator sizing calculation- The first step is deducing the total electric load. After that, the steady state load is established. Calculate your capacity requirements and this is the maximum power that your generator will need to supply at any given point in time. Work it out by adding up all the electrical loads of the systems and equipment you will need to power at the same time. One thing that has to be noted is that your future power requirements also need to be taken into account. If your electrical requirements are going to increase or grow in the near future, then select a generator with some spare capacity. But remember that running a diesel generator under its rated load may also damage its engine.
Diesel generators don’t like to run without loads. Don’t attempt to run the diesel generator when you are not using it for at least 75% of its potential load. You will be left with a damaged diesel generator within the warranty period because running on lower loads will cause it to glaze and you will have a major engine repair at hand. One option when you want to purchase a larger unit with the intent of having a demand at a later stage is to install a dummy load onto the generator. This will ensure that there will be no glazing in the diesel generator. Talk to your diesel generator dealer about this condition and take his opinion for your future power needs and its solutions.
Note: A diesel generator should not run for more than 80% of its load for prolonged periods when used as a standby power mode and this is done to ensure the longevity of the engine and to reduce the maintenance costs. Also, a diesel generator should not run at less than 60% load for longer periods to prevent the engine from glazing resulting in engine failure.
Selecting the right diesel generator (How to size a diesel genset?)- When you add up all the maximum required power wattage for your equipment you will get the summation of the power requirement in kilowatts (kW). Generators are generally rated in kVA (kilo-Volt- Ampere) that is the apparent power or the amount of power in use in a system. When there is a cent percent efficient system, kW=kVA. But the electrical systems are never 100% efficient and so there is a need for the kW to be converted to kVA by multiplying electrical efficiency known as the power factor. International standard rate diesel generators have a power factor of 0.8. Hence the power rating of your generator is derived by dividing the total power required in kW by 0.8. The resultant obtained thus is in kVA and that is the generator rating that you would require for your power solution needs.
kW to kVA Conversion
kW / 0.8 (Power Factor) = kVA
Example: 100 kW / 0.8 = 125 kVA
Once you are done with the load calculations and you know your requirements for the diesel generator, get in touch with your local diesel generator dealer. They are the best people to advise you on your power solutions. They fully understand the technicalities involved and suggest you the best possible make for your power needs. Anyways, the dealer will get a load test done to get the required kVA rating to allow for sizing to be done correctly for the first time.
There are other factors which also determine the size of diesel generator you purchase. That is-
Environmental factors- The environment is also responsible for the proper functioning of the diesel generator. Alterations in humidity and temperature partly influence the working reducing the power capabilities of the diesel generator.
Physical Installation- Proper cooling and exhaust air flow provision must be considered when purchasing a diesel generator. Inadequate airflow can sometimes lead to complete generator failure.
What are the things to know before buying a generator from your local diesel generator dealer?
- What is the power rating of the diesel generator?
- What equipments can be used at a time with the diesel generator?
- How much fuel does the diesel generator consume and for what time period?
- How many power outlets does the panel have to plug in all the items that need power?
- Does the generator produce more noise?
- Is the acoustic enclosure provided with the diesel generator?
- What are other additions the dealer is going to provide with the whole diesel generator set?
- What are the accessories needed to run the diesel generator?
- What is the warranty period of the diesel generator and will it be honored by the dealer?
- Is the diesel generator repair and service available in case of emergency?
- Are the spare parts readily available for the diesel generator and will the dealer provide with a qualified technician to fit the spare parts?
- Are the diesel generator transportation and the installation costs included in the bill?
Diesel generator installation- Civil & Electrical installation works
- A diesel generator has to be placed on a level, possibly concrete surface.
- Diesel generators produce exhaust gases that need to be expelled outdoors. Hence, it has to be installed outdoors preferably or even if inside, it has to have good ventilation.
- When the generator is placed outside the premises, it is generally recommended that it is placed under a roof. This avoids damage to the diesel generator due to any adverse weather conditions like heat and rain.
- To ensure that diesel generators do not overheat, sufficient space above the generator in addition to good ventilation should be provided.
- There should be sufficient space on all sides of the diesel generator that is to be maintained for servicing purposes. The service engineer will require at least one-meter space to access both sides of the generator during inspection and service.
- When selecting an outdoor area for your diesel generator, always prefer areas where it is easily accessible for a truck to offload the generator.
- If the diesel generator is kept close to the distribution board, the installation and the cable costs can be reduced.
- The surrounding is to be considered when installing a diesel generator. Silent diesel generators are best suited in a residential area as they produce less noise.
- See that all the electrical installation regulation is in place to protect your diesel generator from surge damage and electrical voltage fluctuations.
- Check voltage between neutral and earth. There should not be any presence of residual voltage. The residual voltage otherwise will increase the voltage supplied to the diesel generator and have adverse effects on the electrical equipment.
- The service of diesel generator has to be carried out at least once in 6-12 months at regular intervals or as specified in the user manual.
Once you are done with the settling of key points, you will have good knowledge and thus be able to decide on the diesel generator you want. If you have any further questions get it clarified with your local diesel generator dealer in Surat and purchase one with their guidance for your power needs.