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Powering Diesel Gensets


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  #1  
Old 03-10-2017, 03:45:52 PM
Utah Onan Utah Onan is offline
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Default Powering Diesel Gensets

Question to all the Diesel Genset owners/users/maintainers...
Have any of you out there considered bi-fuel for your generator? Meaning that your generator would operate on potentially 60% less diesel fuel while using natural gas. Or another way to look at it would be that the generator would run on 40% diesel fuel & 60% natural gas.
Any insight? Comments?

thanks in advance

Utah

---------- Post added at 12:45:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:43:56 PM ----------

....also see this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOJgv0GqyYM
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:31:07 PM
Kevin K Kevin K is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

In a word: NO! In two words: Absolutely NO! My generator can use on road diesel, off road diesel, or #2 fuel oil. I want it to be ready to run when I need it. For an emergency generator, the fuel cost is a small part of the expense. I'll leave the diesel/natural gas and waste vegetable oil to others who want to spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to save a few dollars.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:45:31 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

Contrarily, I would maintain that the fuel cost of an emergency generator can quickly become the most expensive part of the installation, especially when a set that is too large is installed, and even worse if it is used to supply electric heat, while ~80% of the heat from the fuel burned is thrown away. Fact is, the days of cheap fuel are long, LONG gone.

That said, it's my understanding that diesels can run very well on gaseous fuels so long as the mixture is kept sufficiently lean so as to not auto ignite, and thus with the diesel injection serving as both pilot fuel and ignition timing.

I don't know how you would accomplish this in an engine that is not designed for it though. I can envision fairly sophisticated controls handling it, but contrary to modern belief, simple really is better.

You'd need to have a way to have the governor control the gas flow instead of the diesel injection rate, while leaving the latter at some small, presumably fixed amount, such as that at idle. If the load comes off, it would need to cut the gas supply, and revert to straight diesel operation, with the governor controlling as normally. Interesting, for sure.

I'm sure some engines would be much easier to modify than others, and some, ie Detroits, must never ingest fuel into the intake as it can explode in the airbox since the cylinder is full of hot exhaust gasses- and very likely sparks- when the piston uncovers the intake ports.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:52:44 PM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

I've seen some of the larger Fairbanks-Morse Diesel engines that were modified to run using natural gas as the main fuel. The Diesel injection pumps were, I think, set to a fixed minimum delivery, acting only as an ignition source.

It is my understanding that natural gas or propane have a high enough ignition temperature that they won't ignite even at Diesel compression ratios.

Of course, the governor must control the volume of gaseous fuel mixed into the intake air to be able to manage engine RPM and power output.

I experimented using propane from an unlit torch into the intake of my Homebrew Hvid and it behaved itself nicely. If I wanted to go to the trouble of converting it, it would be relatively easy.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:03:45 PM
yellowlister yellowlister is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

Why not just have a spark ignition engine and use natural gas on them.. what's the point of useing gas on a diesel.. is it really going to be cost effective to get it to run right and not shorten the engine life?

Probably much cheaper to leave it alone and buy solar panels in the long run
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:04:14 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

With this sort of setup I wonder if you have to throttle the intake air as well or if simply mixing lean gaseous fuel into wide open air is going to get it to all burn.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:23:13 PM
Dale Russell Dale Russell is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

Having worked in a Municipal Power Plant with LARGE ENGINES that used this sort of system, this is not for the average Joe to play with. We ran 6% Pilot Fuel, (Diesel) for Ignition & 94% Natural Gas and both were controlled very close. The engine would have to be Engineered from the factory to be SAFE.

My $.02 worth!
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:36:36 PM
gnucklehead gnucklehead is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

My solution to this is to have multiple generators.. What happens when your NatGas doesn't work? I would use Biodiesel, but not putting veggie oil in my Onan unless it's the last resort, I have an IDI chinese diesel for that I even have gasoline sets
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:37:53 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

Interesting idea if you could do it. But let me ask why not just use a nat gas engine? Is a diesel running on nat gas more efficient because of higher compression? If it is then why not machine head to accept a spark plug and flow nat gas thru the "carb"?
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:05:18 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Powering Diesel Gensets

Bi fuel engines are not uncommon. The most basic systems just add nat gas in a fixed relation to load. If the natural gas can't keep up or just quits, the diesel governor takes over basically instantly. the diesel side is basically un modified.

i don't see why you couldn't do this with a ardunio or something couldn't make this work fine. Just don't run the razors edge running too little diesel, the pros have knock sensors etc to prevent pushing too hard.
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