Power in physics is the ability to do work, generally we refer to electricity as power because it enables us to use most of the tools we use in our offices, the machines we use in our factories, and the appliances in our homes. In fact for us to have light at night in our homes and our streets, we need power. So power is a very important part of our lives.

In all countries of the world, governments spend a lot of money on power generation and distribution. Most developed countries of the world were able to generate enough power to go round their societies which enhances the growth of their economies and also improve the standard of living of their people. However, despite this there is always power outage once in a while hence the need to provide an alternative source of power by individuals and organizations especially those who use equipment e.g. computers, servers etc. that need constant supply of power.

NIGERIA THE POWERLESS GIANT
In Nigeria, since the Colonial Masters handed over the administration of the country to our people, we have not been able to generate enough power to meet the electricity need of the country. Various administration have come and gone making promises to solve the countries acute power problems some have actually taken steps and invested a huge sum of money in the power sector, yet the problem seems to be unsolvable. Every day there is an additional demand for power because new houses are springing up every day, factories and small scale businesses are springing up here and there yet we don’t generate any additional electricity not even to meet the existing needs.

If power is the ability to do work, it means unavailability of power is inability to do work. As a small business owner, one cannot do without power, if government is not forthcoming in supplying the needed power, there is need to find an alternative means of generating it, which is why Nigeria has been rated as the country with the highest importation of generators.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GENERATOR FOR YOUR OFFICE OR HOME
When making your decision on the type and size of generator you want to buy for your home or any structure, you have to know your electricity need. Generating sets can provide from as little as 1500watts of electricity and up to a staggering 15000watts. It’s now left for you to choose the one that will meet your electricity needs.

Apart from your energy need, another important thing you need to consider is the type of fuel you want to use in running your generator.

In this century and age, there are various option to choose from when it comes to fuel for powering engines. We have Gasoline popularly known as petrol in Nigeria, (in other countries they refer to Gasoline as Gas), Diesel, Propane or LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) popularly known as cooking gas, and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) All these fuel types have their pros and cons, however some advantages outweighs the others.

GASOLINE OR PETROL GENERATORS
This is the most common type of fuel especially in Nigeria, in fact over 80% of generators in Nigeria are run on petrol.

Advantages of Petrol Generators

  • Relatively portable: It is easy to carry around because the petrol tank is firmly attached to the generator.
  • Another advantage of the gasoline generators is that the fueling is comparatively simple, all you need to do is to turn the gasoline into the fuel tank and there you go, you are up and running.


Disadvantages

  • It is risky: in the event of trying to top up the fuel of the generator without switching it off, or before it cools off after use, a little drop of gasoline on the hot part of the generator can cause an explosion, in fact some people have fallen victim of this accident and the result is always deadly.
  • Expensive: the price of gasoline especially in Nigeria is always fluctuating and it’s mostly expensive compared to LPG and CNG.
  • Carbon Monoxide Pollution: As a result of the combustion of gasoline, carbon monoxide is generated which is one of the major pollutant of air. Apart from polluting the air, it also kills the spark plugs, settles on the piston, block the air vent, makes the engine oil go black and eventually go bad thereby increasing the maintenance cost of the generator and reducing its life span.
  • Storage: Gasoline cannot be stored indefinitely, the longest storage duration of gasoline is 365 days, apart from this; it evaporates easily, hence it depreciates in value when stored for a long period of time. So with gasoline, there is a limit to what you can save for the raining days.
  • Highly flammable: Gasoline is highly flammable, this makes it also very dangerous to store because at any slight mistake it can be ignited.



DIESEL GENERATORS
Diesel generators are typically the best price option for generators that produce 150 kW or more of power. Diesel generators are also the least expensive to operate, least flammable, and are the best for long-term usage. Also, diesel, like gasoline, is an easy fuel to obtain. Diesel is a relatively heavier fuel, diesel engines are usually very strong and the fuel burns slower than any other fuel. However it has its own disadvantages too.

