July 6, 2018

What is a Genset & What Is It Used For?

At its simplest, a generator set or “genset” is a piece of portable equipment, consisting of an engine and an alternator/electric generator, used to provide energy. Gensets are often used in developing areas and other areas not connected to the power grid; places where power outages are frequent; and/or where an outage can cause especially significant or dangerous problems, such as deep in a mine. They can serve as the main source of energy or as a supplementary power source, perhaps during peak usage hours.

APR Energy offers one of the largest fleets in the world of these mobile containerized generators. Here is a more in-depth look at them.

How Does a Genset Work?

A genset is a combination of a prime mover, (typically an engine), and an alternator.  An engine converts the chemical energy of a fuel to mechanical energy.  That mechanical energy is used to spin the alternator rotor; converting mechanical energy to electrical energy.  An alternator is made of two main parts; a rotor and stator.  Spinning the alternator rotor through the magnetic field between the rotor and stator creates a voltage on the alternator stator, through the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction.   When the voltage on the stator is connected to a load, electrical current flows, and the generator produces power.

In sum, the genset creates portable sources of energy. When the generator is used in conjunction with a diesel engine, as just one example, this creates a diesel genset.

Additional Elements of a Genset

A genset is usually housed in a sound attenuated enclosure to reduce noise to the surrounding areas, and is typically made of steel or stainless steel, or aluminum. This cabin must be able to withstand corrosion and effectively manage the engine cooling process. The baseframe contains an anti-vibration system; it may also contain the fuel tank or the tank may be separate. Other elements include a control panel and an automatic transfer switch in case energy needs to be alternated between the main source and an auxiliary one.

Benefits of a Genset

Benefits of a well-built, industrial-quality genset are numerous, including:

  • Reliability
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Scalable design
  • Robust construction
  • Automatic or manual paralleling
  • Automatic loading control
  • Local or remote operation
  • Low emissions

Here are more specifics. When you choose a genset module from APR Energy, you can count on diesel- and gas-powered modules that use the latest in reciprocating engine technology with superior efficiency and significant fuel savings, plus improved frequency and voltage stability. Our gensets are easily transportable by land, sea or air, housed within a standard ISO 12.2m (40 foot) container. To ensure rapid installation and commissioning globally, our package design has minimal interfaces. These units can be combined into scalable 5.5 MW blocks and can facilitate rapid installation up to 300 MW or more.

Additional benefits of gensets by APR Energy include:

  • Our modules support a broad range of utility/industrial power generation applications
  • These durable and dependable modules are crafted with minimal weight
  • Utility paralleling switchgear allows for automatic or manual paralleling
  • Our modules have an automatic load management system for:
    • Utility base load
    • Soft loading/unloading
    • Power factor or VAR control
    • Voltage support in utility mode
  • Automatic operation can be initiated locally or remotely using a SCADA system
  • These genset modules have ongoing engine data logging that:
      • Serves as an important element of the control system
      • Defines onsite maintenance activity scheduling
      • Offers island-mode parallelling with other power modules
      • Has stand-alone operational capabilities with local or remote starting, power control and synchronizing


Natural Gas Genset Versus Diesel Genset

The APR Energy gas power module is a highly efficient choice, with installation and commission possible in as quickly as 30 days. Specs at 50 Hz include:

  • Continuous power output of 1475 kW
  • Engine speed of 1500 RPM
  • 3-phase voltage: 400V/230V
  • Size: 12.2 x 2.5 x 2.9m (LxWxH)
  • CAT(R) G3516C low-emission gas engine
  • Designed for methane number range of 55-100

This natural gas-powered module provides highly reliable, fuel-efficient energy to support fast-track power with automatic loading control. You can use the energy in multiple ways, continuously in base load or during peak hours only, using automatic or manual paralleling via our utility paralleling switchgear.

This module can support a broad range of power generation applications for industrial and utility usages, even in extreme conditions and/or in remote locations. This system was designed to perform optimally on low-pressure pipeline natural gas, with low emissions. You can find significantly more information about our natural gas genset features and benefits.

The APR Energy diesel power module is also a highly efficient choice, with installation and commission possible in as quickly as 30 days, as well. Specs at 50 Hz include:

  • continuous power output: 1400 kW
  • engine speed: 1500 RPM
  • 3-phase voltage: 400V/230V
  • Size: 12.2 x 2.5 x 2.9m (LxWxH)
  • compact four-stroke-cycle CAT® 3516B turbo-charged diesel engine

Specs at 60 Hz include:

  • continuous power output: 1640 kW
  • engine speed: 1800 RPM
  • 3-phase voltage: 480V/277V
  • Size: 12.2 x 2.5 x 2.9m (LxWxH)
  • compact four-stroke-cycle CAT® 3516B turbo-charged diesel engine

Our diesel gensets come with all the benefits of the gas-powered ones, being fuel-efficient, highly reliable and able to support fast track power for industrial and utility needs in extreme conditions and/or remote locations. Here is more information about our diesel genset features and benefits.

Genset Case Study #1: Interim Power in Myanmar Utility Sector

APR Energy was the first company to provide energy in Myanmar, post-sanctions. This country, the second-largest producer of natural gas in Southeast Asia, had struggled because of a combination of sanctions and a dearth of foreign investment. This led to an underdeveloped infrastructure, along with aging power plants. Seventy-five percent of its population had not had access to electricity and the country’s energy production potential was not being met.

The United States and multiple European Union nations lifted sanctions in 2012 and, in 2014, APR Energy signed a power generation agreement with Myanmar’s government. Within 90 days, we installed one of the country’s largest thermal plants, with 70 percent of the workers sourced locally. This won a Top Plants 2015 award.

Reasons that Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise chose our company for our genset services include our ability to:

  • rapidly design and deploy power plants on a large scale
  • efficiently optimize indigenous resources
  • employ local workers and provide valuable training
  • further the community’s economic development

You can find more information about this natural gas genset case study here.

Genset Case Study #2: Industrial Mining Power in Guatemala

Using diesel gensets, APR Energy provided reliable power for the world’s second-largest silver mine, winning a 2015 Safety Recognition as we provided a scalable solution from development to operation. Challenges we faced included the rural, mountainous region of the mine’s location, along with rigorous environmental and safety requirements as we designed and installed a system to ensure uninterrupted power in a life-dependent situation. Fast-track power solutions were needed for the Escobal mine in Minera San Rafael in part because of right-of-ways challenges.
Reasons that our genset services were chosen included our ability to:

  • initially provide the 2-3 MW that was required for the mine construction
  • scale up output to 15.5 MW of reliable electricity, crucial for miners working underground who needed life-sustaining water-pumping and ventilation systems
  • maintain rigorous standards
  • train workers in occupational health, safety and environmental best practices

Here’s more information about this diesel genset case study.

Genset power needs vary widely based on geographical and industrial needs, among other factors. To talk about your own unique requirements, contact APR Energy online to discuss our genset services or call +1 (904) 223 2278.