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Natural Gas vs Diesel Fuel Backup Generator for Data Centre

Discussion in Server Room & Data Center Design Best Practices started by Karbonphiber , 5/28/2008 3:47 AM
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Natural Gas vs Diesel Fuel Backup Generator for Data Centre

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  • J.P.


    I hope this thread is still being monitored. I have a question in regard to the Diesel part of this topic. Our facility has a storage capacity of 10k gals. of fuel. With the new fuel blends how long before there is
    any kind of bacterial growth (algae), does it need treated and if so what are the options? Or whom can I contact outside of my supplier??

    That is something Gas has over fuel... treatment while stored...


  • Tech_Tuff

    I've done both. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Diesel requires fuel storage tanks, fuel maintenance, and is transported in by truck. That can be a problem in an ice storm that lasts 6 days, taking power lines down and stopping traffic. However, with gaseous gen sets, the pressure from the source is critical for proper operation, you share that pressure/flow with everyone else on the block and building, and gas is the first thing they cut off when there's a fire, flood, earthquake, etc in the area. Be careful when your engineering firm puts the gas lines downstream of the building boilers to save pipe costs.

    The decision of gaseous vs diesel really depends on your application, installation location, local code authorities, budget constraints, and runtime requirement. For the most part, the diesel limitations and compromises can be overcome with additional engineering, installation, and processes/contracts.

    If I had to answer in one word: Diesel

    Cummins has some good reading on this subject.
    Chapter 2 has a good review of things to consider for fuel supply considerations diesel vs gas

    Application manual Cummins Liquid cooled generator sets, PRELIMINARY DESIGN: Chapter 2

    Application manual Cummins Liquid cooled generator sets, FUEL SUPPLY: Chapter 6

  • karbonphiber

    you may want to look into purchasing a fuel polishing system. Check out ESI fuel management:

  • DennisStrieter

    I read the topic of this thread and thought that I'd be able to pop in and discuss the merits of diesel versus natural gas and I find that TechTuff shares my thoughts exactly.

    In my opinion, natural gas is not an "uninterruptible supply" of fuel. Many times, a power outage is caused in an area because of local construction cutting through/near power lines. Guess what commonly shares right-of-way underground w/ the power....

    Of course, you could build an onsite storage tank for the gas, but most companies are not comfortable storing a "bomb" on their campus.

    I'd look at diesel and a good contract with a couple of fuel suppliers to keep the tanks full.

  • plangfor

    I've had both power data centers.

    Being in Canada, where it tends to get a tad chilly in the winter, Natural Gas is a high priority service. Gas service is restored faster than electricity here.

    We use a large Natural Gas generator. We don't have issues with storing large quantities of deisel, don't have to worry on getting trucks to deliver the stuff. The generator runs cleaner with Natural gas.

  • e7e5

    I think that Natural Gas Gensets are Green products.
    Also, I would consider liquefied natural gas sources to provide energy to DataCenter. At list the power backup is a kind of mixture of Gas & Diesel to get Green Data Center.

  • karbonphiber

    Opinons/experiences with natural gas vs diesel fuel backup genset for Data Centre. Which one is better?

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