Electrical power has now become the main driving force of all our modern day comforts and luxuries. We can’t even imagine a summer day without the comfort of the air conditioners. The cozy living room with a heater running in the chilling winter is now a matter of need. Let alone these luxurious appearing daily comfort, even a fan will not run if the electrical power supply fails due to any of the plethora of possible causes. Load shredding due to overload is the most common cause of power failure from the power grid. The household emergency power back-ups like inverter or micro generator sets are usually not sufficient enough to run each and every appliance present in a house. Even if they can somehow achieve a power backup with full functionality of a home, the cost turns out to be too much. The solution lies in a power back-up for the whole colony or apartment through a Diesel Power Plant.
A diesel power plant, as the name suggests, is an electrical power generator which converts the chemical energy stored in the hydrocarbon, called diesel, into electrical energy. Generally, a diesel power plant has a capacity to produce a power range of 2MW to 50MW. For the backup of this scale, the diesel power plant has the advantage of being silent, portable, and instantaneous starting. Diesel power plants are fit and are usually used, for power back-up in housing apartments, industries, and standby and peak load time in hydroelectric and thermal power plants. Even in ships and other utilities where a mobile source of large power backups are required, diesel power plants are of greatest use.
A diesel power plant is based on the internal combustion diesel engine. The diesel engine drives an electrical power generator to produce a voltage which in turn results in an electrical current. The diesel engine first sucks air, passing through filters, into its combustion chamber. The piston compresses the air inside it by a factor of about 20. This raises the temperature to the ignition point of diesel. Now, the diesel is injected into the combustion chamber. Instantly combustion takes place due to the high temperature. This makes the air inside expand with great force while pushing the piston outward. The piston drives the coupled electrical generator to produce electricity. There is also a cooling system in place where the radiator and the coolant dispose heat from the generator and keeps it cool and safe.
The main component of the diesel power plant is the electrical generator. A diesel engine uses the same electrical generator that is used in harnessing hydroelectric power or thermal power, though the size and capacity may differ. The generator, also called dynamo, works on the basis of the Faradays law of electromagnetic induction. According to Faraday’s law, if a conductor moves in a nonuniform magnetic field, electric potential across the conductor is generated and maintained. In dynamos, a current carrying coil with a large number of turns rotates in a magnetic field generated by the permanent magnet fixed there. Most generators produce ac current.
There have been issues constantly raised against diesel power plants. The most vocal are being the air pollution and noise production by the diesel engine. It is always better to have clean and renewable sources of energy like solar and hydroelectricity. But, as of now, it has not been practically feasible to harness sufficient continuous supply of electricity through these sources. Furthermore, due to the advancement in technology, the noise and air pollution by diesel power plants have reduced to an acceptable level. Considering all the factors, diesel power plants are the best suited large-scale backup solutions available presently.