How does Diesel Power Plant Generate Electricity?

What is diesel power station?

The diesel engine is a rotating mechanical device. The diesel engine is used as the prime mover to generate electricity by a special plant which is called a diesel power station. The Prime mover of the diesel power station is a two-stroke or four-stroke multi-cylinder diesel engine. Basically, rotating energy is induced due to the diesel combustion in the diesel engine and the alternator shaft is connected to the diesel engine shaft. In this case, the alternator shaft starts rotating at the same speed as the diesel engine shaft and the alternator converts diesel engine rotational energy into electrical energy. It is noted that diesel power plants are used as standby power plants. Indeed diesel power plant capacity is low about 50 MW. Whenever load demand becomes higher than the actual load then such a standby power plant is started to meet the load demand. However, let’s see how does diesel power plant generate electricity

What do you know about diesel power plant working principle?

The working principle of the diesel power plant is not complex. First of all, to raise the temperature air is compressed in a cylinder then diesel is burned inside the diesel engine, and working fluid is produced by the combustion. This high-pressure and high-temperature working fluid converts heat energy into mechanical energy. It is noted that the diesel engine works as the prime mover and the diesel engine is coupled with the alternator. Whenever the diesel engine rotates the rotor of the alternator also rotates then mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy.

Diesel power plant operation and maintenance

Diesel-power-plant-operation

Diesel power plant operation and maintenance are not complex as steam and nuclear power plant. The main operation of diesel power plant is diesel burns inside the diesel engine and mechanical energy is induced due to the flow of working fluid. This mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy with the help of an alternator. However, Maintenance is one of the most common factors for all electrical power plants. All the power stations required maintenance. The diesel power plant is one of the important and sensitive power plants. The maintenance of diesel power plant can be divided into two main parts, such as

  • Maintenance schedule
  • Maintenance activities

Maintenance schedule

The maintenance schedule is crucial thing. Schedule maintenance means periodic checking of various factors, such as temperature, diesel pressure, filter cleaning, coolant temperature checking, exhaust gases, and many more.

Maintenance activities

A maintenance activity is a regular activity that is extremely needed every day. Regular maintenance activities mean continuous inspection of fuel, the coolant of the oil, oil level, fuel system, fuel reservation, making sure all the devices are working properly, continuous monitoring and checking the generation capacity, and many more. Basically, all the components inspection of this power plant is regular maintenance. However, there is some basic maintenance of diesel power plants:

  • To maintain the operating condition of the diesel engine every half hour.  
  • To maintain the correct record of the instrument reading in the log sheet.
  • Clean the fuel tank at regular intervals.
  • To maintain the record of instrument temperature, pressure, electrical load, flow, etc.
  • To check the level of fuel oil periodically.

Where is diesel power located?

Location is one of the crucial factors in power plants. It is because there is a large number of factors involved with the power plant such as many types of equipment installed, location price, water availability, transmission cost, etc. for this reason whenever an engineering intent to design a power station then first of all they think about the place. However, we will discuss here how to select a diesel power plant location and then you will also get a better concept of how does diesel power plant generate electricity.

  • Distance from the load center:
  • Required land for diesel power plant: 
  • Water source/necessity of water:
  • Oil transport facilities:
  • Distance from the populated area:

Distance from the load center:

It means you can select a place nearer to the load center. It is because diesel power plant contains low power, due reduce transmission losses, and are used as the peak load or standby power plant. For this reason, it can be located near the load center.

Required land for diesel power plant: 

We know well that a diesel power plant is a standby power plant and it is usually run whenever load demand becomes higher than the base load (running period 5 pm to 12 am). Due to its low generation capacity and low amount of equipment installed that’s why it does not require a large space. It can be installed in a small area compared to the steam power plant, or thermal power plant

Water source/necessity of water:

Water is highly essential for all power plants. The diesel power plant runs by a diesel engine and no steam is generated here. For this reason, no more water is required for it. But a low amount of water is necessary for the cooling and some other things. For this reason, any source of water supply is considered for the diesel power plant.

Oil transport facilities:

Oil is only the fuel for the diesel power plant. Diesel is transportable anyhow (by road or rail). You should find a location where transportation facilities are good. On the other hand, the diesel power plant can be located where an oil source is available. So, keep in mind that before setting up such a plant keep in mind this oil transport facility.

