PacB Group // The Benefits of Using Diesel Generators


The Benefits of Using Diesel Generators

For domestic users, there might be some debate between using diesel generators or exploring solar solutions with batteries when Eskom lets us down. For commercial and industrial users, generators offer clear advantages over most of the alternatives. They currently stand as the best backup solution for larger power consumers, especially in the short term. Compared to many renewable energy options, diesel generators of similar capacity have significantly lower initial capital cost. They are also rapidly deployable, allowing for quick activation, which limits the losses and other negative consequences of no, or curtailed, production capacity.


Diesel Generators Do Not Suffer from Intermittency

The biggest advantage that diesel generators have over most renewable energy alternatives is the fact that generators offer reliable continuity of supply. If a generator is maintained and supplied with fuel, it will deliver power day and night, sunshine or rain. The same cannot be said for solar power systems, for instance. If the sun goes behind a cloud, the output of a solar plant will drop rapidly and substantially. Inconsistency in supply from solar and wind plants is known as “intermittency”. To overcome intermittency, some form of storage or cogeneration is required. Batteries are typically used for storage and diesel generators for cogeneration. Even though the price of battery storage has come down substantially in the last decade, large-scale battery storage is still expensive.


Diesel Generators are Extremely Flexible

Diesel generators are versatile and flexible power sources used by a diverse range of commercial and industrial entities. The specifications of the diesel generator need to be adapted based on the specific needs of each sector.

Construction sites, for instance, primarily require a mobile power source. Diesel generators designed for construction must be portable and easily transported to different locations on the site. Construction environments tend to be harsh, so generators aimed at the construction industry are built to withstand rough handling, dust, and vibration. Construction sites may require a range of power outputs, from small hand tools to cranes and other heavy machinery. Generators in the construction industry are available in various power capacities to meet diverse needs.

The mining industry typically uses a significant amount of power for drilling, excavation, and transportation. Diesel generators used in mining are, therefore, usually high-capacity units capable of powering large, high-load equipment. Mining environments can be remote and extremely rugged. Generators for this industry need to be built to endure extremely challenging conditions. Mining sites are known for dust, moisture, and high temperatures. Generators for mining are designed as primary power providers because locations are often without access to grid power and the genset must run continuously.

Certain agricultural activities rely heavily on irrigation systems. Diesel generators in agriculture are often used to power water pumps, which require a consistent power supply. Failure to water certain crops as required can lead to catastrophic losses or, at best, substantial reductions in produce yields. Farmers often need to run generators for extended periods. Diesel generators are known for their fuel efficiency, making them the most cost-effective solution for prolonged usage. Generators for agriculture may be called on to power various tasks, from operating machinery to running essential irrigation systems. The flexibility of diesel generators allows farmers to choose the appropriate capacity for their specific needs.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities require uninterrupted power supply to operate critical medical equipment. For healthcare applications, reliability is paramount. Diesel generators act as backup power sources during grid failures, ensuring continuous patient care. Generators in the healthcare sector must comply with strict regulations and standards to guarantee the safety and well-being of patients and staff. They need to meet specific emission standards and safety protocols.


Noise Sensitive Applications

Generators, whether powered by diesel or by petrol, can emit noise at levels that are highly intrusive and irritating to both humans and animals. In some cases, the noise can be so deafening that it permanently damages the hearing of individuals working near them. Noise levels are measured in decibels, and when they reach a certain threshold, they can have adverse effects on human health.

To keep small petrol-powered generators as affordable as possible, they are rarely equipped with any noise-reduction features. Large industrial and commercial diesel generators produce a lot more noise than small residential units do. They also produce noise at lower, more penetrating, frequencies. The only effective way to mitigate the noise produced is by using generators that are specifically designed and built to be as silent as possible. Noise reduction is provided by careful engineering of the genset itself and using sound-attenuation enclosures that dampen the noise produced by the generator’s engine. Generally, the less noise the genset is allowed to make, the more expensive it will be compared to an open-skid-mounted genset of the same capacity.

Noise-attenuated industrial and commercial generators are typically required at sites and facilities where the noise of a normal diesel generator would be unacceptable. For example, construction sites in urban or suburban areas that employ generators are subject to regulations that set thresholds for the maximum permissible noise allowed.

Operators are legally obliged to minimise the noise experienced by occupants and residents close to the construction site. Outdoor sport events, concerts, television broadcast units, and film productions need noise-attenuated generators to prevent noise disturbance during these activities. This type of regulation will usually also apply in the proximity of educational institutions, such as schools and universities.

Noise attenuation is critical in healthcare settings to ensure a quiet and stress-free environment for patients and medical staff. Diesel generators operated at hospitals, clinics, and medical centres need to be noise attenuated.


Diesel Generators are Industry and Site Specific

Whether large commercial or residential scale, it is important to do your homework and look for the right company to engage with when buying a generator. Ask questions such as: “How long has the company been in existence?”; “What brands does the company provide?”; and “Do they have a track record of providing support for their equipment?”. Specifying commercial- and industrial-capacity diesel generators is a specialist task. The consequences of choosing badly, financially, and operationally, are severe. Engage with a reputable company like PacB who have the products, technical competence, and support infrastructure to address the power-supply needs of any industry.

We at PacB are a leader in the Southern African power-provision industry with specialist knowledge on unit sizing, fuel type, noise attenuation, system configuration, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). All these factors need to be thoroughly understood and matched to site-specific electrical architecture. We have expert knowledge and experience on power provision and generators, as well as expertise in renewable power generation and UPSes. Contact us today for anything concerning electrical power provision.

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

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