What is a Diesel Powered Generator and where is it used?

diesel generator

Diesel Powered Generator Definition

In this article, we first look into the diesel powered generator definition. Then we move on to the types of diesel generators followed by its uses. Read on to know more about it.

A diesel generator is a device which makes use of diesel fuel in its IC engine for conversion of mechanical power into electrical power for use in external circuits. So a diesel genset is a combination of an electrical generator and a diesel engine also called the prime mover, mounted together to form a single-piece equipment. These piston engines use diesel as a fuel and supply electricity independently. They are thus used as backup power solutions.

Other than the main diesel engine and the alternator some other auxiliary parts are the control panel, base, canopy, fuel system, lubrication system, and cooling & exhaust systems. These together form the “diesel generating set”, the “engine-generator set” or the “diesel genset”.

The history of the diesel powered generator is quite fascinating. If you want to read about its story, click on – History of diesel generators to know more.

What do the individual units do in a diesel genset?

Diesel engine: The IC engine makes use of the compression-ignition technique to keep the engine moving and generates mechanical energy which becomes the input to the alternator.

Alternator: This takes kinetic energy of the diesel engine as input and converts it into electrical power output through the principles of electromagnetic induction.

Control panel: Any overload or excess voltage or current results in tripping of the engine for safety purposes and this is provided through the switch gears or the circuit breakers. The Control Panel has displays for the voltage, ampere, and load readings.

Fuel system: This system provides the diesel fuel to the engine so that the engine starts about its functioning.

Cooling and exhaust systems: The compression of air and burning of fuel in the diesel engine heats it up fast and adequate cooling system like air and water are required to prevent overheating of the engine parts. The burnt or the used air comes out of the engine in the form of fumes and proper exhaust systems are required in place for their efficient removal.

Lubrication system: The moving parts inside the engine cause friction and wear and tear. A proper lubrication ensures that the engine runs smoothly and also cools the system.

Base frame: All the parts are mounted and held together as a single unit on the base that is the mainframe.

The diesel genset size varies from the initial 8 to 30 kVA for homes, shops, and offices to the 2,500 kVA for industries. The diesel generators produce either single or three-phase power. The low load areas like individual residential unit and shop use single phase power. The commercial establishments and industrial facilities use the three-phase power.

The diesel powered generators are selected based on the electrical load they need to supply. The electric load is calculated in units of kVA or kW. You need to consider the mode of operation like the standby or the continuous mode. But during the diesel genset selection, some other factors like the altitude and temperature may also be taken into consideration.

For a detailed analysis of how a diesel generator is to be selected for your power requirements, you can go through our blog- How to wisely choose the perfect diesel generator for your power requirements.

The Types of Diesel Generators

All said and done about choosing the right diesel powered generator for your requirements, know that there are various categories of its classification. The types of diesel generator may be broadly classified on:

  • Based on its power ratings- Some countries follow the kVA method of power rating and others follow the kW. The international standard governs it.
  • On the number of strokes- The most common among this is the two-stroke engine and the four-stroke engine.
  • Based on service duty- Here we have the emergency standby power (ESP) duty, prime power (PRP) duty and continuous power (COP) duty.
  • On the rotational speed- The diesel engines usually run at low, moderate or high speeds.
  • Based on start-up arrangement- Here we have the manual start and automatic start-up (electric start, hydraulic start, and air start) system. The electric start system is used typically in smaller rating diesel gensets. The air and hydraulic start are used in bigger rating diesel engine gensets.
  • Based on the cooling arrangement- In this, we have the air-cooled diesel generator and water-cooled diesel generators.

You can read the classification of diesel generators to get a detailed description regarding the types of diesel powered generator available.

Where is the Diesel Powered Generator Used?

Diesel powered generators are used for various purposes like alternative power, backup power, and emergency power services.

  1. It is used in ships for lighting the ancillary units like fan and lights. The propeller uses power from the diesel generator.
  2. Some remote construction sites where the power grid is inaccessible use the diesel powered generators.
  3. The hospitals use it for emergency and uninterrupted power services.
  4. The residences, commercial establishments, and schools use it as an alternate source of power during power outages.
  5. They supply power to utility grids to provide continuous power supply during the peak hours.
  6. Diesel powered generators play an important role in transportation applications like train services and airports where system integrity is to be maintained.
  7. In mining operations, diesel powered generator sets help in controlling the extreme temperatures, provide lighting, transportation and keep the machines running.
  8. The manufacturing industries require continuous operation process and any halt will hamper the related output. Here, the diesel gensets ensure continuous power supply.
  9. The diesel generators are required for temporary power supply till the power grid supply is restored during the times of natural or accidental disasters.
  10. When data is to be processed for healthcare services, banking and order processing 24*7, it is vital that there are no power disruptions which may otherwise hamper the business. Here diesel gensets plays a pivotal role in keeping the operations running.
  11. Used in military operations for multiple applications like military hospitals and computer systems.
  12. The mobile towers when there is a grid power outage use diesel gensets.

As you see, the diesel powered generators are used widely in various sectors to meet their power requirements. The diesel gensets are most reliable and the preferred choice when compared to other fuel powered generators.

Get in touch with us for your power queries, today.