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Why genset markets will continue to grow As experts expect increasing business in diesel generators, African Review offers a guide to viable application


ccording to research published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market for diesel generator sets is expected to grow from an estimated US$13.06bn in 2015 to US$16.96bn by 2020, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 per cent from 2015 to 2020. The growth will be driven by a consistently increasing requirement for continuous power supply and increasing power outages. Reasons for running generators Continuous and prime power generators act as the main source of power. These will operate continuously or for extended periods of time. There are differences between the two products, however. The main distinction is that continuous power generators operate continually with a consistent load, whereas prime generators can be operated for long durations at variable load. Standby or emergency generators, however, run only in backup situations, when there is a power outage on the main utility grid or the main source of power. Continuous and prime generators are typically used in remote locations where there is no access to the grid to supply electric power in applications such as mining, oil and gas operations, or construction. They are also used when there is limited electric power from the grid. The need for standby or emergency power arises when there is a temporary disruption in the primary power supply. Like any other machinery running continuously for long hours, continuous or prime generators need to be robust enough to handle the heavy power loads supported by them.

cooling will managed with a circulating cooling water in a jacket around the engine, whereby circulating water absorbs heat from the engine and is then cooled by a radiator fitted with a fan. A system will also cool the engine lubricating oil. Larger, industrial generators (above 2,250kW) will feature a cooling tower or some other elaborate cooling systems. Standby generators do not require the elaborate features found in continuous power diesel generators. Since standby power generators are operated for relatively short periods, they can cool naturally when not in operation. Moreover, maintenance on standby sets can be undertaken without disrupting the power supply. Standby power generators do not heat up as much as prime generators do, so these power units also require smaller cooling systems.

Keeping a set cool Typically, prime generators features a large cooling system. Continuous fuel combustion creates enormous amounts of heat, which must be removed by artificial means in order to prevent temperature build-up. Often,

Power variables In the majority of cases, continuously operated generators provide 25-100 per cent of the rated capacity for an unlimited amount of time. Moreover, these units provide only constant output at the rated capacity. For


African Review of Business and Technology - April 2016

New research suggests the global market for diesel generator sets is set to grow

applications in which loads will be entirely dependent on power supply from diesel generators, it is wise to install identical duty and standby generators. Operators will connect these, so that one unit can start automatically if another unit fails to function. The key difference with standby generators is that they offer varying outputs for specific time periods. Such generator sets will be connected with an automatic transfer switch (ATS), in order to start automatically when there is an outage from the main electrical supply. Reasons for buying There is significant value in having a generator available for use when power is unavailable or limited. Whether the generator is merely a backup power supply or a constantly working piece of equipment, the impact on domestic and commercial situations can be transformative. Many in key growth markets such as Nigeria rely on a generator to provide electricity to power the tools they use daily in their trade or profession. ■

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African Review April 2016  

African Review April 2016