In a world where fuel prices are increasingly skyrocketing, as a result of high demand and diminishing supply, finding a cost-effective fuel for your generator is of great importance. After all, when the power goes out, you can never be sure how long exactly it will be until it comes back on.  Thanks to Mr. Rudolph Diesel, his invention of the diesel engine has proved to be the perfect solution.

Generac - 14 Kw diesel standby generator

The low cost of diesel as compared to other fuels has made diesel generators like this Generac 14 Kw standby generator very popular.

As you may know, diesel fuel was once priced quite higher than gasoline but also had a higher energy density allowing more energy to be extracted from diesel compared to the same amount of gas consumption. Diesel simply is more efficient, but the price always got in the way of diesel becoming popular. However, gasoline prices have gone through the roof, and now diesel gas is less expensive than traditional gas. The prohibitive cost of diesel was its primary drawback, and since then it has caught on like wildfire.

Diesel engines ultimately provide higher mileage, making it a great choice for equipment or heavy transportation. Diesel is a heavier and oilier liquid substance compared to gasoline and has a higher boiling point temperature than water. Diesel engines are highly efficient and cost effective.

Some other advantages of the diesel engine include:

  • Diesel engines have long passed the days of loud noise and maintenance costs
  • Today they are relatively quiet and inexpensive to maintain – A gas engine of the same size cannot compare
  • They do not need spark plugs or wires, further lowering the costs
  • The cost per Kilowatt is 30%-50% lower than gas engines
  • An 1800 rpm water-cooled diesel unit operates 2-3 times longer than a water cooled gas unit
  • Gas burns hotter than diesel and therefore has a significantly shorter life span
  • Diesel is more rugged and reliable than gas

How a diesel engine works has a great deal to do with the type of ignition involved. While gasoline engines operate on “spark ignition”, diesel engines utilize something called “compression-ignition” for igniting the fuel. Compression-ignition means that air is drawn into the engine and is compressed until it heats up. As a result, the temperature is much higher than that of a gasoline engine. When peak temperature and pressure is reached, the diesel is released into the engine for ignition.

In a gasoline engine, a mixture of air and gas are infused into the engine at once and are then compressed. Consequently, the air and fuel mixture limit compression, which translates into the overall efficiency of the engine. The opposite is true for diesel, where the air and fuel are steeped at different stages. The diesel engine compresses only air, making the ratio much higher. It compresses at a ratio of 14:1 up to 25:1. Gasoline generates a ratio of 8:1 and 12:1. The way the fuel enters the engine is also different. Fuel is shot into the diesel engine using an injector, where as a carburetor is used for a gasoline engine.

Diesel engines come in two-cycle or four-cycle. The preferred cycle is chosen based on the mode of operation. You then have the choice of air-cooled or liquid-cooled engines. Liquid-cooled is often preferred as it is quiet while in use and has evenly controlled temperatures.

Diesel engines are most commonly used in mobile drives, mechanical engines, and power generators. You will often find them in locomotives, construction equipment, transportation vehicles and numerous industrial machines. You will almost be guaranteed to find a diesel engine by looking under the hood of any industrial vehicle.

But the benefit of utilizing diesel for the purposes of residential power generation or any other occasion in which you do not have access to normal grid power, has been made clear.  Read labels and specifications clearly.