Advantages of Diesel Generators.

  • Diesel burns slower than any other fuel, though it might be expensive to buy, it burns slower thereby making relatively cheap to use.
  • Diesel engines are mostly stronger than any type of engines.
  • Diesel is always readily available


Disadvantages

  • It generates more carbon monoxide than other engines. This means that it is not environment friendly. In fact some countries are thinking of banning the use of petrol engines because of environmental pollution.
  • Wet Stacking: Most of the diesel generators face a problem called "wet stacking". When the generator is running on a load of about 30% to 40%, the fuel is not burnt completely and it lines up the turbocharger and other areas.
  • Noise: Diesel generators make more noise than most other generators


PROPANE GENERATORS
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as Propane or Cooking Gas is a good option for powering your generator especially those who depend heavily on generators to power their homes and businesses.

Advantages of Propane Generators

  • Superior Supply of Power: The common limits for gasoline generators are around 8500 watts of power. The propane generator, on the other hand, can often deliver more than 15000 watts, meaning that they can actually run the entire home - central air conditioning and all!
  • Convenience: A propane generator can be on for as long as possible depending on the source of propane supply. In developed countries where they use propane pipes, this pipes can be attached to the generator to give it a consistent supply of fuel. On the other hand in countries like Nigeria where propane is dispensed into bottles, you can attach your generator to the biggest bottle of gas hence giving your generator a consistent supply of fuel translating to consistent supply of power to your home or office.
  • Environmentally friendly: Propane is a cleaner form of fuel because it burns without leaving residues i.e. carbon which contaminates the engine oil, stains the spark plug, and the piston.
  • Safer: It eliminates the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, it also eliminates the danger of fire disaster which can arise while trying to refuel the generator while it is still running.
  • Cost Effective: In most countries, the cost of Propane is lesser than that of Gasoline and Diesel. Aside saving on the cost of fuel, it also saves on the cost of maintenance because propane generators requires lesser maintenance than other types of generators.


Disadvantages

  • Propane Generators are expensive to purchase
  • In countries where gasoline is cheaper than propane, the cost of running a propane generator might higher.
  • Risk of Gas Leakage: If propane supply is not properly fixed, there is a high risk of leakages which might lead to fire outbreak and wastage propane.


CONVERSION OF GASOLINE GENERATORS TO PROPANE OR COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS USING THE TRI FUEL CARBURETOR
Considering the advantages and the disadvantages of the various types of generators above, the best option is to have a generator that can use more than one type of fuel. This means one will have an option to choose which form of fuel to use in running the generator without having to make any changes to the generator.

How Does It Work
Most people think that the Gasoline Generator runs on liquid gasoline, but this is not true. The Gasoline Generator actually runs on Liquefied Gas. What happens is that the Gasoline in the fuel tank when released is passed into the carburetor where it is vaporized before it can now be passed on to the section of the carburetor where the actual combustion takes place.

Because this vaporization is not perfect; during the process of combustion, there is a residue left out which is the carbon monoxide that the generator produces when working.

THE TRI FUEL CARBURETOR
The Tri Fuel Carburetor gives you the option of using either Gasoline, Propane or Compressed Natural Gas to run your generator.

The Tri Fuel Carburetor is much like the normal carburetors that comes with the Gasoline Generators, the difference is that a gas chamber is attached to it. This where propane or compressed gas is passed into the generator.

To switch from Gasoline to Propane all that needs to be done is to close the fuel tap from the generator and open the propane from the regulator.

Using Compressed Natural Gas to Power your Generator
The major difference between Propane and CNG is that CNG is a lighter gas, hence it burns faster and cleaner. Also, CNG even though available in Nigeria is not very common like Propane. In some countries, cars run on CNG instead of Gasoline or Diesel.

Another difference between Propane and CNG is that CNG is cheaper to buy compared to propane but Propane gives more power than CNG so the generator will burn more CNG compared to Propane.

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