Should You Choose A Natural Gas Or Diesel Generator?

Written by Ben.

gas generators for cleaner burning

In determining the best type of backup generators for your business, the choice often comes down to natural gas or diesel. While some circumstances dictate the use of one fuel or the other, most businesses must weigh the benefits of each and make a decision. For most companies, the deciding factors are usually fuel availability, the purpose and location of the generator, and price.

Why Consider A Gas Generator?

Natural gas generators, which can also be powered by propane, are a popular and affordable type of emergency and portable generator. As many businesses already have gas pipelines bringing them fuel for heating, configuring a generator that uses the fuel already on site is convenient. Gas produces fewer omissions of chemicals such as sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, so it is relatively clean burning and lacks the pungent odor of diesel fuel.

On the downside, fuel in underground lines can be interrupted in the case of a natural disaster; so unless you have large quantities of propane cylinders on hand, your generator will not operate if lines are destroyed. In the pipeline, there is also a risk of explosions and fires, and although gas is cleaner burning than diesel, it does release some greenhouse gases into the air.

What About Diesel Generators?

Diesel generators offer operational cost efficiencies, which make them popular backup power providers for businesses of all types and sizes. For large operations where cost is crucial, diesel fuel is considered both cost-effective and energy-efficient due to its higher energy density. This is particularly important when diesel generators are used in remote locations or at sea where they are off the grid; fuel is brought to the generator as there are no transport lines, so each gallon must pull its weight.

This type of generator, which often has a diesel engine and an electrical generator, is stable and reliable, so that it will be ready to use when needed and consistent in the amount of power it provides. The units have no spark plugs and wires so maintenance is low, while the lifespan of a diesel engine is far longer. Because diesel generators are heavy and bulky, they are much more suitable for large, permanent installations than for portable uses.

On the downside, diesel engines are noisier and have a considerable odor, which owners manage by locating generator units in outbuildings. Diesel fuel is also considered a pollutant, which poses environmental risks. However, advances in biodiesel fuels are promising and would create cleaner burning diesel generators.

Coastal Power & Equipment Can Help You Choose

Both types of generators are widely used in business and industry, and may even be used together in some integrated systems to maximize convenience, economy, and fuel availability.

For help in deciding whether you need a gas or diesel generator system, consult with the professionals at Coastal Power & Equipment, your source for new and used generators for purchase and rental. For information, stop in our Houston location, call us at 281-962-1023, or visit the Coastal Power & Equipment website.
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