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Equipment | December 2011

Power management....and the role of gensets and inverters

In view of the peak power shortage of around 14,000 MW, gensets and inverters can assist in terms of power management.

Diesel generators (DGs or gensets) are invaluable in many regions across the country as a backup power source. In the event of blackouts, their diesel engines take over and supply the power that was stored earlier till power gets restored. Many firms these days, in view of the recent thrust on renewables, are resorting to generators that harness wind or solar power. Other added advantages are reduction in the carbon footprint in view of the emission and noise pollution from conventional gensets. Even in the US, certain rural areas employ gensets where fallen trees and high winds can disrupt power supply.

The industry in India has more than 200 companies and it is expected to grow at about 12- 13 per cent up to 2011. Local Indian manufacturers are competent enough to produce AC generators from the range of 0.5 kVA to 25,000 kVA and diesel generators range from 7.5 kVA to 2,200 kVA.

Another quite recent phenomenon is the entry of some DG manufacturers in the market for rentals in view of the high demand scenario. But this is at a nascent stage.

The latest trend though is more in terms of latest technologies and a greater use of dual-fuel engines and sets that run on solar and wind solutions.

Similarly, in the event of power failure, an inverter converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Based on the type of wave output there are three types of inverters such as square wave, quasi square wave or modified square wave inverters and true or pure sine wave inverters. The three wave signals represent three different qualities of power output. Square wave inverters, which are now obsolete, result in uneven power delivery. Modified square (sine) wave inverters deliver power that is quite efficient but pure sine wave inverters are most popular, and also higher priced, but they are ideal for backing up critical medical equipment. The inverter industry is seeing a growth rate of about 25 per cent.

The demand for both gensets and inverters is on the rise but the trend towards a greater use of renewables is a move in the right direction.
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