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Diesel Power Plant â€“ Operation, Advantages and Disadvantages
An electric power generating station in which the chemical energy of diesel is converted into electrical energy is known as diesel power plant. In other words, the diesel power plant is a power generating plant in which diesel engine is used as the prime mover for the generation of electrical energy.
Schematic Diagram and Working of Diesel Power Plant
The schematic arrangement of a typical diesel power plant is shown in the figure given below.
In a diesel power plant, the diesel engine is used as the prime mover to drive an alternator. The diesel (fuel oil) burns inside the engine and the products of this combustion acts as the working agent to produce mechanical energy. The diesel engine drives an electric generator which converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Due to high cost of diesel, the diesel power plants are only used to produce small power. The diesel power plants are used at such places where demand of power is less and sufficient quantity of coal and water is not available. The diesel power plants are also used as standby sets for supplying power to important points such as hospitals, cinema halls, telephone exchanges, etc.
Advantages of Diesel Power Plant
The primary advantages of a diesel power plant are given as follows −
The layout of a diesel power plant is quite simple.
A diesel power plant requires less space because the number and size of its auxiliary equipment is small.
A diesel power plant can be started quickly and it can pick up the load in a short time.
A diesel power plant requires less water for cooling.
For the same capacity, the overall cost of a diesel power plant is much less than that of a thermal power plant.
For the same capacity, the thermal efficiency of a diesel power plant is higher than that of a thermal power plant.
A diesel power plant requires less staff for the operation.
A diesel power plant can be installed at any place.
A diesel power plant does not have any standby losses.
Disadvantages of Diesel Power Plant
Following are some disadvantages of a diesel power plant −
As the diesel (fuel oil) is costly, thus the diesel power plant has high running cost.
The diesel power plant can only be used to generate small power.
The cost of lubrication of a diesel engine is generally high.
The diesel power plant does not work satisfactorily under overload conditions for a long period of time.
The maintenance cost of a diesel power plant is generally high.
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