A diesel generator converts mechanical energy (movement) into electrical power, and channels it through power cables. It can be helpful to imagine electricity flowing through wires in much the same way water flows through pipes. A generator can be thought of as a kind of ‘electrical pump’ which causes the electricity to flow through the wires. It doesn’t actually create or destroy the electrons that flow through the wires any more than a water pump creates new water. It just causes it to move in a useful fashion.
The Main Parts of a Diesel Generator
Everydiesel generatoris made up of at least nine different - but equally important - parts. These are the:
-Cooling System & Exhaust System
-Main Assembly Frame or Skid
To better understand how a power generator works to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, we will look at the roles of all these components, starting with the diesel engine.
This is simply a basic diesel engine, it’s no different to the ones found in cars, vans, lorries or other large vehicles. This is the source of the mechanical energy, and the size of the engine matters. If you want a larger generator output, then you need a bigger engine. The larger the engine, the more electrical output you are able to produce.
essentially the component that’s responsible for generating power output. Here,
we see the concept of electromagnetic induction come into play.
An alternator is made up of many complex components, but one of the most crucial aspects is the rotor. This is a shaft that rotates - driven by the mechanical energy supplied by the engine - with multiple permanent magnets fixed around it. In doing so, this creates a magnetic field.
This magnetic field created continuously rotates around another critical part of the alternator: the stator. Simply put, this is a variation of different electrical conductors that are tightly wound over an iron core. This is where things start to become slightly more scientific. According to the principle of electromagnetic induction, if an electrical conductor remains stationary and a magnetic field moves around it, then an electrical current is induced.
In summary, the alternator takes mechanical energy created by the diesel engine, which drives the rotor to create a magnetic field that moves around the stator, which in turn generates an alternating current.
system mainly consists of a fuel tank with a pipe that connects it to the
engine. Here, diesel can be supplied directly to the engine, which will then
kickstart the whole process explained above. The size of the fuel tank
ultimately dictates how long a generator can remain active for.
The range ofsilent canopied generatorsusually come with fuel tanks included at the base of the electric generator as standard. If a larger capacity of fuel is required, we can design and manufacture abespoke extended base fuel tank, or the unit can be attached to anadditional free-standing bulk fuel tank.
For larger power generator projects that require the genset to be installed into anacoustic enclosure, separate fuel systems are usually installed or located either inside the enclosure, underneath the enclosure or sometimes even both.
Here, we have
the most complex part of an electric generator. The voltage regulator serves
one rather self-explanatory purpose: to regulate the voltage output. There is
too much that happens here to explain in this article alone, we’d probably need
an entirely separate piece to describe the whole voltage regulation
In simple terms, it ensures that the generator produces electricity at a nice steady voltage. Without it, you would see massive fluctuations dependent on how fast the engine is working. Needless to say, all the electrical equipment we use will not be able to handle such an unsteady power supply. So, this part works its magic to keep everything smooth and steady.
Cooling System & Exhaust System
components both play very crucial roles, and the good news is that they’re easy
to understand! A cooling system works to help prevent your generator from
overheating. There is coolant released in the generator which counters all the
additional heat energy produced by the engine and alternator. The coolant then
takes all this heat through a heat exchanger and gets rid of it outside of the
The exhaust system works in the same way as your car exhaust. It takes any gases produced by the diesel engine, brings them through a piping system, and exhausts them away from the genset.
This component attaches to the engine and pumps oil through it to ensure all the parts work smoothly and don’t grind against one another. Without it, the engine will break down.
All diesel engines need a tiny little electrical motor to help kick it into action. This small motor requires a battery, which needs to be charged. The battery charger keeps it nice and full of charge, either by an external source of the generator itself.
This is simply where the generator is controlled and operated. On an electric start (or auto start) generator you will find a whole host of controls here that allow you to do different things or check certain figures. This could include anything from the start button and a frequency switch, to an engine fuel indicator, coolant temperature indicator and much more.
Main Assembly Frame
Every generator needs to be contained somehow, and this is what the main assembly frame is. It houses the generator and is where all the different parts are built onto. It keeps everything together, and it can be an open design - or closed (canopied) for added protection and sound attenuation. Outdoor generators are typically housed in a protective frame that’s weatherproof to prevent damages.
So, there you have it, that’s how an electric generator works. The diesel engine supplies the alternator with mechanical energy, which is then converted into an electrical current thanks to the magnetic field producing an electromagnetic induction. But, now you know exactly how that happens, along with all the different parts inside a power generator as well.