The Eco-Friendly Advantages of a Natural Gas Powered Standby Generator
Going green isn’t just fashionable; it’s potentially profitable and may help reduce your monthly operating expenses. While diesel generators are the most common systems in use today, that may start to change as companies seek to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting cleaner energy options. As an alternative, natural gas generators are starting to gain significant traction in the market. In fact, the team here at Gen-Tech regularly fields inquiries about these systems. But, before making a decision for your business there are some advantages and basic details you should know and consider.
Is Diesel Dead?
The growing adoption of natural gas generators doesn’t mean diesel generators are on the way out; indeed, far from it. Tier 4 regulatory standards have prompted manufacturers to develop diesel generators with astonishingly low emissions. However, the proliferation of fracking has created significant supplies of natural gas. This means that operating a natural gas generator can be less costly than a diesel counterpart.
Natural gas isn’t pollution-free. In fact, it is methane, and burning natural gas produces sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, and particulate matter. The difference is that it produces fewer of these emissions than diesel generators. Per million BTU, CO2 emissions are roughly 117 lbs., as compared to roughly 160 lbs. for diesel fuels. Consequently, lower emissions translate to looser EPA requirements, which in and of itself can be a considerable advantage.
And there are secondary advantages. Because natural gas is typically piped directly into the generator from a municipal gas line, this means there is much less risk of leaks or spills. It also means there are fewer emissions generated in the transport of the fuel to the end-user.
If you are involved in oil and gas exploration, it’s possible to operate a natural gas generator straight from the wellhead. This can save you considerably and provide a steady supply of free fuel for your generator systems. And, natural gas doesn’t produce odors when burned which means that it won’t negatively affect conditions on the worksite. Plus, natural gas is widely available and prices are relatively stable when compared to other fuel options.
But…the Greener Grass isn’t All Green
Natural gas is far more combustible than diesel. This means there is a significantly greater risk of fire or explosion. And, because most supplies are piped in rather than stored on site, your business can suffer disruptions if there is a disruption to the fuel supply pipeline.
Finally, natural gas isn’t unlimited. If oil and gas production drops, so too does the available supply of natural gas. This can cause operating costs to rise and make your natural gas generator more expensive to operate than a traditional diesel-powered genset.
Do you have questions about natural gas and diesel generators? Contact the generator experts at Gen-Tech at (800) 625-8324 and we will be happy to give you the answers you need to make the best decision for your business.