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Why Diesel Generators are Better than Petrol Generators

Diesel Vs Petrol Generators: Which Is Better?

Whether you want to power your industrial equipment, your boat, an outdoor project or a home, a generator can give you the power you need when you need it. But which type of generator is better? Do petrol generators live up to the hype? Or are diesel generators a better choice?

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Fuel efficiency matters

While diesel prices in Australia fluctuate and can often be similar in cost to petrol, diesel generators are actually more fuel efficient – often burning up to half as much fuel over any given time than their petrol counterparts.

Utility operations like power plants tend to choose diesel to power their standby generators – and for good reason:

  • Petrol is more flammable than diesel, making diesel a safer alternative.
  • They run well in high ambient temperatures.
  • Deliver on-demand power for heavy start/stop loads.
  • Diesel has a longer shelf life than petrol.
  • Most vehicles use petrol, making diesel more obtainable in emergency situations.
  • Diesel generators need less maintenance than petrol engines – extending their longevity.
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How does a diesel generator work?

Diesel generators work by generating alternating current (AC) electricity. First, the diesel engine converts chemical energy in the fuel into rotating mechanical energy. This energy is then used by the AC alternator to generate electricity. This electricity can be used either for prime power (such as powering a home in a remote area) or for backup in an emergency situation.

The way diesel engines work means they need less maintenance than petrol engines because they have no spark plugs or carburettors to maintain and replace. A 1,800 RPM water-cooled diesel engine, for example, can run for up to 30,000 hours without needing any maintenance. A comparative petrol engine will run at 6,000 to 10,000 before needing maintenance. 

Yanmar Generator YDG5500 on location 2

Which diesel generator is the best?

There are two types of diesel generators: single-phase and three-phase.

Single-phase generators are well suited to smaller business, equipment or household use, whereas three-phase generators are better for longer-term or more heavy-duty use. Three-phase generators are often found on all types of construction sites, in mining and industrial settings, as well as in manufacturing and production facilities.

What are the disadvantages of diesel-powered generators?

Just like any type of generator, there are always a few drawbacks. For example, some diesel generators can be noisy – especially older models. Contemporary models, however, run as quietly as gas engines – sometimes even quieter! If you’re looking for a high-quality industrial generator that doesn’t require earplugs, check out the new Yanmar YH Series three-phase diesel generator. It’s powerful, transportable and available as a silent or open type.

Diesel generators can also be more expensive to repair as they’re made from large, heavy components. This cost can often be mitigated by lower maintenance requirements (due to cooler running temperatures preventing corrosion) and superior fuel efficiency.

Looking for a marine diesel generator? Browse the range.

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How long can a diesel generator run continuously?

Depending on the make and model of your diesel generator, most manufacturers recommend that you run your generator for no more than 500 hours continuously, which equates to around three weeks. Of course, some people risk it and run their generator for longer, but this can cause permanent damage. 

Power Equipment can help

Still not sure what kind of generator will best suit your needs? Power Equipment has a reputation for being a high-quality, trusted supplier of marine and industrial engines and generators. Through our extensive dealer and branch network, we can assure customers the satisfaction they deserve, whatever their needs.

Find out more about Power Equipment and our extensive range of marine and industrial power options.