COP26 has just come to an end, and political parties worldwide are keen to implement new and ever more stringent environmental regulations. This is the latest development in a long-term trend that includes adopting Tier 4 regulatory standards, among others. While businesses around the world grasp and grapple at the terminology used in Glasgow, the fact is that diesel generators are sturdy, reliable, ubiquitous, and quite frankly, irreplaceable by existing power generation alternatives. While there will no doubt be regulatory changes over the horizon, the fact is that diesel generators are here to stay and will remain the leading source of both portable and emergency power generation for the foreseeable future.
Tier 4 regulations are without question the most stringent environmental regulations ever imposed on diesel generator manufacturers and operators. Moreover, the implementation of Tier 4 standards sparked a revolution in diesel engine technology that has made diesel engines more efficient and reliable.
Specifically, advances in pre-chamber and combustion chamber function coupled with precision fuel injection have produced generators boasting unparalleled power and efficiency. Moreover, regulatory fueled developments in additives and diesel fuel chemistry and composition mean that modern diesel fuel contains far less sulfur and other particulates. Coupled with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), these advances translate into significantly reduced emissions and reduced fuel usage.
Finally, modern diesel engines are quieter than ever before. The use of ceramics and other sound dampening materials makes it a breeze for standby generators to comply with rigid sound attenuation requirements.
Change is inevitable, and 20, 30, 50 years from now, the generators in use today will not have the capacity required to meet the future needs of businesses. Not to mention the likelihood of increasingly stringent environmental regulations that will render current systems obsolete.
Thus, it is inevitable that hybrid diesel generators will eventually become the next standard. However, before this can happen, it will be essential for battery technology, natural gas, solar, wind, BioDiesel, and other renewable energy sources to become significantly more reliable and cost-effective. This will not happen in the near future. Moreover, it is unlikely that the nascent systems produced will reach the point where an alternative fuel source can match the current production and energy ratios modern-day diesel generators can offer.
Many years into the future, renewable energy-powered generators will take the lead within both consumer and commercial generator markets. As the saying goes, progress is inevitable. But, for now, the increasingly present risk of grid failures and power outages, the entrenched global political landscape, the widespread infrastructure and availability of diesel fuel, and the high cost of shifting away from diesel engines all point to the continued use of diesel generators for at least another 20 years.
Of course, industrialized nations will be the first to phase out the use of diesel generators. This will likely start in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. However, once that starts, it means that it will take many more decades for the phase out process to take hold in Africa, Asia, South America, and other less developed regions; there simply isn’t the political will, financial resources, required technological skill, and infrastructure required to make an effective transition.
Are you wondering what the future of diesel engine technology has in store? Contact the experts at Central Power Systems & Services at (816) 781-8070 to speak with our team and discover the developments we see coming over the horizon.