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Diesel Electrical Power Plant Advantages Disadvantages

Updated on January 2, 2014

Diesel electrical power plant is one in which a diesel engine is used as prime mover for the generation of electricity. The diesel engine obtains energy from a liquid fuel usually called the diesel engine and converts it into mechanical energy. An alternator or a dc generator mechanically coupled to the diesel engine converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy.

The main difference between a diesel engine and a steam turbine is that in the case of diesel engine chemical energy of combustion is released inside the cylinder whereas in the case of steam turbine plant, the energy developed during the combustion of fuel is first transformed into the steam which in turn develops mechanical power in the turbine

Diesel power plants are installed where the supply of coal and water is not available in sufficient quantities or in places where power is to be generated in smaller quantities. Diesel engine driven generators may be installed in medium size installations to either supply the peak load during small duration or for seasonal loads. Mobile diesel power plants are employed for the use in emergency and for temporary purposes. These plants can be used in remote places to supply the power where grid supply is unavailable.

Some of the merits and demerits of diesel engine plant are listed below:

Advantages or Merits of Diesel Power Plants

  • The design and installation of diesel power plants are very simple
  • These plants can be located at any place any occupy lesser space. Requires less space for fuel storage and are free from ash handling problems unlike thermal plants. Diesel plants occupy lesser space because of the minimum auxiliaries
  • Diesel plants can be quickly procured, installed and commissioned
  • Diesel plants can respond to varying loads without any difficulty
  • Diesel plants have no standby losses
  • The quantity of the water required for these plants for cooling are limited
  • Diesel plants can be started from cold condition and can take up the load very quickly. Diesel plants are mostly used for peak load condition in the power system
  • These plants maintains higher operational efficiency irrespective of the load
  • Diesel plants have the overall capital cost including installation per unit of the installed capacity is lesser than that of steam power plants
  • The efficiency of the diesel power plants falls off very little with the usage in comparison with the steam power plants
  • In diesel plants, variety of fuels such as residual fuel oil, low sulphur heavy stock etc can be used
  • These plants being simpler in operation requires less operating and supervising staff as compared to that of steam power plants

Disadvantages or demerits of Diesel Power Plants:

Some of the disadvantages of diesel power plants are:

  • Operating cost due to high cost of diesel oil as fuel is very high
  • Maintenance and lubrication cost is also high as compared in the case of other plants
  • Diesel plants cannot able to supply overloads. On the other hand steam power plants can work under 25% overload continuously for some duration
  • Diesel units capacity is limited. These cannot be constructed in large sizes
  • Noise from the exhaust is a serious problem
  • The diesel power plant life time is very limited (approximately around 10 years)


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    • profile image


      4 years ago


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      can u let me know that where should be shunt capacitors installed to improve power factor ??

      is it in all generation, transmission and distribution???


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