PacB Group // Generators – a Hot South African Topic


Generators – a Hot South African Topic

Although everyone in South Africa is familiar with word “generators” and its most commonly- associated function, it is nevertheless interesting to see what one of the most widely-used international search engines has to say about the word’s meaning. The word in question is “generators”.

Definitions of Generators

Upon doing a Google search for their definitions of the word “generator”, the first entry on the list of possible definitions is twofold:

Firstly, a generator may be “a person or thing that generates something.”

Secondly, contained in the same entry, generators are described as “dynamo or similar machines for converting mechanical energy into electricity.”

The second definition is that with which most South Africans identify nowadays, or rather, since 2007/2008, when Eskom’s woes started and became patently apparent to the public at large – the organisation’s failure to supply sufficient, reliable electricity to all individuals and other parties that were and are connected to the national electricity grid.

Functions in the South African Context

Generators which are used for electricity generation do not actually create electrical power; they convert one type of energy into electrical power or energy, which is then available for distribution to residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and other users. All generators require a source of energy or fuel to initiate the conversion process via an engine or turbine, which is dependent on the type of equipment, its intended function and the most freely-available, cost-effective energy.

Engines require fuel. Motor vehicle engines run on various fuels. In South Africa, the most commonly used vehicle fuels are petrol or diesel. The fuels used at Eskom’s power stations, other than the nuclear-powered units at Koeberg, are primarily coal.

Supplementary Sources

The country’s electricity supply is periodically boosted or supplemented by engaging Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) power plants – powered by diesel fuel – that are brought into operation as reserve electricity generators, as and when required, during breakdowns and failures, repairs and maintenance, and periods of peak demand. However, this is an expensive alternative, so Eskom only feeds OCGT electricity into the national grid on an emergency or periodic basis. Although alternative sources of electrical energy generation are available, these efficient, green and eco-friendly solutions are still somewhat under-utilised by the Eskom monopoly, since they’re mainly operated by independent power producers. Alternatives include hydro (water), wind and solar power.

South Africa obtains a limited amount of its electrical energy needs from the Cahora Bassa Dam’s hydroelectric project, situated in neighbouring Mozambique. This abundant water supply is fed through a hydraulic turbine, which “converts the energy from flowing water into mechanical energy.” In turn, this mechanical energy is again converted by hydroelectric generators, this time into usable electricity, which is fed into the South African electricity network.

Solar power is gaining ground rapidly in the residential sector’s homeowners, who choose to go off the national grid completely or use solar energy as a backup source of electricity when Eskom power fails. Professional power specialists, like the PacB Power Solutions Group, install solar panels in an optimal position to catch, collect, and store the sun’s energy in in-built batteries. Thereafter, an inverter converts stored solar energy into electricity. Many residents of South Africa are also opting for compact generators as backup units during electricity outages and failures, while a host of commercial, industrial, healthcare and business-related concerns have gone the independently owned power source route, either as a backup, standby or permanent power solution.

Large applications require larger, industrial diesel-powered generators – a major speciality of our PacB Group’s professional manufacturing, supply, installation, service, and maintenance operations, always on hand to provide expert power solutions to South Africans and others who share our mighty continent.

Don’t get caught in the dark. Contact PacB for privately-owned generators and peace of mind, knowing that your electricity requirements are met efficiently and safely, irrespective of whether the national grid is on or off.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

© All content copyright PacB Power Solutions
close slider