History of the Diesel Generator

by : John Stafford

The diesel generator owes its roots to mainly two inventors. One of these is the creator of the first generator Michael Faraday and the other is the creator of the diesel engine Rudolph Diesel. The first of these two has contributed greatly to life as we know it today with all his discoveries in electricity.

Michael Faraday was of humble beginning but always had a curious nature. He was at an early age an errand boy for a bookbinding shop and here he vastly increased his knowledge as he read anything he could put his hands on. He was very interested in the concept of energy and force and this interest is one that continued throughout his life and eventually he developed into a famed chemist and physicist.

It was his discovery of electromagnetic induction in the year 1831 that led to the development of the modern generator. He used what he termed his induction ring to discover the electromagnetic induction. This was the generation or induction of electricity in a wire by the use of the electromagnetic effect of the current in another wire. This was the first transformer and followed closely with the discovery of the magneto-electric induction process which is the production of a steady electric current.

He attached two pieces of wire by the use of a sliding contact to a copper disc. He rotated the disc through the poles of a magnet and was able to generate continuous direct current. This was the first generator of time. This group of experiments led to the revolutionized generator that we know today.

The diesel generator however owes its development to the inventor Rudolph Diesel. He started off as a refrigerator engineer and eventually found himself working on many heat engine designs. He in 1892 put out a patent that dealt with the method and design of a engine where combustion would take place in the cylinder. He continued to work to this goal and was successful in the production of a diesel engine that produced an efficiency of 75%.

It is the coupling of his diesel engine with the generator that led to the diesel generator that we known today. His design was rather large and very heavy and found more use in industrial applications as a generator. They were used to power pipelines and for electric plants and water plants. Later on they found applications in the mines and in oil fields. The diesel generator is simply the coupling of the diesel engine with an electrical generator and has been use throughout history since its invention for many applications.

The diesel generator has been seen to be the choice of many of the larger companies as it is well suited for industrial use. A major discouraging factor for its use in terms of the retail market has been the fact that it can be rather noisy but this has been reduced greatly from the first diesel generators and is now almost comparable to the gasoline generators. These generators also offer other perks such as increase fuel economy and reduced maintenance costs which can explain their popularity in industrial applications.