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How Does a Diesel Engine Work?

The distinction lies in the type of ignition. While gasoline engines operate on spark
ignition, diesel engines employ compression - ignition for igniting the fuel. In the latter,
air is drawn into the engine and subjected to high compression that heats it up. This
results in a very high temperature in the engine, much higher than the temperature
attained in a gasoline engine. At peak temperature and
pressure, diesel that is let into the engine ignites on
account of the extreme temperature
In a diesel engine, air and the fuel are infused into the
engine at different stages, as opposed to a gas engine
where a mixture of air and gas are introduced. Fuel is
injected into the diesel engine using an injector whereas in
a gasoline engine, a carburetor is used for this purpose. In
a gasoline engine, fuel and air are sent into the engine
together, and then compressed. The air and fuel mixture limits fuel compression, and
hence the overall efficiency. A diesel engine compresses only air, and the ratio can be
much higher. A diesel engine compresses at the ratio of 14:1 up to 25:1, whereas in a
gasoline engine the compression ratio is between 8:1 and 12:1. After combustion, the
combustion by-products are removed from the engine through the exhaust. For starting
during cold months extra heat is provided through 'glow plugs'.
Diesel engines can either be two cycle or four cycle and are chosen depending on mode
of operation. Air-cooled and liquid-cooled engines are the variants to be chosen
appropriately. It is preferable to use a liquid-cooled generator as it is quiet in operation
and has evenly controlled temperature.
Applications & Uses for Diesel Engines
Diesel engines are commonly used as mechanical engines, power generators and in
mobile drives. They find wide spread use in locomotives, construction equipment,
automobiles, and countless industrial applications. Their realm extends to almost all
industries and can be observed on a daily basis if you were to look under the hood of
everything you pass by. Industrial diesel engines and diesel powered generators have
construction, marine, mining, hospital, forestry, telecommunications, underground, and
agricultural applications, just to name a few. Power generation for prime or standby
backup power is the major application of today's diesel generators.
Power Generators
Diesel powered generators, or electrical generator sets, are used in countless industrial
and commercial establishments. The generators can be used for small loads, such as in
homes, as well as for larger loads like industrial plants, hospitals, and commercial
buildings. They can either be prime power sources or standby/back-up power sources.
They are available in various specifications and sizes. Diesel generator sets rating 530KW are typically used in simple home and personal applications like recreational
vehicles. Industrial applications cover a wider spectrum of power ratings (from 30 kW to
6 Megawatts) and are used in numerous industries throughout the globe. For home use,
single-phase power generators are sufficient. Three-phase power generators are
primarily used for industrial purposes

How does a generator work?

An electric generator is a device that converts mechanical
energy obtained from an external source into electrical
energy as the output.
It is important to understand that a generator does not
actually create electrical energy. Instead, it uses the
mechanical energy supplied to it to force the movement of electric charges present in the
wire of its windings through an external electric circuit. This flow of electric charges
constitutes the output electric current supplied by the generator. This mechanism can be
understood by considering the generator to be analogous to a water pump, which causes
the flow of water but does not actually create the water flowing through it.
The modern-day generator works on the principle of electromagnetic induction
discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831-32. Faraday discovered that the above flow of
electric charges could be induced by moving an electrical conductor, such as a wire that
contains electric charges, in a magnetic field. This movement creates a voltage
difference between the two ends of the wire or electrical conductor, which in turn causes
the electric charges to flow, thus generating electric current.

Main components of a generator

The main components of an electric generator can be broadly classified as follows (refer
to illustration above):
(1) Engine
(2) Alternator
(3) Fuel System
(4) Voltage Regulator
(5) Cooling and Exhaust Systems
(6) Lubrication System

(7) Battery Charger

(8) Control Panel
(9) Main Assembly / Frame

The Pros and Cons of Diesel Engines

PRO: Diesels get great mileage. They typically deliver 25 to 30

percent better fuel economy than similarly performing gasoline
engines. Diesels also can deliver as much or more fuel economy than
traditional gasoline-electric hybrids, depending on the models involved
and whatever rapidly developing automotive technology achieves.

CON: Although diesel fuel used to be cheaper than gasoline, it now

often costs the same amount or more. Diesel fuel is also used for
commercial trucks, home and industrial generators, and heating oil, so
as demand for diesel passenger vehicles grows, the price of diesel fuel
is likely to continue to rise because of competition from those other
Even if the price goes up, diesel fuel would have to be 25 to 30 percent
more expensive than gas to erase the cost advantage of a diesel
engines greater fuel efficiency.

PRO: Diesel fuel is one of the most efficient and energy dense fuels
available today. Because it contains more usable energy than gasoline,
it delivers better fuel economy.

CON: Although diesel fuel is considered more efficient because it

converts heat into energy rather than sending the heat out the tailpipe
as gas-powered vehicles do, it doesnt result in flashy high-speed
performance. In some ways, a gasoline-powered engine is like a
racehorse high-strung, fiery, and fast whereas a diesel engine is
more like a workhorse slower, stronger, and more enduring.

PRO: Diesels have no spark plugs or distributors. Therefore, they

never need ignition tune-ups.

CON: Diesels still need regular maintenance to keep them running.

You have to change the oil and the air, oil, and fuel filters. Cleaner
diesel fuels no longer require you to bleed excess water out of the
system, but many vehicles still have water separators that need to be
emptied manually.

PRO: Diesel engines are built more ruggedly to withstand the rigors
of higher compression. Consequently, they usually go much longer
than gas-powered vehicles before they require major repairs.
Mercedes-Benz holds the longevity record with several vehicles
clocking more than 900,000 miles on their original engines! You may
not want to hang onto the same vehicle for 900,000 miles, but
longevity and dependability like that can sure help with trade-in and
resale values.

CON: If you neglect the maintenance and the fuel injection system
breaks down, you may have to pay a diesel mechanic more money to
get things unsnaggled than you would to repair a gasoline system
because diesel engines are more technologically advanced.

PRO: Because of the way it burns fuel, a diesel engine provides far
more torque to the driveshaft than does a gasoline engine. As a result,
most modern diesel passenger cars are much faster from a standing
start than their gas-powered counterparts. Whats more, dieselpowered trucks, SUVs, and cars also can out-tow gas-powered vehicles
while still delivering that improved fuel economy.

Diesel technology is constantly being improved. Government pressure to

produce low-emission diesel engines for passenger vehicles, trucks,
buses, and farm and construction equipment has resulted not only in lowsulfur diesel fuels but also specialized catalytic converters, advanced
filters, and other devices to cut down or destroy toxic emissions.