A generator is an affordable standby power within the reach of millions of enterprises, homes and small businesses. Power backup has become a necessity today when there are a lot of critical pieces of equipment that cannot be shut down for many hours. Many sectors like education, agriculture, manufacturing industries, hospitals, oil, and gas, and commercial buildings need proper power back- up for the smooth day to day functioning. Here is a quick look through the use of generators in different industries.
Generators in the Educational Industry
School and College campuses are major power consumers and most of them possess generators. Usage of power generators has become a common practice to support multiple classroom buildings, dormitory facilities, libraries, campus centers, sports complexes, theatres, etc. In today’s modern life, schools and colleges consist of multiple buildings that may have separate emergency power requirements. Some may require power for only a life safety system and others for operational purposes. The purpose of life safety systems is to protect and evacuate people during emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, and power failures.
Using generators for power back-up in educational institutions helps the institute to run normally even when there is a power outage. The reason most of the institutions have power back-up is to prevent class disruption, it saves time and money because re-scheduling or re-organize a class or an event due to power failure is quite hectic. Hence it ensures seamless workflow.
Computer and network infrastructure are so advanced in today’s life that, schools and colleges use tablets and laptops as teaching aids. Power back-up has to be done to keep these devices on in case of power failure. There is also a risk of losing sensitive data in educational institutions if they lack in power back-up. The absence of efficient power back-up brings down IT security systems and becomes more prone to cyber-attacks. Power back-up ensures uninterrupted on-going tests in the area of research and experiments as these are considered revolutionary and thousands of dollars flow as grant money to facilitate this.
Power backup is crucial for safety purposes in education facilities. In case of power failure, student’s safety is highly compromised as equipment like fire extinguishers, and electronic door locks may not function. Telecommunications and coordination go haywire.
At times of natural disasters, schools and colleges act as a shelter for the affected people. Backup power allows the institution to be warm and safe by providing emergency lighting and keeps communication lines open.
Generators in the Agricultural Industry
Agriculture is the most important industry as the basic food items need to come from here. A power failure should not become a hindrance to timely seeding or harvesting. Hence the need for power generators in this industry. Gone are the days when only manual labor was used for farming. Nowadays, there are a lot of equipments that ease the workload of the farmer and helps in finishing the harvest in quick time with minimum effort. Brett Patterson from Able Sales says that many farmers need additional power from a generator in order to operate more rigorous equipment. These equipments come in a wide range- from simple feeders and seeding equipment to motors that are used for spraying water.
What are the different types of generators?
There are mainly 3 types of generators: portable, inverter and stand-by. They convert fuel supplied-propane, diesel or gasoline into electrical energy. During a power failure, they act as the primary sources of electrical supply. This energy is used in an external circuit. All these generators need to be maintained well to ensure long-term use.
There are different types of generators to choose from, let us get some insight regarding the ones most commonly used:
These are gas or diesel-powered engines that provide temporary electrical supply. The main features are as follows;
● To conduct electricity, the combustion engine is used.
● It can be plugged into different electrical appliances and tools through sockets.
● It can be used to connect with subpanels.
● Portable generators are suitable for remote areas.
● These best suit for home appliances like television, refrigerator, lights and other tools.
It has an engine connected to an alternator to produce AC power. Unlike other generators, a rectifier is used to convert the AC power into DC power. The characteristics of inverter generators are given below:
● Inverter generators are high-tech magnet dependent.
● These generators make use of advanced electronic circuitry.
● To produce electricity, it goes through three phases – outputs AC current, converts it to DC current and finally inverts it to AC.
● The appliance gets a constant current flow.
● According to the power requirement, the speed of the engine gets adjusted. Hence these generators are energy-efficient.
● These generators are small in size and lightweight, hence it can be fitted into a car or a boat.
A standby generator operates with an automatic transfer switch that commands it to power a device up during power failure. Features are as follows;
● Standby generators automatically operate and gives a permanent solution.
● It has two parts: a standby generator and an automatic transfer switch.
● The fuel used for standby generators is liquid propane or natural gas.
● An internal combustion engine is used.
● This generator work within a fraction of seconds after power shutdown.
● The utility power is monitored constantly.
● Mainly used in safety systems like elevators, standby lighting, medical and life support equipment, and fire protection systems.
Why should I choose a diesel-powered generator?
Most modern generators are set up to meet emergency power needs. The utility power supply is continuously monitored by these units and automatically starts up if power is interrupted and shut off when utility service is restored. A cost-effective fuel has to be chosen with the increase in fuel price on a day-to-day basis as a consequence of escalating demand and declining supply. Since ages, the diesel engine has proved to be most efficient and advantageous.
Modern diesel engines are quiet and with lesser maintenance costs. These are rough and reliable. A diesel engine operates on auto-ignition hence no sparking and the absence of spark-plugs and spark- wires lower the maintenance cost. Diesel units are long-lasting compared to gas units as the latter burns hotter than the former. They are available in various specifications and sizes. Diesel is stunningly used in most industrial sectors as it provides more power per unit of fuel and its lower volatility makes it safer to handle. Most diesel engines can be gently brought into burning vegetable oil instead of diesel and all of them can burn various processed forms of vegetable oil without compromising life or efficiency.
Care and Maintenance of Generators
As with any internal combustion engine, proper maintenance is very essential for its life. It is also important to abandon the generator weekly for 30 minutes under load. This will charge the battery, remove excess wetness, lubricate the engine and filter the fuel and foil. Any loose pieces found anywhere on the generator must be placed securely in. A record needs to be maintained of inspections and tests for future inspections and scrutiny that will allow you to know of your generator’s current state.
The maintenance process of a generator is similar in all three major types of engines. First and foremost is the importance of following the maintenance schedule of the manufacturer with each type of generator. Inspections consist of checking for leaks, examining oil and coolant levels, glancing at the belts and hoses and checking the battery terminals and cables. It is important to inspect the oil as well, as it must be changed regularly. The filter also needs to be checked and cleaned at least twice a year. Typically, it is recommended that you change the oil after 100 hours of operation, especially if the generator uses diesel.
Generator maintenance requires the following:
● Annual fuel cleaning and filtering are required since diesel fuel degrades quickly. After a few weeks of operation, diesel fuel degrades via contamination of water and microbes, resulting in clogged fuel lines and filters. Fuel cleaning involves using biocides annually in all generators except for the standby generator, in which it will attract moisture.
● To maintain the cooling system, the coolant level has to be checked at regular intervals. This is preferred during power shutdown.
● Checking for battery power; this is especially true for standby generators, as battery issues are their primary cause of failure. Make sure the batteries are powerful and charged enough to last long.
● Regular testing to inform of the battery’s current status. Testing involves checking the electrolyte levels and specific gravity of the batteries. The batteries themselves also must be clean.
To ensure the safety and continuity of work in the educational and agricultural sectors, all schools and colleges need to have power when children are present in the vicinity and all farming units need to have generators to provide power back up when the need arises.