Generator Types: Learn the basics, types and more
Generators are one of the essential electrical appliances in the world today. Power failures can occur for various reasons, such as natural disasters, load shedding, system failures, and infrastructure failures.
Without a generator, your world would be dark in this case. Without knowing each generator’s details and purpose, you could spend your hard-earned money on the wrong generator. This article will discuss the different types of generators and their applications.
As you may already know, some generators are more popular than other competitors on the market. Here, we’ll introduce the most popular ones. Are you ready to expand your knowledge? Read on to learn more.
What is a generator?
A generator converts mechanical energy to provide electrical power for external circuits. Different mechanical energy sources such as steam turbines, wind turbines, gas turbine, hydro turbines, and internal combustion engines are used to provide the source of this conversion. There are different types of generators, each tailored to specific needs.
Generator’s working principle
Generators work on the principle of electromagnetic induction (EMI).
What is Electromagnetic Induction?
If we look at the image above, the magnetic field lines pass from the North Pole to the South Pole. If we move the magnet, the number of magnetic field lines passing through the coil will change. Electricity is generated due to the change in the number of magnetic field lines as the magnet moves. The result will be the same, whether the magnet moves or the coil rotates. This phenomenon is called EMI.
Types of generators
There are many different types of generators, each with its advantages, disadvantages, and best applications.
Let’s see each generator type in detail.
1) Portable generators
Portable generators that are small, compact, and easy to carry often use gasoline, propane, or solar energy as fuel because these fuel sources are readily available. Both natural gas and propane are available from gas stations, while solar power comes directly from the sun. Their small size means these generators are easy to store in a vehicle or keep in a shed or garage until needed.
On a camping trip, a portable generator can charge mobile devices, keep the lights on and run a camp stove after the sun goes down. However, these generators sacrifice power for mobility, so they cannot generate the same amount of energy as large backup generators. Their reduced size and capacity mean portable generators are more affordable.
Portable generators are best for camping or staying in the car on a rainy day.
2) Inverter generators
Inverter generators can be whole home generators or portable generators, but they generate electricity differently. Standard generators generate single-phase power and cannot maintain a steady flow of current. The inverter generator generates electricity in three phases, producing high-frequency alternating current (AC), which is then inverted to direct current (DC) and finally inverted again to a stable AC output.
The complicated process helps create clean energy or energy that remains stable while it’s being used. Therefore, it is suitable for sensitive electronic products such as laptops, mobile phones, etc. Inverter generators are also quieter in operation due to stable energy output.
3) Standby or backup generators
The high price of a standby or backup generator makes it quite different from a portable generator. While small portables can be picked up, carried, or packed into a vehicle, a backup generator is a semi-permanent feature in the home – it takes up more space than a standard air conditioner unit. These generators have a large fuel container and a fuel-efficient commercial-grade engine, which allows them to power an entire home in an emergency.
Ideal for powering small cabins or backup emergency systems. Standby generators are sometimes equipped with WiFi connectivity, allowing users to monitor the generator’s status via a mobile app.
Aside from the cost, the main disadvantage of standby generators is that they require regular maintenance to ensure they remain operational in the event of a power outage.
They are best for automatically turning on in response to power outages and providing uninterrupted power to the whole home.
4. Natural gas generators
Generators that run on natural gas fall into the category of backup generators, although some portable generators also run on natural gas. Natural gas generators have much lower emission rates than diesel and gasoline generators, making them an excellent choice for whole-home standby power.
Natural gas generators are durable and can last for years with regular maintenance, but the initial cost of installing these systems is comparatively high. Another disadvantage of natural gas generators is that they are susceptible to freezing climates, so they may not be the best option for people living in icy areas.
They are best suited for eco-friendly shoppers concerned about pollutant emission levels and people for a whole-house standby generator.
5. Gasoline generator
Generators can run on various fuels, but gasoline is the most common fuel for portable and inverter generators. Any generator that runs on gasoline falls into this category, making it difficult to observe it broadly.
Gasoline generators have relatively simple controls and a low price, which makes them ideal for inexperienced operators and shoppers on a budget. On the downside, such generators have a high emission rate and, in the long run, use more expensive fuel than propane, diesel, or natural gas.
Gasoline generators are best for shoppers on a budget or who don’t use generators often.
6. Diesel generator
Diesel generators, as the name suggests, use diesel fuel instead of gasoline. Most generators in this category are standby generators, but there are also some inverters and portable diesel generators.
Generators running on diesel can provide a more efficient power output than gasoline standby generators. There are also cost advantages to buying a diesel generator: because diesel generators are more fuel efficient than gasoline-powered generators, you’ll spend less on fuel in the long run.
These generators can work fine in freezing temperatures if they are filled with winter diesel. Regular diesel fuel freezes and gels, preventing the generator from starting. The low combustion temperature of diesel puts less stress on the electric engine than gasoline or propane, resulting in a higher level of durability and longer life for diesel generators. However, remember that diesel generators produce harmful emissions that can be toxic or harmful if inhaled.
Diesel generators are best for people looking for a durable, easy-to-maintain generator; those who need it for industrial use or as a whole-house standby generator.
7. Solar generator
Even though the fuel is renewable and free, installing whole-home solar generators can be very expensive. These generators are great for camping or storing in your car as an emergency power source.
Solar generators are usually made with built-in solar panels, but some have removable panels that can be set or tilted to absorb the sun’s rays better. The downside to these generators is that they don’t work when it’s dark outside and don’t produce much power.
They are best suited for eco-conscious shoppers who can afford the high upfront cost. Also, for people looking for a portable generator who don’t need a lot of backup power.
8. Hydrogen generator
Relatively new to the market, hydrogen generators are not easy to find. The machines run on hydrogen and are designed with internal fuel cells to help manage the system’s fuel efficiency. Some advantages of buying hydrogen generators are that they produce a higher power output than other generators and are sturdy and very resistant to shock damage.
On the downside, since there are so few hydrogen generators on the market, they’re not cheap — and it may take some searching to find one that meets your specific needs. Still, these devices are efficient and durable enough to be worth a try, and we expect to see more and more companies producing hydrogen generators in the coming years.
They are best for homes or businesses requiring uninterrupted power in remote locations and indoor use.
Use of generators
The are many uses of generators, and some of them are as under
- Generators are helpful in places with frequent power outages, such as homes, shops, and workplaces. They are used as a backup power source to ensure that the appliance does not lose power.
- In remote areas where power cannot be supplied from the mainline, generators are the primary source of electricity.
- Generators can power machinery or tools on project sites that cannot get power from the grid.
Choosing the best generator
Now that you know everything about generators, what they are, how they work, their types, and more, you can choose the right generator confidently. But first, you have to evaluate the power needs of your system. Fortunately, BISON can help you evaluate your requirements for the best results.
Contact us online or call us at (+86) 17380831819 to gain deeper insights and purchase the correct type of generator.
If you have any enquiries about the BISON generator, we would love to hear from you.