20kW generator

Elecrical generator using diesel engine and induction motor.

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I am building diesel-powered electrical generator using 22kW induction motor and old 1.8l Endura-DE diesel engine from my old Ford Escort. The idea is being able to start the generator automatically in case of power outage and possibly connect it to power our house.

Currently the motors are not in working condition. The diesel motor was removed from old Ford Escort with brute force. During removal no mercy was given to any cables or wiring. I labelled all bundles of wires but hopefully we can scrap nearly all of them as I will build the control system from the beginning.

The motor does not likely need a lot of external electronics to run; only power to solenoid valve, glow plugs and starter is needed as motor itself is quite old and simple.

The electric motor was bought at price of scrap metal so the condition isn't great. But I've been told it works so no need to spend too much money to buy a new one.

The motors will be connected by either axle or belt. The electric motor has already a big pulley stuck on its axle and it's not loosening even if heated and pulled with puller. It may be easiest to drill new holes to old pulley and attach an axle there. The diesel engine has its gearbox removed but clutch didn't separate with it so new mounts for pulley or axle are needed there also.

The generator will be built on easily movable platform like a trailer or something similar. Maybe we put a little motor there to making it easier to move around?

  • 1 × Diesel engine
  • 1 × Induction motor
  • 1 × Power electronics For smoothing and controlling output power
  • 1 × Automation system To allow remote use and improve safety

  • TODO: before spring

    Jesse Tolvanen02/13/2017 at 19:57 0 comments

    As I live in Finland, its winter and I'm busy with studies till May it's good time to make plans what to do when weather allows (comfortably) working outside. I'll create a model of generator in Matlab Simulink and test different control systems. Probably simple PI-controller will be sufficient, though.

    First thing to be decided would be the power transferring method. Axle vs belt. Both options have their own pros and cons.

    + ease of maintenance?

    - requires custom mounts to be done to electric motor pulley
    - generator would become quite long but narrow

    + electric motor already has pulley
    + could be used as 'clutch'
    - requires custom mounts to be done to diesel motor-end
    - reliability? (Finnish weather conditions etc.)

    The chosen method will determine the orientation of motors. The chassis of generator will be built on a trailer. When motors are mounted it's time to build control and automation electronics.

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Stephen K wrote 07/20/2017 at 12:58 point

Is the diesel electric throttle or mechanical? If its mechanical, this'll be easy to run, wiring's simple on mechanical fuel injected diesels.
Electric throttle? That's a different beast, but will be more friendly to using like an Arduino to control startup and throttle up procedures.

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Jesse Tolvanen wrote 07/28/2017 at 20:44 point

The throttle is mechanical so it is easily controlled with a servo and Arduino. I don't know about other electronics: do the pump need them? There was few wires coming from pump when I disassembled the car. Maybe throttle position?

Doesn't fuel pump need some engine data to be able to control injection timing. At least temperature and engine speed?

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Stephen K wrote 07/29/2017 at 03:11 point

No, all you need is +12v to the Fuel Cutoff Solenoid on the back of the Injection Pump and the starter +12v and starter solenoid.

That's it. Everything else is sensors. If its a mechanical fuel pump as well, it probably doesn't even need a lift pump, the Injection Pump can handle pulling the fuel as well.

Engine speed on Diesels varies by manufacturer: On VW, the old 1.6 Diesels used the Alternator to actually provide engine speed to the Tachometer.  (W Pin on Bosch Alternators)

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lsch911 wrote 02/13/2017 at 18:24 point

You first need to determine how many poles are in the generator.  That will determine at what speed you must turn it in order to get 60 hz.

Also 20kw is a lot of power.  Way more than a normal house would need.  This is going to take a lot of fuel to generate that kind of power.  In a good genset, you're looking at 1.5 gallons an hour.

One other thing, 20kw at 230 volts is 86 amps of power.  I don't think the windings in that motor will be up to that.

Here is a website that will have anything power generating related.

And good luck with your endeavour.

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Jesse Tolvanen wrote 02/13/2017 at 19:19 point

Thank you for the link.

The motor in question has four poles. So because of slip I think the running
speed would be somewhere between 1500-1600 rpm (50 Hz). The electric motor is
rated 22kW so yeah 20kW may be a bit too much load. But I don't think I'll need that much power.

I agree this is a bit overkill for normal house use but as motor was already available for cheap; why not to build a big one.

A friend of mine has built ~5kW generator using petrol engine but he has a bit problems with voltage and frequency stability as load varies. I think this bigger generator will produce more stable power as smaller ones.

I don't think the fuel consumption to be a huge problem because it's just a backup for longer power outages (1 to 2 days / year).

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