Gensets: Backing You Up in Times of Crisis
(Series 3 of 3)

25 April 2024


In the realm of power solutions, generator sets, commonly referred to as gensets, stand as stalwarts of reliability and resilience. As businesses navigate the complexities of modern operations, the need for dependable power sources has never been more crucial.


In this blog, we delve into the world of gensets, uncovering their pivotal role in ensuring uninterrupted power supply in critical situations. As we navigate through an era marked by increasing energy demands and potential grid vulnerabilities, gensets emerge as steadfast guardians, providing essential backup power when traditional sources fail.


Gensets represent the epitome of reliability in the realm of power generation, serving as steadfast guardians of business continuity. These robust systems consist of a formidable duo: an engine and an alternator, working in harmonious synergy to convert mechanical energy into electrical power. Whether fuelled by diesel, renewable HVO, or clean-burning gas, gensets stand ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice, ensuring the lights stay on and critical processes remain operational.


Across various sectors spanning healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, and beyond, gensets play a pivotal role in safeguarding operations against the unpredictability of grid outages and power fluctuations. They stand as silent sentinels, poised to bridge the gap between power supply and demand, offering a reliable lifeline when the grid falters. As industries evolve and embrace technological advancements, gensets remain steadfast pillars of reliability, ensuring continuity in an ever-changing world.


What is a Genset?

A genset, short for generator set, stands as the cornerstone of reliable power generation solutions. Picture it as a compact powerhouse, meticulously engineered to deliver electricity when and where it is needed most. Comprising two essential components—an engine and an alternator—a genset is purpose-built to convert mechanical energy into electrical power with unparalleled efficiency. This self-contained unit is the epitome of reliability, offering businesses and industries a steadfast source of backup power during grid outages or in off-grid locations.


How Does Gensets Work?

Gensets operate on the fundamental principle of electromagnetic induction. At the core of this process is the alternator, propelled into motion by the engine’s mechanical force. As the engine drives the alternator, a magnetic field is generated within a wire coil housed within the alternator’s core. This magnetic field rotates rapidly, inducing an electrical current within the coil through the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction.


The resulting electrical output takes the form of an alternating current (AC), characterised by its oscillating direction of flow. To render this alternating current usable, voltage regulation mechanisms are employed to stabilise the electrical output to meet desired parameters.


Furthermore, distribution panels are utilised to channel the electricity to various loads, ensuring a reliable and consistent power supply to critical systems and equipment. Through this intricate process, gensets seamlessly transform mechanical energy into electrical power, providing a dependable source of backup electricity during grid outages or in remote locations where grid access is limited.


Different Types of Gensets

Diesel Gensets

Engineered for rugged reliability, diesel gensets are the stalwarts of the power generation world. Fuelled by diesel—a tried-and-true energy source—these workhorses are renowned for their robustness, longevity, and exceptional efficiency. Whether providing backup power to hospitals, supporting construction sites in remote locales, or energising industrial facilities, diesel gensets stand ready to deliver dependable performance when it matters most.


Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Gensets

Embracing the principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship, HVO gensets offer a greener alternative to traditional diesel generators. Fuelled by renewable sources such as vegetable oils or animal fats, these eco-friendly powerhouses generate electricity with reduced emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. As businesses prioritise sustainability initiatives, HVO gensets emerge as beacons of clean energy, paving the way towards a greener future.


Gas Gensets

Harnessing the power of natural gas or propane, gas gensets offer a clean, cost-effective solution for power generation. With lower emissions and reduced fuel costs compared to diesel alternatives, these versatile systems find favour in industries seeking to balance operational efficiency with environmental responsibility. Whether powering telecommunications networks, commercial buildings, or residential complexes, gas gensets provide a reliable source of electricity with minimal environmental impact.


Why are Gensets Needed?

Gensets, used mainly to provide power in emergencies or a backup during power failures (Singh & Bakshi, 2014), serve as indispensable lifelines for businesses across various industries, ensuring continuity of operations and safeguarding against the disruptions caused by grid outages, minimising downtime, and averting potential financial losses.


Backup Power During Grid Outages

Grid outages can occur due to various reasons such as severe weather events, equipment failures, or maintenance issues. During such instances, gensets instantly spring into action, seamlessly transitioning to provide backup power to critical systems and equipment. By bridging the gap between grid failure and restoration, gensets ensure continued operations, safeguarding against productivity losses and maintaining essential services.


Minimising Downtime

Downtime can have significant repercussions for businesses, leading to decreased productivity, missed deadlines, and dissatisfied customers. Gensets act as a reliable contingency plan, swiftly stepping in to power essential operations when the primary power source fails. This rapid response minimises downtime, allowing businesses to continue operations smoothly and mitigate the negative impact of disruptions on their bottom line.


