Firstly, let us know what’s the backup power. Backup power, another name is “standby power”, is a back-up electrical system that operates automatically. Within seconds of an utility outage, an ATS (automatic transfer switch) senses the power loss, commands the generator to start and then transfers the electrical load to the generator. The standby generator begins supplying power to the circuits. After utility power returns, the ATS transfer the electrical load back to the utility and signals the standby generator to shut off. It then returns to standby mode where it awaits the next outage. To ensure a proper response to an outage, a backup generator runs weekly self-tests.
Since the fuel of backup generator has many choices, can be diesel, natural gas, liquid propane gas or others. Why sometimes the users prefer to use natural gas generator as a standby power?
Advantages of Using a Natural Gas Generator
1). Refueling is not necessary due to unlimited fuel source
2). Natural gas does not gum up
3). Available during power outage
4). Natural gas burns clean
5). A natural gas generator won’t experience wet stacking like diesel generators
6). Lower engine noise level than other generators
7). Connects to your natural gas pipeline
8). Starts in cold weather
9). Natural gas can be obtained during power outages
10). Clean burning fuel gives you longer engine life
11). Very wide power range
The natural gas generators are available in a wide range of capacities, ranging from 10 kW to 800 kW and up. For large applications, units up to 30 MW are available. So power range is very wide.
12). Can be applied on the dual-fuel generator set
Some generators come with bi-fuel systems that start on diesel fuel and add natural gas as load is applied. During an outage, these systems can optimize at a fuel mixture of 75% natural gas and 25% diesel. If the natural gas supply is interrupted, the generator automatically switches to 100% diesel without any power drop during the transition. But normally the generator set consumes the natural gas to generate electricity.
A coin has two sides. So using a Natural Gas Generator still has disadvantages.
1). Higher installation costs due to plumbing costs
2). Fuel is somewhat expensive
3). Fuel may not be available during natural disasters
4). Propane generators have a shorter life span than diesel generators
5). If lines are broken, propane can become extremely dangerous
6). Natural gas may not be available in some areas
7). Around 20 degrees above zero, natural gas begins to derate
Anyway, when the users find the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, they often decide to buy natural gas generator sets.
Nowadays, Cummins brand gas generator sets are most popular in the global market, still have other brands, Perkins, Deutz, Chinese brand Jichai etc.
Anyway, natural gas generators provide backup power in emergencies. This is a future trend because we are facing the depletion of petroleum.