Diesel generators and generator sets have proven to be a very effective way of on-site power generation, especially for applications that require high KVA output. Although the cost per liter of diesel is indeed slightly higher than that of gasoline, the power per liter of diesel is much greater than that of gasoline. When you increase the efficiency of the diesel engine, you can get more power (more kWh-kWh) through the diesel generator set, which is what really matters.
How does a diesel engine work? Obviously, diesel engines are designed to use diesel fuel, but what is the difference between diesel generator sets and why is this important?
Gasoline engines rely on electric sparks to ignite a moderately compressed fuel-air mixture in the cylinder. This is easy to design and build, but not particularly effective. Diesel engines rely solely on compression for ignition. Compared with gasoline engines, the degree of compression of air (without fuel) is much higher. The highest performance gasoline engine can be compressed to a ratio of up to 12:1. The lowest-performing diesel engines work at a compression ratio of 14:1, while top generators and generator sets rely on compression ratios as high as 25:1.
As the air is super-compressed, its temperature will rise until the diesel fuel is injected. Due to heat and pressure, the fuel will ignite spontaneously—a more efficient process, but it relies on true precision engineering and manufacturing. Gasoline engines can work with cylinder leaks, but they are less efficient.
There are several basic types of diesel engines. They can use 2-stroke (or two-stroke) or 4-stroke systems. They can be air-cooled or liquid-cooled. What you need depends on how many kVA or kWH you need and under what conditions the generator set will work. For most uses in the UK, we recommend a water-cooled 4-cycle diesel generator because it is the quietest, most efficient and overall most effective configuration. Each type can be manufactured to provide standard single-phase AC power or three-phase power, which is required for certain industrial applications.
Why is diesel better? The core reasons are reliability and cost efficiency. For example, unlike the situation decades ago, today's diesel generators are quieter and cheaper to maintain than gasoline generators. They are durable and more reliable.
The elimination of the electronic ignition system means that the chance of error is greatly reduced and downtime is also less. The cost per kilowatt of a diesel generator is usually 30% to 50% lower than that of a gasoline generator set.
The running time of diesel generators during routine maintenance and repair is 2-3 times that of gasoline generators of the same type. Compared with the 10,000 hours of gasoline, the service life of a 1800rpm diesel generator set is as high as 30,000 hours.
The operating temperature of gasoline generator sets is higher than that of diesel generator sets, which greatly extends the working life of diesel generator sets.
How to use a diesel engine?
Diesel engines are used in power plants and equipment worldwide, for power generation and as vehicle engines. They are used in almost every industry and can be seen everywhere around you, from the train or bus that takes you to work to the factories and construction equipment that are busy building tomorrow's Britain. They power almost every ship you see in the oceans and rivers, and serve as backup generators for hospitals, telecommunications companies, and thousands of other businesses that we rely on every day. They can also be used as a very powerful, convenient and efficient portable power generation system.
Diesel generators and generator sets.
Diesel generators (also known as generator sets) have countless industrial, commercial, military and even maritime applications. They are suitable for smaller, low-kVA loads, such as individual households, or can be scaled up to entire factories, commercial complexes, cruise ships or even small towns. They can be used as main power sources, as well as emergency or portable backup power sources. Small generator sets, up to about 30kw, are mostly used for home backup power or camping applications. The power rating of industrial diesel generators ranges from 30kw to several megawatts.
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