In the recent years, the power interruption or power outage is the most common issue due to the heavy use of electricity. The demand of electricity consumption is going on increasing from charging your phones to driving electric cars everything works with electricity and to generate it the sources are limited. In some countries, electricity is supplied for just 3 to 4 hours a day during summer as they are unable to meet the energy demands. The power cut for few hours can cause damages up to some billions of dollars. A study states that in USA even short power cuts cause an economic loss of $164 billions/year. To cope up from these issues a backup power source is required and thus Generator’s came into existence. But how does a generator work…
Generator is a machine which produces electricity by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. This principle of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy was first discovered by Michael Faraday during 1831-1832 and later named as Faraday’s Law. These are widely used as backup power source for homes, factories, offices, hospitals, etc when the main power goes out. Before getting into generator’s let us free our mind with questions like what is electricity, how does electricity work, where does electricity come from???
How does a generator work?
Generator works on a very basic principle. Take a loop of copper wire and a magnet. Place the loop of wire in between the poles of a magnet and rotate the wire. That’s it; the rotating wire in the invisible magnetic field which is produced by the magnet creates electricity. This principle is called electromagnetic induction. To measure the amounts of electricity produced attach the two ends of the wire to an ammeter (a device to measure current). Movement of the wire decides the flow of current, moving the wire in the clockwise direction allows the current to flow in clockwise and vice-versa.
In order to create some huge amperes of electricity, giant magnets and loop of wires are used. It is not so simple to rotate those wires or magnets instead an external energy is used to rotate. A fan is attached to the wires as an example in the image. To rotate the fan, natural sources like wind, water, etc are used. This explains the definition of a generator, mechanical energy (fan in this context) converts to electrical energy (a bulb or ammeter to measure it).
Components of a generator
The main components of a generator are
The engine is used to create mechanical energy which in turn converted into electricity. Depending upon the fuel, the engines are designed and to supply maximum electrical current.
In this alternator instead of rotating coil to produce electricity the magnetic field is rotated. The two main components of alternator are rotor and the stator. Rotor produces a rotating magnetic flux and stator is stationary containing a set of coils which conducts electricity.
- Fuel system:
Generator fuel system stores and pumps the fuel to the engine. It stores the required amount of fuel to power a generator for some hours. The fuel pipe is connected from fuel tank to the engine to move the fuel from tank to the engine by using a fuel pump. Filters are used to remove waste from the fuel and an injector is used which atomizes the fuel and inject it into the combustion chamber.
- Voltage Regulator:
To regulate the voltage produced by alternator this part is used. In either way it supplies constant current required for practical use.
- Cooling and Exhaust systems:The components of generator while in use gets heated up and there must be a system to cool those components. Generator use fan, coolant and sometimes both to cool the temperature of the generator while in use.
- Lubrication system:As generators use mechanical energy and contain many moving parts. For smooth functioning of these parts lubrication system keeps those components well oiled.
Types of generators
There are variety of generator now in the market from residential to commercial depending on your requirement. Some are listed below
Portable Recreational Generators:
The fuel used in these generators is gasoline and are super quiet.
Portable Residential Generators:
Runs on gasoline and are perfect for residential use. When power goes out these is the best option to power refrigerators, freezers, pumps, electrical tools, etc.
Portable Construction and Industrial Generators:
These are heavy generators which can be used to power up the whole organization or industry. These are available in single phase gasoline and three phase diesel.
Mobile Towable Generators:
These generators run on diesel. They provide mobility of power for many industrial and Construction applications.
Mostly used in home and business. They starts operating automatically when the power goes out.
These generators are paired with tractor for portable power such as drilling the roads, cultivating, etc.
Hope you like the article. Post your valuable comments if you have any doubts or appreciation.