Reciprocating Engine Generators and Microgrids: The Last Defense Against a Power Outage

White Papers > Campus Microgrids > Reciprocating Engine Generators and Microgrids: The Last Defense Against a Power Outage

Reciprocating engine generators are becoming increasingly important to help solve three contemporary energy problems.

The first problem occurs in developed areas like North America, where electric reliability is crucial as the economy grows ever more Internet-based.

The second problem can be found in remote regions of the world, where no central grid exists, or its service is spotty, hampering basic health, well-being and commerce.

The third problem arises as we attempt to green our electric supply with solar and wind energy. Intermittent by nature- dependent on the sun shining and the wind blowing-renewables often need reliable and sustainable companion technology to keep the electricity flowing. “The Guide to Reciprocating Engine Generators and Microgrids: The Last Defense Against a Power Outage,” explores the growing role that reciprocating engine generators play in solving these three problems.

When all else fails during storms, with power outages everywhere, reciprocating engine generators are the last line of defense.

Their importance has heightened with today’s increasingly severe weather, threats from cyber-terrorism, and equipment failures on aging electrical grids. Yet, the story of reciprocating engines, this mainstay, is seldom told. Newer, flashier technologies capture the public imagination, such as smart grid, advanced analytics and energy storage.

“You may not hear a lot about them in the popular press, but reciprocating engine generators can be found almost everywhere—as backup to sophisticated electrical grids in places like North America and Europe and as primary sources of electricity in remote areas of India, Africa and South America,” said Jeffrey Powell, Product Manager at Fairbanks Morse Engine.

The market is strong for diesel reciprocating engine generators, and it is growing for natural gas and renewable pairings. Contemporary society requires reliable electricity; reciprocating engine generators ensure it. But what exactly is a reciprocating engine generator? We describe how the technology works in this Microgrid Knowledge Special Report on Reciprocating Engine Generators and Microgrids, available for free download

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