Preventing Financial Losses

The financial implications of power outages can be substantial, ranging from lost revenue due to halted production to potential damage to sensitive equipment. Gensets offer businesses a proactive solution to mitigate these risks by providing continuous power supply during grid outages. By preventing downtime and maintaining operational continuity, gensets help businesses avoid financial losses and uphold their reputation for reliability and resilience.


Prime Power Sources in Remote Locations

In remote or off-grid locations where access to electricity from the main grid is limited or non-existent, gensets serve as primary power sources. Whether it is powering mining operations in remote areas, supporting construction sites in rural locations, or facilitating telecommunications networks in isolated regions, gensets provide the essential power needed to sustain operations and enable development in such environments.


Pros and Cons of Each Type

Genset Type Pros Cons
Diesel Gensets
  • Reliability: Diesel gensets are renowned for their robustness and reliability, making them a trusted choice for backup power solutions.


  • Fuel Efficiency: Diesel engines are inherently efficient, providing a high energy output relative to the fuel consumed.


  • Long Lifespan: Properly maintained diesel gensets can have a long operational lifespan, offering extended serviceability to businesses.
  • Emissions: Diesel gensets typically produce higher emissions compared to alternative fuel types, contributing to air pollution and environmental concerns.


  • Dependency on Fossil Fuels: Diesel gensets rely on fossil fuels, which are finite resources subject to price fluctuations and geopolitical considerations.
Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Gensets
  • Environmental Sustainability: HVO gensets utilise renewable fuels derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, offering a cleaner-burning alternative to diesel.


  • Compatibility: HVO fuels are compatible with existing diesel infrastructure, requiring minimal modifications for implementation.


  • Reduced Emissions: HVO fuels produce fewer emissions compared to traditional diesel, contributing to environmental conservation efforts.
  • Limited Availability: HVO fuels may have limited availability compared to diesel, depending on regional production and distribution networks.


  • Higher Upfront Costs: The initial investment for HVO gensets and associated infrastructure may be higher compared to conventional diesel alternatives.
Gas Gensets
  • Cleaner Emissions: Gas gensets produce lower emissions compared to diesel, contributing to improved air quality and environmental sustainability.


  • Lower Fuel Costs: Natural gas and propane often have lower fuel costs compared to diesel, offering potential savings over the long term.
  • Quiet Operation: Gas gensets typically operate more quietly compared to diesel counterparts, reducing noise pollution in surrounding areas.
  • Dependency on Gas Supply Infrastructure: Gas gensets rely on the availability of natural gas or propane supply infrastructure, which may not be as widespread or reliable in some regions.


  • Volatility in Gas Prices: Gas prices can be subject to volatility, which may affect the long-term operational costs of gas gensets.



How a Genset Compares to a DRUPS

While gensets provide reliable backup power, they differ from Diesel Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (DRUPS) systems. Gensets offer standby power and require a brief transition time during power outages, whereas DRUPS systems provide continuous power through a combination of diesel generators and energy storage, minimising downtime and ensuring seamless operation.


Comparisons Gensets DRUPS
Functionality Gensets operate as standalone power generation units, providing backup power during grid outages or as primary power sources in remote locations. They consist of an engine and an alternator, which convert mechanical energy into electrical power. Gensets are designed to seamlessly transition from grid power to generator power when an outage occurs, ensuring uninterrupted operations for critical systems and equipment. Diesel Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (DRUPS) systems combine the benefits of diesel generators and energy storage systems to provide continuous power without interruption. They incorporate a diesel engine coupled with a flywheel or battery bank, which stores energy to bridge the gap between grid failure and generator startup. DRUPS systems offer instantaneous power delivery during outages, eliminating the need for transition time associated with traditional gensets.
Continuous Power Supply Requires a brief transition time to start up and switch from grid power to generator power, resulting in a temporary loss of power during the transition period. Provides continuous power without interruption, thanks to the integration of energy storage systems.
Instantaneous Response May experience a brief delay in power restoration as they start up and synchronise with the load. Offers instantaneous power delivery during outages, ensuring seamless operation for critical systems and equipment.
Energy Efficiency Operates continuously to meet demand, consuming fuel even during periods of low load. Enhances energy efficiency by leveraging energy storage to optimise power usage and reduce fuel consumption.
Scalability Offers scalability, allowing businesses to add additional units to meet growing power requirements. May have limitations in scalability, depending on the capacity of the energy storage system and the size of the diesel engine.


Let’s use a simple analogy to illustrate the difference between gensets and DRUPS systems:


Imagine you are driving a car on a long road trip. Your car represents your power supply, and the fuel tank represents the electricity stored in batteries or capacitors.



