Diesel-fueled generators have long been the choice for code-driven installations over 150 KW. Typically, diesel generators have offered several key advantages that their spark ignited counterparts couldn?t. Those advantages include lower capital cost and on-site fuel storage, which is especially important for mission critical applications.
Technological advances in recent years have opened up the choices available for those large installations. Whereas typically natural gas-fueled generators have only been considered for applications below 150 KW, they are now equally as reliable as diesel generators and they offer their own set of advantages.
The top five reasons to consider a gaseous generator for your next job.
- Long term, gas generators are often cheaper than diesel.
The up-front capital to purchase a natural gas generator is dropping. It is still higher than the up-front cost of a diesel unit, but that is quickly offset by the lower installed cost of natural gas.
- On-site fuel doesn?t guarantee reliability.
Diesel fuel requires meticulous storage and maintenance to keep it up to quality. Water, microbes and sediment can collect undetected in the tank, causing a problem that only becomes apparent when the engine is turned on after a power failure.
Natural gas does not have those same problems because the fuel quality is maintained by the local natural gas utility.
- Fuel delivery is more reliable for natural gas than diesel after a major disaster.
Through a network of underground pipes and storage stations, natural gas utilities are able to guarantee delivery with greater than 99.999% reliability, even after a disaster. The complexity of the natural gas network means that if a pipe is damaged through a disaster or human error, the local utility will be able to create a work around so fuel delivery is not interrupted.
Diesel delivery is at greater risk for interruption because, after a diesel generator runs through the 72 hours worth of fuel that is typically kept on-site, they are dependent on roadways and an available tanker to deliver additional fuel.
- Spark ignited engine-driven units allow for peak shaving and curtailment operation.
Unlike diesel, spark ignited units require no modifications or additional emissions control. Where Tier 4 diesels would apply an expensive post exhaust treatment system, a spark ignited engine-driven generator has no requirement other than its own catalyst.
- Natural gas generators are allowed for code-driven installations.
NFPS 70/NEC 700.12(B)(3) states, ?Where acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction the use of other than on-site fuels shall be permitted, where there is a low probability of a simultaneous failure of both the off-site fuel delivery system and power from the outside electrical utility company.? With historical evidence provided by the local natural gas utility on the reliability of their delivery system, it is likely that the AHJ will approve the use of a natural gas generator.
These changes to the electrical power generation industry makes natural gas generator sets a must to include in your decision making process.
If relying solely on natural gas generators is not an option, you can still reap the benefits of natural gas by utilizing Generac?s MPS or BiFuel technology. These two technologies incorporate an on-site fuel source ? diesel or liquid propane ? in addition to natural gas. This creates another layer of redundancy while still providing all the cost-saving benefits of natural gas.
National Power has on-staff experts and engineers able to evaluate your application and develop a solution that is right for you. We can also perform analysis to help you navigate discussions with your clients about the benefits of natural gas.
To speak with one of our generator experts, please call 888.790.1672.
By Scott Collins and Kara Odell