A diesel generator is a combination of a diesel engine along with an electric generator thus forming a distributed generation unit. The basic function is power generation via an internal combustion engine to produce energy from gaseous fuels. The chief advantage of distributed generation is the quick ramp up of electricity as opposed to traditional generation in power plants. Especially suitable for remote areas, diesel generators are an effective solution for tackling power shortages and growing energy demand. Heavy industries, commercial zones, Information Technology (I.T.) parks, and residential areas are some of the major markets for this industry. Some of the most critical infrastructure of any city which includes hospitals, telecom stations, power plants, and airports among others is also heavily dependent on the diesel genset industry.
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The industry for diesel gensets is driven by a need for reliable, mobile, and easy-to-use backup of electricity to be used either in off-grid locations or coupled with existing locations covered by the grid. Part of the reason for their popularity is also the inefficiency associated with distribution & transmission of power through cables over long distances. As the electricity industry targets the supply of continuous power for alleviating any emergency, the diesel genset is likely to be of paramount importance.
A possible threat does emerge in the form of alternative means of battery storage using benign materials and renewable sources of energy. However, the market penetration of existing gensets along with the fact that the technology is perfectly established provides a relief to the diesel genset industry. There exists an opportunity of furthering the diesel genset cause in emerging economies where many new industries are likely to be established during the next decade. Proper & timely maintenance of the gensets can ensure that this aim is brought to fulfillment through cost reduction and improved performance.
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The technological segmentation for diesel gensets is carried out based on factors such as size, fuel storage, and the desired power rating. Sizing is based on the site conditions and the type of appliances or equipment to be powered by the genset. Based on the power rating, a diesel genset could have a standby rating, prime rating, or base-load rating. Also, the electrical power derived from a genset could be consisting of a single-phase or multiphase. These segmentations have to be well defined if the diesel genset in question is to have proper functioning and low maintenance. There are software programs which assist genset manufacturers to make the correct choice for the given load requirement.
Some of the key players in the diesel genset market include Caterpillar, Cummins, GE Energy, Dresser-Rand, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler Co., Generac Power Systems, Guascor Power, Wartsila, and MTU Onsite Energy among others.