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Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators


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  #1  
Old 01-27-2018, 09:51:39 PM
fresnoboy fresnoboy is offline
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Default Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

Hi everyone. I'm looking to get a 30 KW backup generator. I know Diesel gensets in that class can be quite reliable and run continuously for days and not break a sweat.

But if I wanted a natural gas generator, are the liquid cooled models like the Gnerac Protector series (RG030 etc..) or Kohler 30RCL's as durable? Do they need more maintenance than a Diesel genset?

NG is very reliable in my area, and it avoids having to deal with refueling etc..., but I am worried about a long outage due to earthquake etc... so robustness counts.

Thnx
mike
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2018, 11:17:09 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

Diesel or gas, they will never run long enough in a standby application to wear down. I suggest Kohler for best product and support, I've used them all.
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2018, 12:48:09 AM
richard.bessey richard.bessey is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

At my 2nd job, they have one diesel and one natural gas genset. I like the diesel better, seems to take on bigger loads (AC compressor turning on) better then the gas one and is better on fuel.
The natural gas one is good because there is almost no fuel problems. My only complaint is its hot compared to the diesel one.
Are you concerned about fuel consumption and cost? If so diesel may be a better route. If not, natural gas is less head ache.
My 2 cents
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:38:28 AM
cornbinder89 cornbinder89 is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

A serious earthquake will take out NG, so if that is a concern, than I would go with diesel. Another option would be a Propane liquid draw tank, to back up the NG if there was a disruption. The Propane will store indefinitely, and Vapor fuel engines will burn either with little adjustment.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:17:27 PM
K-Tron K-Tron is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

I would start looking for a two cylinder 1800rpm Lister diesel powered generator set. It is hard to beat one in regards to economy. A 100 gallon fuel tank from a big rig will run the engine for two weeks. There is a nice three cylinder on craigslist in Marysville California that is worth repairing.
https://yubasutter.craigslist.org/gr...454590346.html

If the budget is there, I would buy this in a heartbeat. There is nothing like a Deutz air cooled diesel. At 1800rpm that engine should run 30,000 hours before rebuild
https://redding.craigslist.org/hvo/d...431367368.html

Chris
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:47:47 PM
Joe Romas Joe Romas is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

Years ago there was a power outrage Texas.
It didn't take too long for them to realize they needed electricity to pump natural gas into the pipelines and it was out too
I understand they moved the gas pumps to a more critical circuit
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:03:33 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

As I understand that event, the electrical provider decided to shed the circuit that happened to serve the gas booster station that in turn served their own generating station. They shed the load and very shortly thereafter the incoming gas pressure went down to the point that the generating station was in more trouble than before the "preventative" load shedding.

That circuit is probably no longer on the list of sheddable loads.
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Old 01-28-2018, 04:54:40 PM
fresnoboy fresnoboy is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

Thanks everyone. Sounds the durability of these 3600 RPM liquid cooled NG gensets are just as good as Diesel, which gives me more options. I was thinking about a genset that was used to backup cell sites as they are replaced reasonably often.

I have a pretty decent sized budget, so looking at a relatively new set of equipment (2008+). The only catch is the HP has to be less than 50 else a pile of regulations get triggered...

Thx
mike
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:10:02 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

Quote:
Originally Posted by fresnoboy View Post
...Sounds the durability of these 3600 RPM liquid cooled NG gensets are just as good as Diesel...
I respectfully disagree with the above opinion. A 3600 RPM gaseous fueled set is not high on my list of durable items; get an 1800 RPM set if you plan on lots of running hours. That said, a realistic estimate of the number of hours you expect to need the set may change the equation in favor of a 3600 RPM unit, even if the service life will be shorter.

For instance, the standby set at my house has run about 50 hours in 7 years. It is an 1800 RPM diesel, but for 50 hours of service a 3600 RPM "lawnmower" engine would have done the job so far. On the other hand, if my utility is ever off for 2 weeks, the diesel will be going well after the point that the "lawnmower" engine would be worn out.
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:28:59 PM
Wessone Wessone is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

*-++


Dry fueled machines are almost always a good choice, be it propane or natural gas. Just do yourself a favor, and look for the low speed machines, (1800 RPM) if you can. They run a little quieter, and are usually (not always) of a higher quality that the comparable 3600 RPM machine, and a well loved Kohler can be a good machine.

I would stay away from most generac machines, generally, although I do have some favorites. But, I have worked on a lot of them, and a few Kohlers,too.
But, as a poster mentioned, as long as you have a good machine it probably won't run all that much to make that much of a difference-as long as they work.

Regarding maintenance, proper maintenance is certainly critical on any machine, but diesel more so than propane, or natural gas. Parts for natural gas or propane machines would likely be more available than diesels, in the general sense, and probably less expensive, overall. Maintenance is less expensive on gas than diesel. Long term Fuel storage is not as much an issue for natural gas or propane..

Air cooled is certainly less maintenance overall. No coolant to test or change; no hoses to inspect or replace, nor belts-generally.

