What is a genset and how does it work?
The genset plays an important role in many projects. Gensets, also known as generators or generator sets, ensure the main stage of a festival is operational and that heavy duty construction projects are not dependent on the grid. Because of backup generators hospitals are never without power and because of offshore gensets energy is available at sea. This article elaborates on how these gensets work and the various types that are available.
What is a genset?
A genset is a machine that generates power. Although there are various kinds of gensets that generate various kinds of energy, this article specifically discusses gensets that generate electrical energy. Gensets are often used in places that do not have grid access, for projects that require more energy than the grid can provide or for situations where power certainty is so important that a backup is required in case of grid failure. Gensets lend themselves very well for these applications, because they can operate fully independently from the grid. A 15 kVA genset is sufficient for powering a crew wagon, a 2000 kVA genset can power an entire data center. The most suitable genset for a situation depends on the power demand and the specific details of the location and project.
Designing, building, delivering, maintaining and innovating gensets has been Bredenoord’s core business for eighty years and counting. Through this we ensure that our clients always have access to sufficient power, no matter their project’s location or circumstances.
How a genset works
A genset consists of two main parts: an engine and a generator. The engine, usually a combustion engine, converts fuel into mechanical energy, also known as kinetic energy. The generator then converts this energy into electrical energy in the form of an alternating current. As such, Bredenoord’s gensets deliver AC.
The concept of gensets delivering direct current is currently being researched. This is because solar energy and wind energy are generated in the form of DC. In order to be able to work with this current anyway, it can be converted into AC. Because the return of DC is greater than that of AC, the possibilities of fully transferring to DC are being investigated globally. Inland waterway transport has already mostly completed this process. More and more vessels are being equipped with these systems.
There are various kinds of gensets available, of which the precise functioning is partially determined by the fuel they use. Diesel is the most commonly used fuel, but it’s also possible to use gas. A benefit of a diesel generator is that diesel is cheaper, not to mention that moving a diesel tank is both safer and easier than moving a gas tank. Because of this Bredenoord currently only offers diesel engines.
More sustainable energy sources are being extensively researched in the context of the energy transition. Biofuels made of organic material, such as biodiesel, can serve as a direct replacement for regular diesel and are fully sustainable if they are second generation biofuels. Bredenoord offers both regular diesel and the second generation biodiesel HVO. In addition Bredenoord offers GTL, a synthetic diesel that combusts more fully and is therefore cleaner than regular diesel. Bredenoord’s gensets can run on each of these fuels.
Other alternative energy sources that are currently being researched are, among others, formic acid, hydrogen and methanol. Bredenoord can already offer a hydrogen-fueled energy solution: the Purity. This is a fuel cell generator based on hydrogen fuel cell technology (PEM technology). When other alternative fuels have been developed to the point where they become interesting and relevant to Bredenoord’s customers, they will naturally be added to the product range in the form of a practical energy solution.
Hybrid solutions with a genset
By cleverly combining gensets with other systems and technologies it’s possible to save a lot of fuel. This can be achieved, for example, by combining a genset with an ESaver or Big Battery Box. The genset will only run to recharge the battery when it is running low, or during peak demand. In doing so the hybrid solution saves a lot of fuel, because the genset will be able to run as efficiently as possible: at 80% of its total power. This applies particularly to situations with a fluctuating energy demand or an energy demand that is lower than the gensets optimal power range.
In addition Bredenoord offers hybrid solutions with solar energy. The Mini-SunBox and Mobile Solar Plant generate solar energy. A transformator converts the generated DC to AC. When solar energy is insufficient to meet the power demand, an ESaver or Big Battery Box can join in. During peak demand or when the batteries are empty, the genset will then assist in meeting the power demand and recharge the batteries. Contact Bredenoord’s Solutions department for a custom hybrid solution.
Applications for gensets
The possibilities of gensets are endless. Gensets can be used in virtually any situation in which the grid cannot fulfill the power demand or where additional measures are required in order to ensure the availability of power. Different situations have different limits and demands, so Bredenoord’s fleet consists of a large variety of gensets and accessories that allow for the assembly of a suitable energy solution for any situation.
Operation at sea has to meet considerably stricter demands than operation on land. Due to the absence of the grid, offshore operation always requires a different energy solution, which is often a genset. This genset must withstand extreme circumstances and comply to various rules and regulations. The Heavy Duty Offshore Genset has been designed specifically for operating at sea and complies to the NORSOK requirements and is IMO Tier II and GCBS certified. In addition Bredenoord developed an offshore frame that meets the DNV 2.7-1 requirements, which allow the genset to be lifted on board at sea.
The grid is available on most festival locations, but this is often not sufficient. During peak demand, such as the main stage during headlining acts, festivals require far more energy. Gensets thereby form an excellent solution for festivals. Another reason to use gensets is that they can serve as a backup, ensuring that the program can continue as planned, no matter what happens. It would, of course, be unacceptable for a show to be interrupted due to a technical failure. To prevent this it’s quite common to use multiple gensets as backup, so that even the smallest risks, such as a malfunctioning genset, has been covered.
Bredenoord has powered a variety of festivals, such as Lowlands, Extrema Outdoor Belgium and De Zwarte Cross.
Construction and maintenance
In the field of construction the grid often cannot meet the energy demand either. When building something new a grid connection is often not yet available at all, so an alternative will be required until, at the very least, this connection had been established. Power for construction often comes with additional challenges in the form of rules and regulations surrounding emissions and noise pollution towards the local residents. There are, however, various ways to meet both the energy demand and these regulations. Silent gensets reduce noise pollution and the Clear Air filter can reduce the soot emissions by up to 99.9%. When working with a genset in a 20ft container it’s also possible to use a Denox installation, which reduces NOx emissions by up to 85%. The combination of a Stage III A genset, a soot filter and a Denox installation allow for the demands of Stage V to be met already.
In addition various systems on the construction site can be powered more efficiently and sustainably. Lighting and CCTV, for example, don’t need a lot of power, but by lack of a grid connection a genset would have to run continuously. This can be solved by using an ESaver, or, in case of lighting, the Clear PLM Light tower. Efficient use of batteries can significantly reduce the amount of fuel required for such applications.
In some situations continuous access to power is crucial. For a hospital or data center it is unacceptable to be without power for even a moment. In case of unexpected grid failure a backup power installation consisting of a no break installation and a genset will ensure all processes on location can continue as usual.
During grid failure the backup power will start up and take over the power supply until the grid is available again. The most common choice is a genset with enough power to handle the energy demand of the entire location with all available equipment running at once. Bredenoord can provide both the backup power installation and its maintenance, as well as a no-break installation in cooperation with external partners.
Genset rental? Bredenoord gladly assists you
Are you looking for a reliable energy solution for short or long term use? Bredenoord can deliver at short notice from a large fleet of rental gensets. In case of a more complex energy demand we gladly help you find the most fitting situation. Contact us for a non-committal advice.