Gensets are like traditional cars with combustion engines. When you need more fuel (electricity), you stop at a gas station (start up the genset) and fill up your tank. It takes a little time to refuel, but once you are back on the road, you can keep driving without any interruptions until you need to refill again.


DRUPS Systems

DRUPS systems are like hybrid cars with both an engine and a battery. When you are driving a hybrid car and you run out of fuel (experience a power outage), the battery kicks in immediately to keep the car moving seamlessly. You will not even notice the transition because the battery starts working instantly, ensuring a continuous and smooth ride without any interruptions.


In this analogy, the traditional car represents the genset, which requires a short pause to refuel (start up) when it runs out of fuel (experiences a power outage). The hybrid car represents the DRUPS system, which seamlessly switches to battery power when the fuel runs out, ensuring continuous movement without any interruptions.



How can Gensets Benefit Your Industry?


Continuous Production
Gensets ensure uninterrupted power supply to industrial facilities, allowing production processes to continue without interruption during grid outages or fluctuations. This minimises downtime and production losses, maximising efficiency and profitability.


Emergency Backup
In industrial settings where power is critical for safety systems and equipment operation, gensets provide emergency backup power to prevent accidents and ensure worker safety.


Remote Operation
Gensets enable industrial operations in remote or off-grid locations where access to grid power is limited or unavailable, supporting exploration, extraction, and construction projects in challenging environments.


Data Centre

Uptime Assurance
Gensets serve as reliable backup power sources for data centres, ensuring continuous operation of critical IT infrastructure during grid outages or disruptions. This helps data centres maintain high levels of uptime and meet service level agreements (SLAs) with clients.


Protection Against Data Loss
By providing backup power, gensets prevent data loss and downtime, safeguarding valuable digital assets and ensuring business continuity for companies relying on data centre services.


Regulatory Compliance
Gensets help data centres comply with industry regulations and standards related to uptime, reliability, and disaster recovery, enhancing their reputation and credibility in the market.



Network Resilience
Gensets support telecommunications infrastructure, including cell towers, data centres, and switching stations, by providing backup power during grid outages or emergencies. This ensures network resilience and connectivity, allowing telecom companies to maintain communication services for customers.


Emergency Communication
Gensets enable emergency communication systems to remain operational during disasters or emergencies, facilitating communication between first responders, government agencies, and the public.


Remote Connectivity
In remote or rural areas where access to grid power is limited, gensets provide reliable power sources for telecom equipment, extending connectivity to underserved communities and improving access to communication services.



Business Continuity
Gensets ensure business continuity for commercial buildings, including offices, retail establishments, and hotels, by providing backup power during grid outages. This allows businesses to maintain essential operations, serve customers, and protect revenue-generating activities.


Safety and Security
Gensets power essential safety and security systems, such as lighting, alarms, and surveillance cameras, during power outages, enhancing safety and security for occupants and assets within commercial buildings.


Customer Satisfaction
By minimising downtime and service disruptions, gensets contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty, ensuring positive experiences for tenants, guests, and visitors to commercial establishments.



Emergency Preparedness
Gensets provide homeowners with peace of mind and emergency preparedness by ensuring backup power during blackouts or emergencies. This allows residents to maintain essential services, such as lighting, heating, refrigeration, and communication, ensuring safety and comfort for their families.


Healthcare Support
In residential settings with medical needs, such as home healthcare or medical equipment dependence, gensets ensure continuity of power for vital medical devices and equipment, supporting patient care and well-being.


Property Protection
Gensets protect residential properties from damage and losses due to power outages by ensuring continuous power supply to security systems, sump pumps, and other critical infrastructure, safeguarding homes and belongings from potential harm.



In conclusion, gensets stand as indispensable assets across a wide array of industries, providing reliable backup power solutions that ensure uninterrupted operations, safeguard critical infrastructure, and uphold essential services during grid outages or emergencies. At Power Partners, we are proud to be at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge genset solutions tailored to the diverse needs of our clients.


With a commitment to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction, Power Partners continues to redefine the standards of reliability and resilience in backup power solutions. Our gensets are engineered to deliver superior performance, seamless integration, and unmatched peace of mind, empowering businesses, organisations, and individuals to thrive in an ever-changing landscape.


We have come to the end of our blog series, where we deep dived into DRUPS, Immersion Cooling, and Gensets. We hope you have gained some insights on these power protection solutions and advance cooling solutions. Discover how Power Partners can help you unlock new levels of efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.


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Singh, B. J., & Bakshi, Y. (2014). Optimizing backup power systems through Six Sigma: An Indian case study of diesel genset. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 5(2), 168 – 192. doi:10.1108/IJLSS-09-2012-0008