HOW DOES AN ELECTRIC GENERATOR WORK?

POWER YOU CAN TRUST

Introduction

Generators come in many different sizes and configurations and are used for a variety of applications. From large organisations and industrial sites to smaller workplaces and homes, they provide a critical power source across a wide working sector in our society.

Used to operate on a variety of energy sources, such as diesel and natural gas, electric generators offer lots of flexibility and provide a constant and reliable source of power that keep small and large businesses, as well as residential settings going. With varying power outlets and configurations available for your generator, it can be useful to learn their workings at a simple level, to ensure they are the right choice for your application.

How Do Electric Generators Work?

Using an old-age process called Electromagnetic Induction, electric generators work by creating an electric current, achieved by converting mechanical energy from an external source into electrical energy.

They can convert motion-based power, (potential and kinetic energy) or fuel-based power (chemical energy) into electric power for use in an external circuit.

The processes involved in creating electric energy are still used to this day, and with so many benefits in running an electric generator, we will take a look at their workings, common features and the benefits of incorporating them into your business plan.

Electromagnetic Induction Explained

Electromagnetic Induction is a phenomenon discovered by British scientist Michael Faraday in the early nineteenth century. In a process commonly referred to as Faraday’s Electromagnetic Law, he discovered that the two ends of a moving electrode, along a perpendicular with a magnetic field, produced electrical energy. Using his theory, Faraday was the first to build a generator capable of generating electricity.

In simple terms, the creation of an electric current by moving a wire into a moving magnetic field creates electric energy. By creating electricity using a magnet, the magnetic field around the coil changes, with the coil effectively cutting through the magnetic field line. This can be achieved either by moving the bar magnet inside a coil of wire or by moving a coil of wire in a magnetic field.

As the magnet is being moved back and forth, the direction of the current changes, creating what is referred to as Alternating Current or AC, in contrast to a DC generator which produces direct power.

Types of Electric Generators

There are two types of electric generator: Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). Whilst the technique of producing electricity is the same, their applications and the way in which a load receives electric power is what sets them apart.

AC Generators – Used to power smaller electrical items and applications.

DC Generators – A DC generator is often used to power larger applications such as electric motors.

Electric Generators are commonly used where a portable or backup power source is needed. They are often found in places such as power plants and used to generate electricity on a large scale. Portable generators are also available for smaller-scale applications and are ideal for more remote areas and locations, providing electricity to areas that may suffer from regular power outages.

The Main Components of an Electric Generator

The build of an electric generator is made up of the basics, which include its frame, engine, alternator and fuel system, whilst also comprising of the other following components:

  • A Voltage Regulator
  • A Cooling System
  • A Lubrication System
  • An Exhaust System
  • A Charger
  • Main Control Panel

Pros and Cons of using an Electric Generator

There are many considerations to incorporating an electric generator into your day-to-day business plan. Along with providing an excellent back-up power solution when emergency power is relied on, they also ensure power is reliably and efficiently distributed to where it needs to be.

  • Electric generators offer a reliable power solution, especially for those more remote areas where the power supply can be unpredictable.
  • Electric generators can be used to operate on a variety of energy sources. From diesel, natural gas to more renewable sources, such as wind or solar, some generators are dependent on a good supply of fuel to operate. This in turn can offer lots of flexibility when working out the best type of generator for you.
  • The operational costs of running an electric generator can be quite high, especially with the fluctuations in fuel prices. This added with maintenance and service costs, they can prove quite costly.
  • Electric generators powered by renewable sources like Wind or Solar energy produce clean electricity with minimal environmental impact, proving an excellent choice for those looking for added efficiency.
  • Maintenance and operational costs can often be quite high, therefore scheduling in regular service plans is crucial to ensure the longevity of your generator.
  • Noise and vibration can be much higher with electric generators, and extra consideration will be required before a placement and its set up is decided upon.

WBPS | Here to help!

At WBPS, we have over 40 years of knowledge and technical expertise to help you with all your generator requirements. We believe your electric generator is at the heart of your operations and with a wide range of generator services on offer, including for hire, for sale and a range of maintenance packages, we can help put together a plan that will help keep your unit working at its very best.

Suppliers of critical power solutions, and Europe’s largest distributor of Kohler-SDMO generators, we are well-equipped to help you with all your generator requirements.

To find out more about the services we provide, speak to one of our experienced team members today and see how we can help you implement your ideas into your own business plan.

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