A generator set, also known as an emergency generator or backup generator, is a complete system used to generate electricity in the event that utility power fails or is interrupted.
When the generator set is running, it can power many different types of electrical loads, from small devices to more complex industrial systems. This equipment is very useful in places where the continuity of the electrical supply is critical, such as hospitals, data centers, industrial facilities and remote sites where there is no access to the electrical network.
What Are They For? Uses and Applications
Generator sets are essential devices in various situations where a reliable source of electricity is required.
Its main function is to provide electrical energy in cases where there is no access to the electrical network or as a backup in situations of blackouts or cuts in the main supply.
Emergency Power Supply
One of the most critical applications of generator sets is in emergency situations. They are used in hospitals, data centers, fire stations and other essential services to ensure that, in the event of a power grid failure, there is a continuous source of power to keep medical equipment, communication systems and other vital devices running.
Industrial Production Plants
In the industrial field, this equipment is essential to avoid production losses and costs due to power outages. In manufacturing plants and industrial facilities, this equipment ensures the necessary energy supply to keep machinery and processes running uninterruptedly.
In the construction industry, portable generator sets are widely used to power power tools, lighting systems, and other equipment needed on temporary construction sites.
Likewise, in outdoor events, festivals, concerts and fairs, generator sets are used to supply power to stages, lighting and sound equipment, guaranteeing a smooth development of the event.
Remote Areas Not Electrified
In remote or rural areas where the electrical grid does not reach, these devices are essential to provide electricity to communities, camps and off-grid projects.
Even in the residential environment, some people choose to install generator sets in their homes to have a backup power source during prolonged blackouts, allowing them to maintain the operation of household appliances and basic comfort conditions.
Components of a Generating Set
A generator set mainly consists of two essential components: an internal combustion engine and an electrical generator.
Internal Combustion Engine
It is the component in charge of converting the chemical energy of the fuel into mechanical energy. Generator set engines can run on different types of fuels, such as diesel, gasoline, natural gas or biofuels.
When a blackout or power outage occurs in the electrical grid, the motor is activated to start rotating.
This is the device that connects to the motor and converts the mechanical energy generated by the motor into electrical energy. The electric generator uses the principle of electromagnetic induction to produce an electric current in its coils when the motor shaft rotates, thus generating electricity.
Types of Generator Sets
There are different types of generator sets, mainly classified according to the type of engine they use and their specific application. Some of the most common types are:
Diesel generator sets: Use diesel engines to convert diesel fuel into mechanical energy and then electricity. They are widely used due to their efficiency, durability, and ability to handle heavy loads. They are found in industrial, commercial, hospital applications, among others.
Gas generator sets: They use engines that run on natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or biogas as fuel. They are a greener option compared to diesel, as they produce fewer emissions.
Gasoline generator sets: They use gasoline engines to generate electricity. They are most common in smaller, more portable applications, such as home generators, camping, or temporary events.
Bifuel generator sets: They are those that can work with two types of fuel, such as diesel and gas, which provides flexibility in terms of availability and fuel costs.
Emergency generator sets: They are designed to provide backup power in the event of blackouts or failures in the main electrical network. They are often present in hospitals, data centers, critical facilities, and buildings where a reliable source of electricity is required.
Stationary generator sets: These are those that are permanently installed in a specific place, such as in buildings, industries or facilities that require a continuous supply of electricity.
Portable generator sets: They are smaller and mobile units, designed to be transported and used in temporary or remote places where there is no access to the electrical network.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Use of Generator Sets
Generator sets have both advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to keep these aspects in mind when considering their use.
Below are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of these teams:
Backup power supply: The main advantage of generator sets is to provide a reliable source of backup power in the event of power outages or blackouts on the electrical grid.
Location Flexibility – These devices can be installed in a wide variety of locations, including remote areas or places where there is no access to the electrical grid.
Diversity of sizes and capacities: They are available in different sizes and capacities, from small portable generators to large industrial systems.
Relatively easy to maintain: With proper and scheduled maintenance, they can have a long life and perform well. Maintenance includes oil changes, filters, and periodic adjustments to ensure optimal operation.
Upfront and operating costs: These can have a significant upfront cost, especially when it comes to higher capacity models or with advanced technologies. In addition, the continuous supply of fuel (diesel, gas, gasoline, etc.) also represents an operating expense.
Emissions and pollution: Generator sets that run on fossil fuels, such as diesel or gasoline, emit polluting gases and particles that contribute to air pollution and climate change. Those that run on natural gas or biogas are a cleaner option in this regard.
Noise and Vibration: Some sets can generate significant noise and vibration levels during operation, which can be a problem in residential areas or noise sensitive environments.
Fuel dependency: Operation is tied to a continuous supply of fuel, so in protracted emergencies or in remote areas, access to fuel can be a challenge.