Are Natural Gas Generators Worth It? Brief Guide
Let’s read Are Natural Gas Generators Worth It? The likelihood that you’ll lose power to your home is rising as the weather grows more extreme with hotter summers, colder winters, and more intense storms.
It’s hardly surprising that sales of home generators have been rising consistently over the past few years, given how reliant we are on power to keep our food fresh, our homes heated and cooled, and even to work.
But there are many things to consider before buying a whole-house generator. This article will cover the advantages and disadvantages of installing a home generator, how generators operate, and the cost.
Are Natural Gas Generators Worth It?
A generator type known as a natural gas generator runs on natural gas instead of the more common fuel options of gasoline or diesel. In the United States, natural gas generators made up the most significant portion of total generation capacity (43%) as of 2019.
Natural gas generators are more affordable, easier to operate, and environmentally friendly than fossil fuel-powered generators. They will only be ideal for some applications because they are less adaptable than other generator kinds.
Continue reading to learn more about the many kinds of natural gas generators, how to determine the size you require, and other topics.
Advantages Of Natural Gas Generators
Ease Of Use
The Environmental Protection Agency and other municipal agencies do not hold natural gas generators to the same high criteria as other generators because they emit fewer emissions. This ought to make obtaining a license to operate one simpler.
Additionally, it enables them to function as non-emergency generators, which enables the use of them for cost-cutting initiatives like peak shaving. Because the emissions rules for non-emergency generators are stricter and many diesel gensets can’t meet the environmental criteria, diesel generators might need help to accomplish this.
Additionally, natural gas generators are quieter when operating than diesel or gas generators. Like those generator types, they don’t emit any offensive odors either.
When a structure owner is faced with confined or constrained spaces or locations where regular fuel delivery is challenging, like a rooftop, natural gas generators are frequently the only viable option. Since no storage tanks are necessary, even less room is needed, and there is no risk of fuel spills or expensive cleanup.
The award for the cleanest-burning fossil fuel goes to natural gas. It generates half as much sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury (Hg), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter when used to generate electricity, as well as up to 90% fewer pollutants when compared to diesel generators.
Additionally, by capturing and utilizing field gas, natural gas plants can lessen the adverse environmental effects of hazardous emissions. This gas is created at wellheads during drilling operations and is usually flared, destroying hundreds of billions of cubic feet of gas annually.
The demand for power generation, which would come from diesel generators, can be decreased by using specially equipped natural gas generators to convert the raw gas into electricity for power structures and machinery on drilling sites.
The following calculations could be used to illustrate how much cheaper it is to fuel a natural gas generator as opposed to a diesel generator:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration calculates that a gallon of diesel, which costs, on average, roughly $3 nationwide, contains 137,381 Btus. Therefore, it would take nearly 7.5 gallons of fuel, or around $22, to produce 1 million Btu.
One cubic foot of natural gas has 1,036 Btus and is priced at $.01286. (as delivered to residential consumers). You would require 965 cubic feet to reach 1 million Btus, which would cost $12.41, or a little under half as much as diesel.
Natural gas generators generally need more maintenance over the long haul than diesel gensets. They can be expensive to buy and install, especially if additional gas lines need to be run. However, because natural gas is so inexpensive, they are priced competitively with diesel in the long run.
In 2018, the United States produced an all-time high of 101.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Despite reaching a new record high the year before, production increased the most year over year. More than 200 pipelines totaling more than 300,000 miles are used to transport this gas.
What does all of that capability mean? Dependability, in a single word. Natural gas generator owners can relax knowing they will always have the fuel they need to generate electricity in an emergency. Utility lines can transport it; there is no need to store it.
Additionally, it is very robust. According to research by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, from 2005 to 2015, there were only three significant natural gas outages year on average, as opposed to 12, for instance, 12 disruptions on the national power grid in 2015. Since they are buried, gas lines are far less likely to be damaged by natural catastrophes than above-ground services.
The American electricity grid is getting older, and many experts are expressing concern about its susceptibility to attack or even breakdown. During such times, gasoline, diesel, and propane supplies might run out very quickly. A wise defense against such occurrences is on-site electric power generation, and natural gas is the fuel that can be obtained the most conveniently.
Natural Gas Generators Vs Diesel
As previously said, diesel generators are a natural gas standby generator’s main competition. Let’s contrast the two to discover what benefits and drawbacks you might expect from each:
- Storage: Diesel only lasts 24 months and is expensive to store in huge quantities. Generators powered by natural gas can be refilled. Natural gas has advantages.
- Costs: While installing a natural gas system is more expensive than buying a natural gas unit, natural gas is also the less expensive fuel. Additionally, diesel generators often have longer lifespans, require less maintenance, and have lower lifetime operating costs. (Slight) Benefit: Natural gas
- Safety: A ruptured natural gas line is highly explosive, although diesel is the least flammable fuel for generators. Benefit: diesel
- Both types start quickly in cold weather, although diesel generators struggle in damp conditions. The phrase “wet stacking,” which refers to unburned gasoline entering the exhaust system due to the engine operating below its intended operating temperature for a lengthy period, is also applicable to diesel generators. Natural gas generators are not affected by this problem. Natural gas has advantages.
- Efficiency: While diesel generators are still more effective and provide more usable power than a comparable amount of natural gas, natural gas generators burn cleanly and produce very little waste. Benefit: diesel
- Environmental friendliness: Diesel exhaust is a well-known, harmful air pollutant, whereas natural gas turbines do release carbon dioxide. Generators powered by natural gas also emit less noise. Learn why using natural gas generators is environmentally friendly. Natural gas has advantages.
You must first respond to two crucial questions before deciding between diesel and natural gas generators: What will be the primary function of your generator? Are Natural Gas Generators Worth It? While diesel and natural gas generators have benefits and drawbacks, introducing biodiesel, which is far more environmentally benign, might make diesel/biodiesel generators more well-liked.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will a generator run on natural gas?
The lifespan of a standby natural gas generator is equivalent to that of a diesel. Standby generators typically last 25 to 30 years. Engine life for non-standby applications depends on run times, maintenance intervals, and installation quality.
Which generator, a diesel or a natural gas one, is better?
Diesel generators have a more increased upfront cost than natural gas generators, which are more cost-effective but necessitate more maintenance; this lowers your power system maintenance expenses. As a result, the heavy-duty generator becomes more durable and dependable.
Gas generators: Are they worth it?
Generally speaking, purchasing a standby generator provides more advantages. Improved convenience, efficiency, and safety are all benefits of a home backup generator. If you own a home and frequently go away for several hours at a period, it also saves you money over time.
How much natural gas are generators using?
You should expect to pay between $0.02 and $2.41 per hour (for a generator rated at 1,000 W at 25% load and 30,000 W at 100% load, respectively) to run a generator on natural gas. Natural gas will be used in the range of 1.86 to 222.90 ft3 per hour.
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