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9/15/2017 Diesel Generator- Power Factor and Efficiency | Zenatix

Diesel Generator- Power Factor And

Ef ciency
April 9, 2015

Description of Nameplate-
The nameplate installed on a DG reads it KVA rating, KW,maximum current and power
factor among other parameters. Our focus here is onlyon power factor and its effect on
output KW. Most of DG manufacturers mention0.8 as rated power factor of DG. But
itdoesn’t mean that DG must be operated at 0.8 power factor at all the time, ratherit is
the minimum limit on power factor of the load which can be served by it without
affecting its performance in the long run. [1]
Also, as a DG cannot absorb LOGIN
Applications Knowledge Media Case Studies About

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energy the power factor must stay in lagging region. So the power factor has to be kept
between 0.8 and 1.0.

Consider the alternator capability curve below for referring to safe operational limits
on DG.[2]

The green part is the region ideal for the DG to operate; it is the window of 0.8 to 1.0
power factor. The yellow region represents the working conditions where DG will run
on low ef ciency but with no damaging effects. And the red area represents the load
operation which will have damaging effects on the DG.

Even within the power factor window of 0.8 to 1.0, the ef ciency of the diesel
generator varies which is analyzed next.

Understanding the impact of power factor on DG-

All diesel generators have a rated KVA and a nameplate power factor. For a diesel
generator of 500KVA and 0.8 power factor, the active power capacity is limited by
400KW. Applications
Also, the reactive power thatMedia
Knowledge can be supplied by it isAbout
Case Studies 300KVAr. LOGIN
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compare the ef ciency at 0.8 and 1 power factor, consider exact same active load on
the output sides of two diesel generators.

Consider two DGs of 500KVA, with DG1 supplying an active load of 400KW on 0.8
power factor and DG2 supplying 400KW on 1.0 power factor. The output will be
500KVA on DG1 and 400KVA on DG2. With constant single phase voltage of 240 volts
at the terminal, the current owing in the two DGs will be-

I1= 500000/ 240= 2083 amperes (also the maximum current limit)

I2= 400000/240= 1666 amperes

I1-I2= 417 amperes

As copper losses inside the alternator part of the DG are directly proportional to the
square of the current owing, the ef ciency reduces at lower power factor.

As the losses of the alternator increases by decreasing the power factor, the engine
part of the DG will have to produce more active power and so it will consume more
diesel. [3]

Refer to the image below for the effect of power factor on DG’s ef ciency, which is
published by a leading manufacturer of diesel generator in India.[4]

Also for power factor of 0.8 to 1.0, it is important to understand the role of automatic
voltage control relay (AVR). AVR is responsible for maintaining the output voltage of
the DG, for lower power factors, by producing higher excitation current to keep the
voltage within acceptable limits. To compensate for extra current losses, generator will
have to produce more KW at 0.8 pf than at 1.0 pf. But as it goes to leading pf region,
current has to be induced in the magnetic coil for compensation. However this induced
current has a limit and thus DG cannot supply a load of power factor more than 0.97
leading. [2]Applications
After this limit, Knowledge Media
AVR gets cut off and DGCase Studies
will be About
tripped on over-voltage.

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As diesel generators do not handle the leading power factor loads very well, it is to be
made sure that the load applied to them does not cross 1.0 power factor.

Considering the effects of current losses and risk involved with going into leading
power factor region, it is advised to maintain the power factor from 0.95 to 0.97. [5]

Effects of Single phase non-linear loads-

The true power factor of an electrical distribution system is a multiple of two
contributing factors, displacement power factor and distortion power factor.
Displacement power factor is angular displacement between current and voltage
waveforms; caused by inductive or capacitive loads. Distortion power factor arises due
to harmonics present in the system and this cannot be compensated by adding shunt

In an of ce space most of the loads consists of computers or laptops which are single
phase non-linear loads. In such conditions, level of distortion in current is very high.
Typical values of displacement and distortion power factor for a computer are 0.99 and
0.6.[6] When connected to the grid, the effect is minimized due its rigidity but if a DG is
supplying to such a load, adding shunt capacitors will make DG to absorb reactive
energy. Which will make it trip, giving the impression of over load operation.

Adding capacitors as lters under such situation will reduce the distortion of the
current waveform and will improve the power factor. Following table can be referred
for relationship between current harmonics distortion and power factor which can be
attained using shunt capacitors.[6]
At Zenatix, we collect both power factor and KVA delivered by the DG on continuous
basis. Also with the help of advanced metering devices, current harmonics can be
measured and used to draw the right compensation measure. By the analysis provided
by Zenatix, a client can keep a check on DG’s operational parameters and draw power
at maximum ef ciency without affecting its performance in the long term. As a unit of
power produced by DG costs 15-20 rupees with a typical ef ciency of 30-35%,
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improving the ef ciency of alternator will result in signi cant reduction in diesel
consumption per unit produced.

Case Study-
Below is the plot of data collected from two of Zenatix’s customers.
By the plot, it can be inferred that power factor of client-2 can be improved for
obtaining better performance from diesel generator. According to Fig.2, an
improvement of power factor from 0.87 to 0.96 will result in improvement of ef ciency
by 0.5% at 60% loading.

Figures Detail-
1. Alternator adaptability curve for DG under leading and lagging load.

2. Effect of power factor on the ef ciency of diesel generator.

3. Power factor plot of 2 DG’s at Zenatix’s Customer side.


2 Power topic #6001 | Technical information from Cummins Power Generation

3 eepublishers(GT_01_cummmins_impact-of.pdf)

4 Power topic #6004 | Technical information from Cummins Power Generation

5 http://www.energymeasuretosave.com/

6 Harmonics and how they relate to power factor- by W.Mack Grady, The university of
Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712 AND Robert J.Gilleskie, San Diego Gas & Electric ,
San Diego, Knowledge
California, 92123 Media Case Studies About LOGIN

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