SINGLE & THREE-PHASE GENERATORS EXPLAINED

POWER YOU CAN TRUST

With generators coming in all shapes and sizes, including different power outputs and fuel types, it can be a difficult to know which generator will work for you and your business. From powering construction projects, to providing back-up power in cases of emergency, your generator purchase is an important investment that requires much consideration.

At WBPS we can help you with all your generator requirements. From large industrial units to smaller compact machines, we can help assess your needs and work out what will work best for you and your business.

Deciding on the right phase generator for your application is one of the first areas to consider. Depending on the generator make and model that you choose, your generator may produce single phase or 3-phase power, with each phase providing power in different ways. Whilst both phases are effective generators of electricity, their load distributions and power volumes are vastly different.

Single phase power is generated when a single AC wave is used, with a three-phase generator providing three voltage sources from the same alternator. With both phases providing practical, essential power, they have marked different uses.

Let’s take a look at each in turn and when best they might be used.

Single-Phase Generators

In a single-phase generator, the flow of electricity is directed through two wires (phase and neutral), with the power produced by a single voltage that continuously alternates. It is through this alternating or oscillating wave that power reaches its peak output and the maximum amount of power is generated. After this, a single-phase generator returns to a low output.

It can be difficult to produce larger volumes of power from a single-phase generator, as the wave constantly rises to a peak and then dips back down.

A single-phase generator is an ideal choice when electricity requirement is low. They are a great choice for residential use and lower-powered applications, producing around 120/240V. Not typically used for commercial or industrial applications, they lend themselves to smaller appliances and residential use.

Where are single phase generators used?

With single-phase generators suited to smaller, residential applications, industrial loads and power-heavy machinery will require a three-phase generator that offers a higher voltage output. Whilst a single-phase generator produces less power, it is a lot more adaptable to a variety of smaller applications.

Whilst much cheaper to purchase than a three-phase generator, they can often come with higher maintenance costs. As it uses only one conductor, compared to three in the three-phase version, the risk of failure or the generator shutting down is also increased.

High in adaptability, the single-phase generator is an accessible unit that is often easy to source. With many advantages for its use, including its smaller size, simpler operation and lighter build, the single-phase generator is also prone to voltage fluctuations.

Voltage fluctuations can be caused be a range of factors, including load demand, unidentified faults within the machine as well as other external issues. Voltage disturbances can also affect the quality of the power and more significantly its efficiency.

Producing large amounts of power is more difficult with a single-phase generator because the wave is constantly dipping back down. However, the opposite is true of three-phase generators. With this type of generator producing three alternating currents of different phases, they lend themselves to more demanding applications.

Three-Phase Generators

In either a single or three-phase generator, it is the conductor wires that allows the different units to produce vastly different power outputs. With a three-phase generator, three separate conductors are used to transmit energy, offering that extra power and suitability for larger industrial applications.

More expensive than a single-phase generator, a three-phase version also transmits a regular steady output. With its use of three active wires and a neutral wire it can supply up to 415 volts, sharing the load across the three live wires.

Ideally suited for more demanding electrical power, a three-phase generator is the unit of choice for industrial and commercial settings and places such as hospitals, data centres and those relying on a higher constant power supply.

The Benefits of a Three Phase Generator

A three-phase generator can provide 1.5 times more power than that of a single-phase generator, demonstrating its suitability for the industrial and commercial sectors. Whilst they are more expensive than a single-phase version, they are more dependable and durable for those more demanding applications.

Designed to handle much more power, the three-phase generator provides a regular and steady output unlike the single-phase unit. It also has a longer lifespan, providing that extra assurance for the more critically based power requirements. Whilst heavier and more challenging to repair should it develop a fault, they are generally more efficient, powering the most demanding of equipment with complete ease.

Single and Three-Phase Generators at WBPS

At WBPS, we have single-phase and three-phase generators for both hire and for sale. Whatever your power requirements, you can be sure we have an option to suit your needs.

With so many factors to consider when choosing the right generator, in trusting us to help you with all your generator requirements, you really are in the best of hands. Our experience in working with critical power is unrivalled, providing an all-in-one infrastructure that utilises 40 years of experience and knowledge.

To find out more about the best type of generator for your home, business or organisation, including all the services available to support your generator installation project, such as repairs and upgrades, speak to one of our expert engineers today.  We’d be more than happy to help!

Distribution Network Operators

For organisations or businesses requiring more power, the first point of contact is your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). They should be able to assess whether additional power can be supplied and at what cost.

If the DNO are unable to provide the additional power, or if the cost associated with providing the extra power needed is more than commercially viable, then a Peak Lopping generator may provide the ideal supporting power solution.

WBPS Peak Lopping Generators

At WBPS, we will assess all your generator requirements. As well as assessing sites and analysing electrical demand, our team of highly skilled engineers will be able to assess whether a Peak Lopping power solution works for you. With all Peak Lopping application, our engineers will also ensure our generators are G99 compliant.

Not only is Peak Lopping cost-effective and an excellent way to obtain extra power, it is also one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption too.

Specialist Control Capabilities

Our specialist generator fleet for the utilities industry can be configured to offer high levels of additional resilience. Applications include generator to generator load sharing, on-load demand schemes, G99 compliant mains synchronisation and decoupling, peak lopping, dead bus synchronisation and configurable PLC software.

Depending on your specific installation, our team of engineers are on hand to offer advice and expertise for all your generator requirements. For more information about all the services we offer, get in touch with us today to find out more.

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