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When you look at the heartbeat of the mining industry, you’ll discover complex operations that require meticulous planning and forethought. And though it may appear to be simple on the outside looking in, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. In many cases, it’s diesel power that’s responsible for fueling it all.

Why Diesel Generators are the Go-To Solution for Mining

In the very simplest terms, a diesel generator is a piece of advanced machinery that’s used to generate electric energy through the use of a diesel engine that’s interconnected with an electric generator.

As University of Calgary’s Jordan Hanania explains, “These machines use a combination of an electric generator and a diesel engine to generate electricity. Diesel generators convert some of the chemical energy, contained by the diesel fuel, to mechanical energy through combustion. This mechanical energy then rotates a crank to produce electricity.”

Diesel generators have many uses in a variety of different capacities – including residential, commercial, and industrial – but are especially common in places where there is no connection to the power grid. This includes most mining operations.

Advantages of diesel generators (over other types) include:

  • Reliability. To put it very simply: Diesel generators do what they’re supposed to do…precisely when they’re supposed to. They might not be flashy, but they’re ultra-reliable. If you need to get a job done, you can count on your diesel generator to be there for you.
  • Versatility. Diesel generators are capable of handling any number of projects, regardless of type or size. This makes them an ideal choice for mining, where every day can look a little different.
  • Durability. When compared to natural gas counterparts, diesel generators require much less ongoing maintenance and service. Breakdowns are far less common, which means greater uptime across the board.
  • Fuel consumption. Diesel fuel is widely recognized for having a superior energy density to volume ratio. It’s also stable and provides very efficient consumption rates. Typically, a diesel generator will burn just half the amount of fuel as a natural gas generator (while still providing the same output).

When it’s all said and done, diesel generators are the go-to solution for mining. They currently provide over 70 percent of all power needed in mining operations by heavy-duty equipment worldwide. This includes the power needed to keep excavating machinery, conveyor belts, cranes, and drillers operational.

What to Look for in a Diesel Generator

When it comes to using diesel generators in mining applications, there are a few different routes you can take. One option is to invest in your own diesel generator and purchase the equipment outright. Unfortunately, this is impractical for most mining operations. Not only is it expensive, but it creates a lot of internal pressure to handle repairs, maintenance, and everything else that goes with owning a diesel generator.

The better option is to rent a containerised diesel generator. When you rent one from the right vendor, you’ll get the benefit of on-site training, customized solutions, qualified technicians, and speedy delivery.

But regardless of whether you purchase or rent, here are some factors to consider when doing your due diligence:

  • Good fit. The exact specifications of your mining projects will determine the type of diesel generator you need. Consider the needs of the project and how much/when the generator will be used.
  • Power needs. Power output ratings are very important. A properly-sized generator is a must. Otherwise, you’ll face interruptions in the field.
  • Local regulations. Always evaluate local and state laws before investing in a generator. Different ordinances may dictate the options you have available to you. Zoning laws, land laws, and EPA regulations may come into play.

Adding it All Up

Diesel generators are the preferred power source for mining operations worldwide. The question isn’t, should we go with diesel? The better question is, how do we choose the diesel generator that’s most suitable for the site and application?

Hopefully, this article has given you a few answers to that question. Carefully weigh each of these factors as you consider diesel generators for your mining operations. And whether you buy or rent, it’s always a good idea to compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the best possible price.