Looking for advice on datacenter electrical/generator

Robert Boyle robert at tellurian.com
Sat Apr 5 01:47:06 UTC 2003

At 05:01 PM 4/4/2003 -0800, Bill Woodcock <woody at pch.net> wrote:
> > 4) In larger sizes, Diesel gensets are _cheap_.
>The only difference between the diesel and gas genset is the carburetor,
>which is just different, not more expensive.

Not entirely accurate. Since has low volumetric energy density compared to 
diesel, NG/Propane gensets are basically de-rated diesel gensets. A 150KW 
diesel would be approximately 100KW as a NG and slightly less than that 
when running on propane.

There is an interesting research/marketing paper from Onan/Cummings on 
current and emerging power generation methods including diesel, ng, 
propane, hydrogen, turbines, reciprocating engines, microturbines, and fuel 


When I was evaluating gensets for our datacenter, I found a really 
interesting unit which uses propane and/or natural gas mixed with the air 
to extend the runtime by adding significant BTUs from the gas. However, it 
can run directly on diesel alone should the gas supply be interrupted for 
some reason. Very neat technology and obvious after the fact, but much more 

We opted for a standard diesel genset since it is reliable and proven. The 
last thing I wanted was unknowns in a energy source I need to depend on 
when everything else goes to hell.


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