But all will need attention, and all will NEED to be ran, under load at reasonable intervals to assure longevity, and operability when the time comes.
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:50:50 PM
K-Tron K-Tron is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel generators

I neglected to see the 30KW power requirement in my recommendation earlier. Are there any decibel requirements? If not you should look for a Detroit Diesel 3-71 1200rpm 30KW generator. They can usually be had for about $1500. Have it completely serviced or rebuilt at a two cycle Detroit shop and it will be the last generator you will ever need. Those Delco 1200rpm generators are bulletproof. They literally run a hundred thousand hours before needing repair. If you can deal with 20kw, you can buy a completely rebuilt 2-71 1200rpm generator from Emerson & Matkin with warranty http://www.emerson2-71gm.com/Gensets.html

Chris
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:55:53 AM
fresnoboy fresnoboy is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

Thanks guys. Now I see the Kohler RESC units are 3600 RPM, but the RCL units are 1800 RPM. I take it the more expensive Kohler line is the one to shoot for?

It looks some some of the generac protector (their higher end series) are 1800 RPM and others 3600 rpm. Weird.

thx
mike
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:20:24 AM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

Everything Kohler makes liquid cooled is 1800 RPM.

3600 RPM is a toy but only goes up to the low 20s in kW power.

Your question was about 30 kW sets so that is why I did not mention 3600 RPM or air cooled anything, because it seemed to be already eliminated.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:21:22 PM
Seafarer12 Seafarer12 is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

You will be hard pressed to find a 30kw 1800 RPM that is under 50hp. You will have lower hp engine in a 3600 rpm machine. They just tend to be less durable. My 20kw kubota gen set is 1800 rpm and has a 40hp engine on it. Since it runs at a reduced speed they have to put a higher hp engine on it.

Liquid fuel and gas fuel have their pluses and minuses. You just have to figure worse case scenario and what are the odds of it happening. I tend to lean towards diesel. You are less dependant on others for fuel. The natural gas line needs to be supplied and a propane tank needs to be filled. I can go scrounge diesel.
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:10:23 AM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

Mike originally posted:
"..looking to get a 30 KW backup generator. I know Diesel gensets in that class can be quite reliable and run continuously for days and not break a sweat."

ANY generator in the 30kw range will NOT be a lawn-mower engine... be of sufficient build quality to run continuously for days without breaking a sweat... but do you plan on running it at a 30kw load? Depends on your application details.

If you're running a house that would be fine for 90% of that timeframe at 5kw or less, then feeding a 30kw machine is extreme waste of fuel... it would be wiser to have a large and a small unit, so you can choose your power source based on load. As a side bonus, you'll have redundancy in the event that one machine has an issue.

"But if I wanted a natural gas generator,...Do they need more maintenance than a Diesel genset?"

The biggest maintenance issue that ANYONE has with a generator, is that they ignore it when they don't need it.

The biggest difference between maintenance of a liquid fuel vs. gaseous fuel system, is that the gaseous engine will always be CLEANER... combustion chamber, valves, pistons, and oil... than a liquid fuel engine... and propane will ALWAYS be cleaner than NG, but you probably wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at it. Propane, once trapped inside that bottle, cannot get substantially 'dirty'. Natural gas sometimes gets debris coming down the pipe, and you'll get 'air bubbles' in it on occasion too, but the grade of fuel quality tends to vary a bit, because natural gas is a MIX, while Propane is just that... Propane. C3H8.

"NG is very reliable in my area, and it avoids having to deal with refueling etc..., but I am worried about a long outage due to earthquake etc... "

Yep, ANY pipeline infrastructure is subject to interruption in a siesmic event. Back 'in the day', NG pipelines didn't depend on electric power to booster stations to move natural gas... instead, the booster stations had spark-ignition engines that burned (of all things) NATURAL GAS... to spin NG compressors to push it along. Apparently the pipeline companies decided that running electric motors was substantially less costly than maintaining the 600hp SNOW engines... and they're probably right- big and beautiful doesn't matter to the bottom line. The booster station out north of my place has electric booster compressors, but it also has an engine-driven generator to back 'em up in the event that the electrical utility line goes dead....
..and the engine driven generator has a PROPANE tank too... just in case there's some issue with NG feed that won't allow the engine to fire up.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:01:36 PM
BoilerGuy BoilerGuy is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

Re natural gas booster stations, storage sites, I have been to at least 5 in Michigan that all use Natural gas fueled internal combustion engines, some reciprocator's and 1 turbine to run the compressors.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:06:34 PM
Larry Rusch Larry Rusch is offline
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Default Re: Advice on NG vs Diesel Generators

"The booster station out north of my place has electric booster compressors, but it also has an engine-driven generator to back 'em up in the event that the electrical utility line goes dead....
..and the engine driven generator has a PROPANE tank too... just in case there's some issue with NG feed that won't allow the engine to fire up."

I would expect any reputable pipeline company would have black start capability at their compressor stations.
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