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Expected Future Technology Direction For Small Electric Generator Sets

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Energy Conversion/Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.548.1 - 8.548.8



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Paper Authors

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Herbert Hess

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2233

Expected Future Technology Direction for Small Electric Generator Sets

Herbert L. Hess University of Idaho Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Moscow, Idaho

Abstract A summary of a recent study into the future of small, portable electric generation technologies. The changing character of the load is identified and a set of basic principles for design and analysis are developed. A number of candidate technologies are considered and evaluated. The effect of information technologies is considered, including real time control, operation and maintenance management, and policy development.

Introduction Small generator sets for electric power in remote locations have an important place in the agriculture and tourism industries of the rural western US. They increase the ability to use the land cleanly, safely, and productively and to enjoy its recreational beauty. Therefore, manufacturers are making improvements to create cleaner, quieter, more reliable small generators that are easy to move and provide power on demand. Over the next two decades, a number of technological advances currently in the laboratory will appear on models in the field. Though underlying power generation technologies have received most of the publicity, it is the effect of information-based technologies that will most radically change this industry. This paper describes what advances technology should come to small portable electric generators in the next twenty years.

Character of the load Knowing the nature of the load can be helpful in understanding the relative effectiveness of various technologies that may be considered for future mobile electric power production. Certain power generation technologies are better than others to supply certain loads.

Loads can be accurately characterized as “power on demand”. Though loads are typically agricultural to recreational, their common thread is a degree of rapid response to demand. The power range typical for small, portable generators is 500 Watts to about 100kW. This range is chosen for practical reasons: a generator this size must be transported by vehicle, but is still completely self-contained. The load itself is typically one or more of the following: lighting, climate control, pumping a fluid, or electronics.

The following principles apply to the design of small, portable generators to supply these loads: a. A single basic design is preferable. Commonality simplifies and reduces the problems of maintenance, but supports a wide range of applications. Modularizes special capabilities. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Hess, H. (2003, June), Expected Future Technology Direction For Small Electric Generator Sets Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11931

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