Generator Fuel Types & Applications

 

Generators can keep homes and businesses up and running through blackouts and power outages. Choosing the right generator starts with understanding the type of generator fuel that works best for you and your storage options, as well as how you plan to use the machine. This article offers tips that can help you understand the key differences between fuel types and generators, and help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

The fuel source you choose should be affordable and available when you need it. Here are the most common types of fuel for generators.

Natural Gas Generators

These types of generators are connected to existing natural gas fuel lines. Natural gas generators:

  • use fuel that is generally cost-effective and readily available
  • work with the fuel provided through natural gas pipelines
  • offer convenience, since their fuel doesn’t need to be stored on-site
  • are usually unaffected by most power outages, since natural gas lines don’t require electricity
  • might be less energy-efficient per gallon than diesel, gasoline, and propane generators

Propane Generators

With a propane, or liquid petroleum gas, generator you get a system that:

  • uses fuel that is available as liquid propane or vapor propane
  • with smaller units, can operate with the same type of tanks used for grills
  • gives you the option to use larger, stationary storage tanks
  • lets you store its fuel type for long periods of time, since liquid propane does not deteriorate
  • is a good option for people or businesses that don’t use their generators very often
  • burns clean but is less efficient than gasoline and diesel
  • requires its fuel to be stored in a tank separate from the generator

Gasoline Generators

When you purchase a gasoline generator, you will have a machine that:

  • makes use of the most well-known and readily available fuel type
  • uses a fuel that is easy to buy under most circumstances
  • gives you the option to transport fuel in small containers
  • lets you store fuel in air-tight containers, for three to six months or three years with a fuel stabilizer
  • uses a fuel that has a lower flash point temperature than diesel, making it slightly more dangerous to store
  • is often less expensive than other generator types
  • may present difficulties in getting fuel when there are power outages

Biodiesel Generators

Different than petroleum diesel generators, biodiesel generators:

  • operate with a non-petroleum-based fuel
  • use a domestically produced, renewable fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat
  • can use regular diesel, biodiesel alone or be blended with petroleum diesel
  • are increasing in popularity since the 2005 Energy Policy Act passed
  • operate with fuel that tends to get gel-like in very cold temperatures

Dual Fuel Systems

Dual fuel systems let you use multiple fuel types on one generator and:

  • give you the ability to switch between fuels
  • use a single type of fuel at a time
  • usually use natural gas and propane
  • are a great option when fuel availability could be an issue
  • give you the flexibility of using one of two fuels you have on hand

Bi-fuel Generators

While duel fuel systems use two fuels separately, bi-fuel systems mix fuels and:

  • use two types of fuel simultaneously
  • often combine diesel fuel and natural gas
  • allow you to have an independent, on-site fuel source that is augmented with a second fuel source, like natural gas
  • increase the amount of available run time on your on-site fuel source

When you choose your generator, remember that the availability, affordability, and storage of fuel are very important factors. Contact Buckeye Power Sales to help you make a generator decision or to get a quote on a system that meets your specific needs.

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