Posted on: September 28, 2018 2:57 pm
When designing generator systems, electrical engineers must ensure that generators and the building electrical systems that they support are appropriate for the specific application. Whether providing standby power for health care facilities or prime power for processing plants, engineers must make decisions regarding generator sizing, load types, whether generators should be paralleled, fuel storage, switching scenarios, and many other criteria.
By Leslie Fernandez, PE, LEED AP, JBA Consulting Engineers, Las Vegas – 12/09/2016
Expertise in generator power design for emergency, legally required standby, and business critical loads is an essential skill for an electrical engineer to master. When designing generator systems, electrical engineers must ensure that the generators and the building electrical systems can support the critical loads reliably and effectively. Building codes will dictate the prescriptive requirements for these systems.
For business critical loads, the owner or client must be consulted to identify the non-emergency loads that require backup power. When the business needs outlined by the client require increased reliability, a paralleled diesel-generating system and electrical paralleling switchgear (PSG) typically are employed.
This article examines standby systems in which generators serve as backup to the main utility source, such as those commonly installed in airports, data centers, hospitality complexes, water-treatment facilities, and in most life safety institutional applications.
The Need For Backup Power
Interruptions of electrical power, even for a short duration, can introduce the potential for situations that could imperil public health and safety. Extreme weather-related disasters often disrupt power to hundreds or thousands of people and businesses, potentially for days. When these situations occur, they call attention to the vulnerability of the nation’s electrical grid and the importance of alternatives.
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