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Process and control today | One generator or two? That’s the question

When selecting a temporary power supply for your site, deciding how many generators to hire is not as simple as it sounds. Making this decision means considering your load requirements early on and determining which equipment will provide the power your site needs. This is Karl Law, application engineer at Energyst UK and Ireland, tells you how to make the right decision when selecting the number of temporary generator sets to rent.

Depending on your site and application, it may be beneficial to install a single generator or multiple units. For example, if you have a critical need for on-site power, running two generators in parallel allows you to generate additional power when your loads increase, and you can drop a unit when the load drops below a point. predetermined set point. Parallel operation also gives the operator the ability to start heavy loads, with another option to manually stop the generator or have it stop automatically when the generator is not required and the ability to link generators of different sizes to produce optimal power. So how do you know if your site needs one or two generators?

Load requirements

The first step is to know your site load requirements and how much power you expect the unit to draw, this is called the site load profile. You can determine the total load by making a list of all the equipment that needs to be powered and calculating the total consumption of everything from outlets to pumps and motors, this is called peak demand. It will also help you identify the different load types at your site, including inductive, capacitive, and resistive loads.

You will also need to determine if these loads are constant or intermittent. Will they have a high start followed by a low running load? If the load is constant, a single generator may suffice, but if it is the latter, running two or more units in parallel may be more efficient.

Fuel consumption

Investing in diesel, HVO and other fuels is a necessary evil when renting generator sets. It is essential that you have a sufficient reserve to cover the entire rental period and to meet fluctuations in demand. While it’s intuitive to think that more machines mean higher consumption, that’s not necessarily the case. For example, if two generators are sized correctly and run at their optimum engine efficiency window, which is typically around 70-75%, consumption will be lower than if a single machine were running near 100 % dump.

Whether you use one generator or many, it’s best to avoid low loads as much as possible. Although it may be tempting to avoid higher fuel consumption, the units will still consume other fluids like oil, combustion will be poor and they will run at reduced efficiency as a result. This means that the rental partner may need to recharge your generators to test their performance, using more fuel than if you had chosen well the first time. A good rental partner like Energyst will help customers by evaluating load requirements and consumption goals to recommend the perfect power solution.

Room for one more?

Adding more generators often means more wiring, extension cords and accessories to ensure units are connected and running safely. For sites such as hospital basements and some data centers, space is often at a premium and more equipment means less room for generators, leading to airflow and cooling difficulties. access for maintenance.

However, a larger footprint is offset by the greater resiliency that comes with having two units running in parallel and the security of knowing your site has an extra layer of protection against unplanned downtime. If you have a critical site that requires N+1 redundancy and you have space, it may be better to have an additional generator or two to share the load with the main unit.

Load requirements, fuel consumption goals, and space are all important when choosing between a temporary generator set or multiple sets. You can only make this choice once you have considered your application needs, and a good rental partner will help you plan temporary power by recommending a site-specific solution.

For more information and advice on choosing a temporary generator, visit the Energyst website.

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