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February 13, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Going for Gold with Diesel Generators

Generators fueled with Alpine Fuel - diesel fuel that is specially reformulated for the cold - ensure reliable electric power during the brutal cold and wind in PyeongChang.

The 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea features 102 events in 15 sports over 16 days. Beyond the sporting aspect, the International Olympic Committee has made sustainability of the games a key pillar of its work and of all the Olympic movement. To ensure reliable backup power for communications, venues and housing during the two and half weeks of competition, the 2018 Olympics relies on diesel-powered generators fueled with Alpine Fuel - diesel fuel that is specially reformulated for the cold - to ensure reliable electric power during the brutal cold and wind in PyeongChang.

Diesel generators are available in a range of sizes all based on electricity demands. Units can be permanently installed at fixed locations such as hospitals or giant indoor ice skating arenas to provide reliable full-strength power. Rural or remote locations where grid power and other fuel sources are unavailable are also common applications for diesel generators and the portability of the equipment and the fuel storage also make them a power source of choice for temporary power needs like those used on construction sites or mountain tops for alpine skiing races. Compatible clean diesel fuel supplies would be accessible in portable tanks that accompanies the mobile units.

Many rural areas around the world do not have access to the electricity grid and rely on microgrids for prime power. Diesel generators are quite often the preferred technology given the durability of the technology, energy density and ease of delivery of the fuel. Diesel engines are quite frequently the sole technology under the roof of many powerhouses in remote locations but a growing number of communities are looking to combine the power of diesel with the almost-free cost of renewable sources of electricity by also installing windmills and solar panels. These communities will still rely on their diesel generators for most of their electricity needs when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

For other regions, the electricity generation needs are focused on providing grid resiliency and energy assurance. The electricity distribution system is old and some communities experience power outages due to aging infrastructure. Diesel generators have been the technology of choice providing emergency backup power often within seconds of a power failure. For this reason, diesel generators are frequently found in hospitals, critical care facilities, banks and even large buildings to provide mission critical power.  

While policymakers in varying countries may have different visions for the future of the power generation and distribution system and the needs of their communities, diesel technology is an important partner in helping to realize these different outcomes. From temporary power to grid resiliency to sustainable microgrid technology, diesel technology will help provide power to remote communities and larger urban areas and world events.


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