Efficient Operation of Diesel Generator Sets in Remote Conditions
Wheeler, Kaitlyn Rose
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Diesel engine and generator sets (gensets) have been extensively used for standby and remote power generation over the past hundred years. Due to their use for standby power, these diesel gensets are designed to operate in conjunction with the grid, which relates to a fixed speed operation with a 60 Hz AC output. For operation in remote conditions, such as military and disaster relief applications, this fixed speed operation results in limiting the power output available from the engine, as well as the overall efficiency of the system. The removal of this grid connectivity requirement could result in an increase in system efficiency. At a given load, the engine operates more efficiently at lower speeds, which corresponds to an increase in the system efficiency. This low speed operation also results in lower power output. Knowledge of the load is important in order to determine the most efficient operating point for fixed speed operations. Operating at a higher power output for a given speed also results in higher system efficiency. The addition of a battery pack will allow for a higher apparent load, resulting in higher operating efficiency. The addition of a battery pack will also allow for energy storage, which allows for a higher operating efficiency, as well as "engine off time". A controlled series capacitor converter should be used to ensure that the maximum power is transferred from the genset to the battery/load. Knowledge of the load and equipment available should be used in order to determine the ideal dispatch strategy. Overall, operation at the grid frequency limits the efficiency of the overall system for remote operations where grid frequency is not required. The simulated genset had an efficiency of 24% for a 3 kW when operated at 1800 RPM, and increase from the 17% efficiency at it normal operating speed of 3600 RPM. This corresponded to a fuel savings of 3 gallons over 24 hours of continuous operation. When a battery is incorporated into the system, the efficiency of the system will increase for a given output load. For example, the simulated genset has an efficiency of 15% for a 1 kW load, which increases to 24% when a battery is added and charged at 2 kW.
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