Distance from the populated area:

Diesel is flammable and diesel is the main fuel for this power plant. This power plant makes some noise due to the running of the diesel engine and it is also responsible for nuisance from the exhaust. For this reason, the diesel power plant should locate far away from the populous area.

The overall efficiency of diesel power plant

Efficiency is one of the important things for every sphere. If the output power is divided by the input power and multiplied by 100 then we will get efficiency. If the efficiency becomes high then the output power of the power plant will be high. So output power depends on efficiency. However, the overall efficiency of diesel power plant is quite high than a steam power plant. The overall efficiency of diesel power plants is about 35%. However, let’s see how to find overall efficiency. Here is the diesel power plant efficiency formula:  

efficiency

Why diesel is worse than petrol?

Oil and diesel are obtained from unrefined oil that is obtained from the natural source of energy. Why petrol is not used to generate electricity? Sometimes this question comes to mind. Diesel burns inside the diesel engine and the product of this combustion act as the working fluid to generate mechanical energy. However, let’s try to find the actual answer to why diesel is worse than petrol or why petrol is not used to generate electricity. Basically, the petrol engine works on the Otto cycle and the diesel engine works on the diesel cycle.    

On the other hand, Diesel is a type of fuel oil that is created from petroleum. It is typically used in diesel engines because it has a higher energy density than gasoline. Diesel also has a higher boiling point, which makes it easier to start in cold weather. The main reason why diesel is used in the diesel power plant is that it has a higher density than gasoline. This means that there will be more energy per volume with diesel fuel compared to gasoline.

Why-diesel-is-worse-than-petrol

Diesel engines also have the advantage of being able to operate in extreme temperatures and are more efficient, which reduces pollution when compared to other types of engines such as gas or electric motors. However, the use of diesel power plants increased significantly after World War II when the invention of the turbocharger made diesel engines more powerful and efficient than gasoline engines. Due to this reason, diesel is used in diesel power plants instead of petrol.

Difference between steam power plant and diesel power plant

Steam power plantDiesel power plant
Steam power plants are located where coal and water are available.The diesel power plant can be located at any place because it requires a low amount of water and small space.
The initial cost is low compared to the nuclear and hydropower plant.The diesel power plant’s initial cost is low compared to some other power stations.
Steam power plant running cost is higher than hydro and nuclear power plant due to the high amount of coal required.Running cost is higher than steam power station, and some other power station due to the high price of oil.  
Coal transportation cost is high because huge coal is required to generate bulk electricity.Oil transportation cost is low compared to the steam power station because a low amount of diesel requires generating 50 MW power.
Coal is highly responsible to pollute the atmosphere and it is not cleanThe diesel power station is less harmful compared to the steam power station.
Such power plant’s overall efficiency is about 25%The overall efficiency of diesel power stations is about 35%
Starting time of the steam power station is moreStarting time is less and it can be started within a concise time

Application of diesel engine power plant

The diesel power plant can be placed at any place. If you have low demand of 2 to 5 MW then you can also meet your load demand by driving a diesel engine. However, we have told above that how does diesel power plant generate electricity. Alright, let’s see what the application of a diesel power plant is. 

  • It can be started at any time.
  • In remote areas where no electricity is available, the diesel power station can be located there.
  • It can be used as the standby power plant and it can be started whenever load demand is higher than the based load. 
  • It can be run as a mobile power station, transportation facilities, and others.
  • If industrial load demand become under 500KW then such a power plant can be installed.

Final word of how does diesel power plant generate electricity

Diesel power plant works on a thermodynamic cycle. Basically, the diesel power plant generates electricity through a diesel engine. The diesel engine run and work as the prime mover and the engine shaft is connected to the alternator and the alternator generates electricity. Such a power plant is also called a peak load power plant. The starting time of the peak load power plant is from 5 pm to 12 am. If load demand becomes balanced then such power station is completely stopped. However, we have referred to some crucial steps to let you know how does diesel power plant generate electricity. We hope this crucial information is sufficient to let you know how does diesel power plant generate electricity. So visit openread to know more about some other power plants.

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