Natural Gas vs. Diesel Generators: Which One is Right for You?

Choosing between a natural gas or a diesel generator isn’t always an easy decision. There are pros and cons to both. Which one is right for you will depend on how you’re going to use the generator, as well as personal preference. In this post we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of both natural gas and diesel generators, so you can make the best decision for your individual situation.

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas is a popular fuel because it’s the cleanest of the non-renewable fuels. It’s efficient, and also affordable. The fuel is delivered through natural gas pipelines, which are readily available in urban and suburban areas. If you’re interested in natural gas generators, here’s what you need to know about them.

Pros of Natural Gas Generators:

  • As we mentioned, natural gas is one of the cleaner ways to generate power. While it’s not renewable, it’s efficient and creates less pollution than other non-renewables.
  • Natural gas generators have virtually no odor (unless you have a leak).
  • Natural gas is easily accessible to most facilities, unless they’re in a remote location.
  • There’s no need to store fuel, because the natural gas is piped directly to the generator.
  • Natural gas fuel is less expensive.

Cons of Natural Gas Generators:

  • If there’s a disruption in the natural gas supply (due to storms or other disasters), you won’t be able to operate the generator.

  • Natural gas generators are more expensive to run than diesel generators.

  • Natural gas is explosive. If a pipeline breaks, there will be a fire.

  • Natural gas does emit carbon dioxide.

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are ideal for locations that aren’t easily supplied with natural gas. They’re also popular for use as a backup power source in case of an outage, when the gas supply would be interrupted.

Pros of Diesel Generators:

  • Diesel generators can be used in nearly any location (including ships).

  • Diesel generators eliminate reliance on the power grid.

  • Diesel generators require less maintenance than natural gas generators.

  • Diesel fuel is less flammable/explosive.

  • Diesel generators have long lifespans.

Cons of Diesel Generators:

  • Diesel generators have a higher upfront cost (but lower maintenance costs).

  • Diesel generators are louder than natural gas generators (although newer models are not as noisy as older ones).

  • Diesel generators are less portable than natural gas generators.

  • Diesel fuel is considered a major pollutant.

When you’re trying to make a decision, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do we have easy access to natural gas?

  • Do we need the generator to run when the power grid is down?

  • How much space is available and will we need to move the generator?

  • Do we have safety resources that can monitor and address safety concerns?

  • Do we have maintenance resources?

  • How much money do we want to spend up front vs. over time?

  • How important are environmental issues to our company?

If you’re still not sure which type of generator to choose, feel free to give us a call at 1.864.249.0943 and we can help you think through the considerations.

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